Ageism: The Battle and The Surrender a la Americana

No avoiding old age...

Embrace it, baby: You’re in it for the long haul.

My return to the States has been an eventful one, marked by a series of encounters with handsome men, interesting women and a fashionista’s dream come true in the form of a Neiman Marcus store. There have been many things I have seen that have made me realize how my age has crept up on me, as well, including a very visible puppy love crush from a 17-year-old and the realization that I would have been going back to school with people who were being born the year I had arrived to Mexico, some 18 years prior.

One thing, however, that has made me truly feel the punch to the gut was going out clothes shopping with my girlfriends.

Patterns, cuts and styles I would never ever consider because I thought them for much older people are the very things that my friends are buying. I found myself biting my tongue quite hard, resisting the temptation of commenting to the point of abuse my disdain. I will admit that part of my fashion sense developed the way it did because of my weight loss. Going from a size 12 to a 6 has some pull as to how much tailoring and skin-tightness one would be willing to be subjected to.

But everyone is entitled to wear what they want, when they want. And just as I should not judge those who dress for an age upwards from what I prefer, I should not feel judged for dressing younger than my demographic.

It is then that I realized that there is the tendency to try to remain young and living in Southern California, one sees the obsession to get

that tucked,

this pulled

and those injected.

The Caribbean glow I see on the temples of those in the city is nothing that would naturally occur in the Caribbean and nothing short of a sweet-and-sour chicken, orange basting.

As superficial as this all sounds, it is something that affects more of the world that we live in and are governed by. So when Bill Maher made his statement about “Generation Ass,” I understood that this went deeper than I originally imagined. As a society, we try to keep the young and throw out the old. We throw out clothes that are perfectly wearable for the new item on the rack. We buy newer models of cars, even though we have perfectly functioning vehicles. This, at the end of the day, does affect us. There was a campaign by Patagonia called “Don’t Buy This Jacket,” which asked the public to buy if you need it and not if you want it. The production of clothes is more often than not a very harsh business on the environment, with the actual treatment and dyeing of the material, this is taking such a heavy toll on the planet.

Yes, it is a funny piece by Maher but his point made me think about the impact our obsession with youth is having on how we think and perceive what is good for us. This is a battle that we have been a part of and which has crept into our psyche much like a deadly virus does. We have surrendered, heart and soul, to this onset and ironing out with the Botoxification of our politics and culture and it does not bode well. The only thing we can do is, like when you are dating someone for the first time, get to know them. Get to know our politics. Get to know the inner ugly of that outer beauty and be willing to say that he wasn’t as nice as you thought he was. That she is more pretentious and superficial for your liking. 

That an older person is going to have more experience, stories and weight in their feet to put them down, smack dab when they need to. And not all younger (and more often than not, less experienced) people can really compete with that. But that’s okay. You are supposed to not get it when you are younger. 

You’re supposed to definitely get it when you are older.

It also has me thinking that I am going to learn how to rallycross so that I can get Maher in my car and maybe scare the bah-jesus out of him. All this while wearing wedge Adidas sneakers, a Demobaza long cardigan and Under Armour street wear. 

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