“I had to retrain my eyes and brain to find older men attractive when I started dating again in my fifties. The last time I was single the men I was looking at were in their thirties and I still had that youthful image fixed in my head. It was depressing at first, choosing from a pool that’s not regarded as desirable or vital in your society. I was paddling around in that same pool myself. I’d walk down Oxford Street looking at bald men and men with grey hair and paunches and say to myself, He’s about my age, that’s the demographic I should be looking at. I realized I had a very small group to choose from: men over fifty who’d kept themselves vaguely together physically, were single, mentally stable, solvent and not gay were rare creatures. I managed to re-educate myself eventually. Now I’m only attracted to people my age. A young face looks like a blank page to me.”
—Viv Albertine, “Viv Albertine on Dating Again in Her 50s.” Longreads.com. May 2018.
It is so rare to see a frank account of some of the problems of growing older that it is a bit startling to see it in print.
Becoming Dangerous: A book about ritual and resistance “is a nonfiction book of deeply personal essays by marginalised people using the intersection of feminism, witchcraft, and resistance to summon power and become fearsome in a world that would prefer them afraid. With contributions from twenty witchy femmes, queer conjurers, and magical rebels, BECOMING DANGEROUS is a book of intelligent and challenging essays that will resonate with anyone who’s ever looked for answers outside the typical places.”
Kickstarter for the project ends October 20, 2017.
“VEDANTAM: I understand you got married about a year ago. And you applied some of your own research on regret when it came to choosing a wedding dress.
SUMMERVILLE: I did. So I actually wasn’t applying my own research. I applied to work by Sheena Iyengar on the phenomenon of choice overload as well as work by Barry Schwartz and colleagues about the idea of maximizing versus satisficing as strategies for decisions – maximizing being the idea that you want to pick the best of all possible alternatives and satisficing being the idea that you’re going to pick something that meets all of your standards but may or may not be the absolute best.
So when I was wedding dress shopping, I went to a couple of stores. I tried on five or 10 dresses at each one. And I found a dress that I absolutely loved and was in my price range. And I realized that what the research told me was I would never be happier than I was at that moment – that if I kept dress shopping, I was going to wind up feeling overwhelmed. You know, I could find a hundred different lace sheaths with a V-neck in ivory, and I would wind up feeling confused about what are the differences between these, and that the very act of trying to get the absolute best would mean that I could never really be sure if I’d done it. Whereas, if I adopted a satisficing strategy, I could be sure I’m in a dress that looks beautiful on me and is in my price range, and I should just buy it and be done. And so that’s how I chose my wedding dress.”
—Emma Maris, “Feminine And Unapologetic.” Lastwordonnothing.com September 25, 2017.
h/t Hidden Brain. What I find puzzling about Emma’s commentary is she, in her writing, is both criticizing the trivialization of gendered examples and at the same time does it herself. Crying while doing dishes and listening to the radio is only female in so far as women are more likely to be washing dishes in the first place.
“I got gas in the tank / I got money in the bank / I got news for you baby, you’re looking at the man.
I got skin in the game / I don’t feel no pain / I got news for you baby, you’re looking at the man.”
—The Killers, “The Man.”
Catchy single. While there is a sense of poking fun at defining masculinity in terms of strength, power, fame, money, or even a slight association of divinity, i.e, “[r]ight hand to God”, these ideas are often central to “male culture” in the United States (and elsewhere). Feminism, despite its many faults, does offer men the possibility of transcending the limitations imposed by popular notions of masculinity, which is no small thing.