Tuesday, February 09, 2016

On Being An Invisible Middle-Aged Woman

There's this saying, rumor, warning - that when women become middle-aged they become "invisible."
Younger people pass us by, men aren't catcalling us anymore, no one sees the 51-year-old woman.

That's what they say and I hope to God it's true. I've been waiting my whole life to be invisible.

I already try to keep myself as quiet and compact as possible anyway. I generally have everything I need on me so I don't need to make a big stink about finding tampons or lotion or whatever middle-aged ladies need (maybe not tampons then?). I don't wear big coats and big scarves and gloves, I am not "swarthy." I keep my elbows in and my mouth closed, the only thing moving all around on me, are my eyes.

I keep my clothes as indistinct as possible. A pair of jeans, a sweater, boots. Coat. Done. Nothing to look at here folks...

Really the only thing that stands out about me physically is my hair and a lot of times, if I'm headed out on a Margaret walk (which is really any walk) - I'll put it up, or in a hat, or out of the way, so no one notices me. It's not that I'm just hiding from leering men either, I'm just trying to sink quietly into the background.

I try to keep my body small on planes, trains and automobiles. I like taking up little amounts of space, it is not my goal to take over where I go, it's my goal to get smaller, quieter, less noticeable.

The less people see me (when I'm trying not to be seen, obviously I'm a tour guide, so...but you know what I mean) the better. I cannot wait until I'm completely invisible.

Because you know what else? You don't notice me taking photos in a building I'm not supposed to be taking photos in. I can do secret, fun things because no one believes a 45-year-old middle-aged woman is doing anything illegal or fun. I hide back and listen to conversations, I sneak into things, I sneak past things, I hear things, see things and notice things and I promise you would never look twice.

I like my autonomy, that's why I like Chicago - everyone's trying to be "seen" in New York or LA, I'm not interested in being seen, I'm actively interested in being not seen.

It's so fucking awesome.

I want my business and work to be noticed of course. But personally, not so much. That way I can concentrate on what I want, not worry about who's looking/judging/leering/staring.

Can't wait for the transformation to be complete....


CGHill said...

This makes perfect sense to me, especially in a world where a lot of the attention you might get is attention you don't actually want.

Hixx said...

Right? I like to think this is benefit to us, not something we need to worry about....