Maybe women aren’t like fine wines

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 7, 2004

By Mary Ann Fitzmorris

My husband gave me a compliment recently that some women might find depressing. It was not.

“You know, you’re aging beautifully,” he said, completely out of the blue.

“Funny you should mention that,” I replied, “Because I have been thinking a lot about that lately.”

“About what?” he asked, a little confused.

“I’ve been thinking about aging gracefully. I agree with you. I think I’m aging great, but I was starting to wonder if I was the only one who thought that. I’ve concluded that what I see in the mirror is probably a lot different from what others see when they look at me.”

He still look puzzled, so I took him through the events that had caused me to think about aging.

Such thoughts began when an old friend told me where a college boyfriend of mine had landed. He is the head coach of a college basketball team up East.

I couldn’t resist the urge to look him up on the school’s website. He looked great. . .for a middle-aged guy.

As I stared at the face that was adorable thirty years ago, I wondered what he might think if he saw me now. The same, I’m sure, which was an alarming thought.

I was still pondering these disturbing realities when I drove the carpool. We are constantly talking about movies on the way home, because one of them wants to be a screenwriter.

As the guys were marveling over the coolest scenes of the latest gory blow-up flick, I blurted out, “Anybody seen Calendar Girls?”

The conversation screeched to a halt. There was silence. Everyone looked at me wondering, “What’s that? Never heard of it.”

It was fun to answer that question. “The film is about a bunch of old bags in Britain trying to raise money for cancer, so they sell a calendar where they all pose nude.”

“AAAGH,” they collectively shrieked. Too bad I didn’t have barf bags in the car.

“Please, Mrs. Fitzmorris,” said the screenwriter,”I’m still having nightmares over the last movie you told me I had to see.”

“What was that?” asked the young man I consider my lone compatriot. (It was not my son).

“Something’s Gotta Give,” I replied with a big smile.

“What’s it about?” they all wanted to know.

The screenwriter obliged. “It’s about two old people having sex. Imagine that.”

“UUGGGGH,” they wailed, even louder this time. A barf bag emergency.

The screenwriter continued to shock the carpool, mentioning a full frontal shot of Diane Keaton. “They actually showed her naked?” one of the guys gasped. It was genuinely traumatic for them.

My middle-aged soul had to investigate this. “What’s so revolting about that? Don’t you think Diane Keaton is attractive?”

The answers were not unanimous this time, ranging from “Who’s Diane Keaton?” to “Uh, no.” The ones who answered no shuddered at the thought.

“Okay, did you think that Diane Keaton was attractive as a younger woman?”

I asked, maybe not wanting to hear the answer. Those familiar with Diane Keaton never thought she was attractive. I was relieved that it wasn’t about her age.

“So, does a woman have to be young in order to be attractive?” I pressed.

There was a few minutes of silence as they thought about that. “Demi Moore is hot,” one of them struggled to offer. Most of the car agreed, although women over thirty generally seemed to be disqualified.

“Come on, guys,” I jumped in, “Demi Moore is really the only woman over forty that you consider attractive?”

“Yeah,” one of them answered. “And she’s only barely tolerable.”

I asked them to name any women they thought were hot. I recognized only a few of the ones they named as trashy pop stars. The ones I didn’t know turned out to be porn stars. Then they started to mentioned porn stars of yesteryear. They groaned in disgust. Time for the Pepto Bismol again.

It was my duty to the women of my generation to come up with some other examples of feminine pulchritude over the age of thirty.

Absolutely nothing came to my mind. In desperation, I threw out Cameron Diaz. The screenwriter scoffed. “Mrs. Fitzmorris, she’s almost thirty five!”

I drove on in silence, thinking how much my husband’s compliment had just skyrocketed in value.