'Sneeze-Pee Fusion' And Other Sad Facts About Midlife

by Jill Robbins
Originally Published: 
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When I was 20, I didn’t spend much time thinking about what it would be like to be…well…old. My 40s and 50s seemed like they were a looong way off — mostly because they were. If I’d have stopped to think about what midlife would look like, I probably would have imagined myself wearing polyester stretch pants, pantyhose with reinforced toes, and that thing you wear around your neck where you push a button that alerts 911 if you “fall and can’t get up.” And sensible shoes. Lots of sensible shoes.

I’m happy to report most of my trousers still zip (well, they have zippers anyway), and I haven’t needed the emergency buzzer, the clapper, or the grabber. I do appreciate the value of a good pair of support hose though. So even though my actual midlife experience isn’t nearly the horror show 21-year-old me might have envisioned, I still have a few fun, semi-depressing facts about midlife I’d like to commiserate over.

Comfort is now your underwear’s most important feature.

I’m not saying there’s no place in your life and lingerie drawer for sassy, sexy bloomers, but comfort is the front-runner. Support is a close second. I might still let my freak flag fly on occasion, but I’m far past the point where I worry how my husband feels about me in my sensible undies. It is what it is.

Dark hair sprouts randomly on your face and body.

I don’t care if your God-given hair color is platinum blonde. Stray hairs are black and crinkly (kind of like pubes) — always. It’s a rule or something. Most often sighted on chins, these little suckers can sneak up in other regions as well. No area of your body is safe.

I have one that appears out of freaking nowhere on my neck. One day it’s not there, the next it’s gently blowing in the breeze. A male co-worker once mistook it for string. Joke was on him, it was attached. And yes, he was a hottie because the laws of the universe say that if a male must point out something unflattering, embarrassing, or gross about your appearance, he must be attractive so that you can be as mortified as humanly possible.

PSA: Rearview mirrors in natural light are optimum for spotting rogue hairs, so tuck a pair of tweezers in your glove box. Obviously, hair reconnaissance missions should happen when the car is not moving. Safety first, ladies. And plucking while stopped at a light is just trashy. Don’t do it.

I could continue with a detailed description of boob hair, but I’ll just leave the hair discussion at that. We’re traumatized enough.

Ever-present fear of sneeze-pee fusion.

Allow me to spell it out: A sneeze, cough, or even a good laugh will make you pee your pants. You never know when your bladder will fail you. You’ll remember all the times you snickered at old ladies trying to discreetly toss Poise pads in their shopping cart. You’ll wonder if the sneeze-pee fusion is karmic ass-biting payback. The answer is yes.

Your high school anthem is now ‘classic rock.’

There is something so “sad trombone” about the tunes you took your bra off to in the backseat falling firmly into the classic rock category. I’m bracing myself for the day some punk-ass 14-year-old deejay refers to anything sung by Pat Benatar as an oldie. It’ll happen. And part of me will die a little bit.

While I might need comfier underwear and more alone time with my tweezers, life at midlife is no pity party. I (usually) have enough energy to run after my kids, run a 5K and, on a good day, run circles around my younger friends. Sometimes guys still check me out. They might be trying to decide if I need help crossing the street, but hey, let me have my fantasies, m’kay?

Most of my girlfriends in their 40s and 50s list sexier sex and more wisdom as perks of being this age. I think it’s down to more confidence and just no longer giving a crap what other people think.

It happens to all of us. One day we’re stopped at a red light and get a glimpse of our reflection in the review mirror, only to notice a long-ass black hair sprouting from our chin as the deejay on the classic rock station announces that Rolling in the Deep is up next. Or we’re in Target and our hands will find themselves inexplicably wrapped around a multi-pack of cotton briefs. We’ll say something like, “Ooh, these look nice and comfy!” This is how it happens.

I’m not sorry. These sensible shoes are damn comfortable.

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