Men’s Furrowed Brows and Grays
I was eager to host my boyfriend along with my good friend for the first time in our new apartment. I wanted the two to meet because they have a lot in common; both are men in their late thirties who have built their careers in NYC as immigrants, each with a very particular taste for high-quality things. How complicated could it be? At the very least, they could talk about watches or their favorite restaurants in Ibiza. To my surprise, I discovered a dark side to their preferences toward high quality "things."
Unfortunately, I did not get to hear the entire conversation running from the table to the kitchen to check on the food. What I managed to catch was a discussion on women and how aging affects them more than men. I was surprised to hear them talking about the subject so I didn’t voice my opinion until I had heard them out. I think the discussion started with a comment on Brad Pitt’s age on his latest movie “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
He is visually tired and his hair has thinned out. Of course he appears significantly older, he is fifty - five years old. Still they argued that with a good suit and a nice tan older men are sexy. Age only made men more appealing. At forty years and above men have money, experience, and confidence like never before. The comments didn’t start to feel like blows to the face until they changed their focus towards female actresses. They started listing out actresses they had once been attracted to but had aged and lost their luster. These women are not fifty - five years old at most they are thirty-five.
“No matter how hard women try, they look fake, over done, and tired,” both men nodded in unison. They said it was clear that women in their thirties try too hard to look like are in their twenties, the worst offense being plastic surgery, because it “doesn’t fool anyone.” They praised women like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner for their good looks.
Both men’s negligence towards women’s experiences pained me. I reminded them that many of these thirty-five year old women had to navigate tricky circumstances. In a patriarchal society, women are granted less autonomy and resources to make it on their own. These women have real life experiences and obviously endured more than the twenty-something year olds. At thirty-five, some women have navigated male dominated fields and managed to get to higher management, all while bearing children and taking time out of the workforce to raise them. At this point in time women have a clearer understanding of who they are and what they want.
Instead of celebrating their triumphs my boyfriend and friend were disqualifying them from society because the natural process of aging was visible. How can men dismiss women over the age of 20, when some of us haven’t learned what it is to feel beautiful until our mid 20s and 30s? I have learned that beauty is so much more than youthfulness; it is being healthy, confident, and spiritually connected to something greater than yourself.
I was repulsed to learn my boyfriend and friend are attracted to women 20 years younger. Not only does it make me question their emotional maturity but also their self awareness. Did they forget that men also experience a physical transformation with age? Maybe their wrinkles aren’t as prominent but their impotence becomes clear with every sexual attempt. Men experience Male Menopause with the decline of their testosterone levels. They also become lethargic and at risk for depression. There is no way they could keep up with the energy of a twenty-something year old.
It pained me to think that like my boyfriend the rest of society is biased in the way they perceive women based on age, but celebratory of men’s furrowed brow and grays.