Of Bras, Possible Intimacy and Senior Dating

This a version of this article was first seen on Medium.

Yesterday I tried to buy a new bra. It was shocking, way worse than buying a bathing suit! I entered the dressing room with four of the “jiggle reducing” instruments of torture. With my back to the mirror, I reluctantly I took off my shirt and, with a sigh, the limp, shapeless older bra that was more or less comfortable and definitely due for replacement. Knowing what was coming, I slowly turned to the mirror and stood there dumbfounded. My breasts were reaching for my knees. Oh I knew this in a general way — but this was so in my face fooling myself went right out the dressing room door.

I recognized the image. Yes, it was me and it reminded me of something, someone else. It turns out that at the surprising age of 75 with yet another 30 ponds to lose, I have the body of a goddess!

We know her as the Venus of Willendorf. She’s much older than I am — somewhere between 20,000 and 50,000. I was flabbergasted!

You know her too most likely. Pendulous breasts rest on bulging belly and hips. Her genitals — vulva in view with maybe even a visible clit — proudly on displayed over thighs that could be called thunderous. Her head is covered in curls — similar to the heads of many Buddhist statues — her gaze cast down. Tiny feet support her mass and her arms are barely indicated. She can easily fit between your thumb and forefinger. She even has her own Wikipedia page!

Why today?

Why did I try to buy a new bra on that particular day? And how could it be worse than buying a bathing suit?

The bathing suit was for a swim party. I love swimming and was grateful for the excuse. In the dressing room with the suits it was fairly easy to mostly ignore the mirror until I’d crammed my way-too-big boobs into whatever passed for a ‘shelf bra’ in the various suits I tried. The shelf bra is supposed to be for lift, I gather. Mostly they conceal and assure no jiggle is possible. I picked the least onerous with ‘boy shorts’ and sturdy straps that would stay up in surf if I ever got back to the beach. When I put it on to swim, I just refuse to look — that’s easy.

You gotta get bare breasted

Buying a bra requires you approach the new garment with your top bare, giving you the opportunity to take a long, hard look at your breasts. If the new bra fits, the evidence (of what, decline?) is quickly covered. If it doesn’t fit, or worse, you can even get it on, well agony continues.

I think at least some of my extra angst exaggerated my reaction a bit because I’ve started online dating. It’s been fraught and fun and opened the possibilities of what I’ve always called a Big R Relationship which has, until recently, been another topic I’ve managed to stay in denial about. (I can hear this page clicking shut by many who can’t stand the image of a 75 year old woman being turned on — believe me, it happens — and yes, I’m bragging more than complaining.)

With new possibilities I didn’t want to be caught with my pants down, so to speak, in an ugly old bra. Well aware I might be dealing in projection and fantasy, I picked a nearby store, and with four bras in hand headed for the dressing room. Reality set in.

I returned home, without a new bra and in utter numbness. I began to google frantically for reassurance which, in my fevered state, seemed to bring up only pictures of slim, trim 55 year old women. They either had great bras, or were small enough for it not to matter much. I went to bed way early, wanting to only eat cookies.

This morning while fixing breakfast I had what might have been my first sane thought on this topic.

“Hmmm,” I thought, “it’s not like my clothes disguise my ‘lush’ body completely. Nor do my online pix lie, come to think about it. And it’s only on days when my confidence slips do I seem to see only men who insist women be at least 10 years younger than they are, and at least slim and trim — regardless of what their own photos reveal about them.

That lament, isn’t the whole story of course. Sprinkled throughout the listings there are some who aren’t knee jerking for a younger woman, and some who seem to be open to a range of body types. Occasionally both ‘wants’ appear in the same individual.

It slowly dawned on me that I was the one buying into the Standard American Visual Criteria for Older Women. (SAVCOW — truly I didn’t see that coming!) If its validity is anything like the validity or lack of it of the Standard American Diet (SAD), I merely have to get out of my own way. While there hasn’t been a stampede to my profile, I’ve not been ignored either. And I’m sure I haven’t been mistaken for half my age or a hard body either.

What I think is true is if I can let go of my self-centered fear, this whole dating thing will get really interesting, maybe even before after the lights go out.

Love, blessings and abundance,

Anne Wayman: When Grandmother Speaks

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