Archive for January, 2012

Sizzling 60s

January 30, 2012

If the nine women in their 60s I’ve interviewed for Kiss & Tell are representative of their decade — and I have every reason to think they are — readers are in for a big surprise.

What thoughtful, rich material they are adding to the book. And what wisdom they bring. In this decade, I find most women are taking stock of their relationships, their sexual history and their choices — both bad and good — in an effort to glean what lessons they might carry into their futures. It’s been an inspiring chapter, I have to say.

Today’s 60something women were high school girls during the 60s, so the winds of societal change were beginning to pick up. Though the Pill was talked about, virtually no high schoolers used it for fear of the stigma attached. Today, when girls can openly ask their gynecologists for birth control alternatives without fear of moral condemnation, it’s hard to recall how narrow the choices were not so long ago.

I’m sure several of our nine ladies wish they’d had at least the option of birth control. Except for the one lesbian in the group, all the women were intensely fearful of premarital pregnancy, and three had those fears realized, becoming pregnant in their teens. Another three conceived almost the second they married and a fourth became pregnant within a few months. While listening to their stories, I could clearly see why the Pill was poised to revolutionize the female sexual experience.

The total number of marriages for this group — 14 — further illustrates the transition society was making in its acceptance of divorce and therefore multiple sexual partners. Three of the women had 30 or more partners; two had a dozen. Just two of the nine interviewees remain married to their sole partner.

One newlywed, a bubbly 63-year-old, supplied fresh energy to the group. Another described a satisfying love life she shares with a longtime lover. But several of the divorced and single women were between relationships and — despite happy memories of previous partners — had not been sexually active for periods of 7 months to 7 years. Some were on the lookout, while others wondered if their window for a satisfying relationship might be closing.

Sophia, an attractive 68-year-old widow who was introduced to a couple of lovers through her ballroom dancing connections, hasn’t taken a lover in a year and a half.

“I don’t know where to meet men anymore,” she laments. “In my heart, I say I’ve been single too long.”

Another woman, a statuesque and striking blonde named Laura, has come to feel uncomfortable with the increasing demands she fields for oral sex.

“I resent a man that wants oral sex more than he wants regular sex, because it doesn’t do anything for me sexually. If that’s what he wants more than anything, then he’s selfish. I find as they get older, they want that more and more.

“If that’s true, then I’ll just pass,” she concludes.

And then there’s Jana, who at 68 has just discovered she can be multi-orgasmic, and is willing to tell us all about it.

Yep. The sexy 60s ladies have views that are wide ranging, but I find that to be true for the women of each chapter. And yet the similarities are always visible, running through their stories and reminding us all that there is much we share in this realm.

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Less hair

January 21, 2012

I have much to say about the agony of professional indecision I’ve wrestled with for 3 weeks (brought on by knowledgeable friends advising me that self-publishing is the way to go in 2012), but I’m going to save all that for next week, when sanity is restored and I can write about it coherently.

Today, instead, I propose a short detour into long hair, or more accurately, former long hair.

Over Christmas break in Texas, seemingly on a whim, I cut a foot of my hair off. And now you must immediately ask if I gave it to Locks of Love or some such organization because everyone does, and I shall respond by telling you they decline to accept gray hair. Perhaps because the texture changes and it becomes more stiff? I don’t know. Such groups also won’t accept color treated hair, and since I’ve put temporary color on my hair from time to time (which washes out), I am a two-time loser. I have as much hair as just about anyone you’ll meet, but apparently even sick, bald people don’t need my hair. Sort of boggles the mind.

Anyhoo, it did seem like I cut it on a whim, but I had actually been contemplating a cut. A couple of months ago, when I was filmed by WPBF for a TV segment on our Kiss And Tell book, the segment showed an angle of me from the side and behind. I was staggered by how much hair filled the picture. Of course I know I have long hair, it’s part of who I am, but seeing it from the back like that made me feel like it was all there was to me, that it defined me.

And so I began to wonder if it wasn’t time to make a change.

Ever since 7th grade, when Mom first let me make my own decisions about my hair, I’ve been growing it out. It’s always long, it’s just that sometimes it’s super long. Super-long hair brings its own set of irritants (for instance, when you’re tucking your shirt into your pants, your hair gets caught up in that process), so if those things become too bothersome,  I just cut off 8 inches or so. Sometimes I’m happy with my hair being to the middle of my back; sometimes I like it at my waist.

Lately, my hair has been super-long. I haven’t been annoyed with the care it requires, and besides, I’m in a period of cost-cutting, and salon trips are expensive. As a result, it’s been several years since I’ve had a serious cut.

While I’m mulling my hair options, my Mom visits from Texas and I mention to her how overwhelmed I felt by the mass of  hair in the TV segment. Without missing a beat she offers to pay for a haircut as an early Christmas present. I demur, keeping in mind this is the woman who thinks I look best in a pixie haircut and have since I was 5.

Not that Mom would make a short cut a condition of payment; I don’t mean that. In fact, she has acquiesced to my long hair with good grace, going so far as to braid it for me in special ways and occasionally buying ornamental clips. But I just wasn’t ready to say yes, even though I had visions of a long, layered cut dancing in my head.

A month later, just off the plane for Christmas break and getting a glimpse of my sister, I remark on her great haircut. It’s not very long, but all layered and stuff … pretty cool.

A young hairstylist recommended by her daughter had done the cut and since my niece steadfastly assured me of his shearing prowess, I decided to take the leap. I made an appointment for Christmas Eve, left a foot of my hair on the floor of that Austin salon and never looked back.

Which is kind of interesting, because I can remember a More or Oprah magazine article a while back featuring mid-life makeovers for women willing to cut their long hair and I knew if they’d asked me, I’d have refused. Not ready.

It’s true that every 4 or 5 days, I have a tiny moment of panic, when I remember I have no distinguishing characteristic, that I blend into the scenery now in a way I find impossible when my hair is long. (For one thing, almost every single day, people used to talk to me about my hair. And that’s over.) So — every so often — there are these odd moments of regret, but in between, I am tossing my shoulder length hair around like it’s a miracle, unable to believe how practically non-existent it is, not to mention how quick it is to wash it, dry it, brush it.

Yes, it’s still past my shoulders. And yes, that’s short to me. It’s all relative, people.

Last time I had hair this short I was walking to school at North Junior High, agonizing over the shame of changing into a gym suit for P.E. and wondering if I’d ever have a boyfriend.

That’s a long, long time ago.