Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Say When

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  • Megan Wegan,

    I love my wrinkles, such as I have them. I hate my grey hairs, because I love being a redhead, and I feel like the grey hair ruins the effect.

    As well as getting older, I have a another problem. You see, as a "bigger woman", I'm meant to be ashamed of my body, so I am not meant to show it off. I'm meant to wear long dresses and cover up, and generally not offend society by being fat and happy.

    It's only in the last three or four years that I have had the confidence to start wearing dresses and the fashion that I've always loved. If someone wants to tell me to do that, they can, quite frankly, bite me.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Beagle,

    I don't mind getting older and I kind of like the grey hair.

    But I admit took out my earrings recently because... well,, it just wasn't working any more. :)

    New Zealand • Since Nov 2007 • 48 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Warning - Jenny Joseph

    When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
    With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
    And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
    And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
    I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
    And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
    And run my stick along the public railings
    And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
    I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
    And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
    And learn to spit.


    You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
    And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
    Or only bread and pickle for a week
    And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.


    But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
    And pay our rent and not swear in the street
    And set a good example for the children.
    We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.


    But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
    So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
    When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple

    http://www.positives4women.com/growing-old-disgracefully.html

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,


    “Start wearing purple” (another side of the above post)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Emma, you have glorious tits, and as long as you feel they are glorious, keep on with the cleavage. I like cleavage, on myself, and other women. And I like other womens' breasts. I also quite like a woman who loves her body, and you can always tell the difference between a woman who has astounding cleavage, and knows it, and a woman who has astounding cleavage, but doesn't really know it, so displays her tits to get some sort of feedback. I love my tits. I'm the only woman in my family with fabulous tits. I know it, they know it, and they don't like it. I know this because the women in my family are always on at me to wear a bra. Wear a bra? Keep my breasts as slaves? I think not.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Warning - Jenny Joseph

    I nearly called this Wearing Purple. My mother loved that poem.

    But I admit took out my earrings recently because... well,, it just wasn't working any more. :)

    I'm pretty sure there's a school of thought which suggests I'm too old to be getting tattoos, but I have the next three planned, so that won't be happening any time soon.

    Also, co-incidentally Ngaire Bookiemonster just tweeted a guide to this situation for me. Forty. Outcast. Got it.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Here's a thought. How old is to old to be hitting turps in public.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    I have a friend who told me - she said she'd only ever told another person this - that she was 73! Tell you what - she has the most glorious cleavage. She doesn't wear low-cut scooped tops, but there's always a glimpse of breasts and cleavage to be caught. Not flaunting if you like, which might be a bit ew. Just there.

    Anyway, Emma, there's another way of looking at being thirty-nine - you are now in your fortieth year.

    Enjoy!

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Well, Katey Sagal is hitting 57 and pulls off a wonderful vaguely wrinkly cleavage in Sons of Anarchy so, all power to you whatever the decision.

    Shorts are the big problem for us old men. We look ridiculous in them. Short ones (blurgh) and longer boardie or cargo styles, all bad. But in a Nelson summer, going the full trouser route 100% of the time is just not an option.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    Shorts are the big problem for us old men. We look ridiculous in them.

    I dunno... there's an elderly gent who comes every now and then to concerts I'm involved in; last time I saw him he was looking very dapper in: sandals, socks, walkshorts (ironed with a crease), a grey suit jacket, Greenpeace t-shirt and silk cravat. I filed the image away in my "how I want to look when I get old" draw.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    It's only in the last three or four years that I have had the confidence to start wearing dresses and the fashion that I've always loved. If someone wants to tell me to do that, they can, quite frankly, bite me.

    I think Megan nails the answer to your general question, Emma. Keep doing it if it makes you feel good. Anyone who makes a "mutton dressed as lamb" comment can go fuck themselves.

    FWIW, it's not just women who approach 40 apprehensively - for me it's this year. At least everyone else is trying to make me feel apprehensive, but I actually don't. I only do "age-appropriate" things if I want to do them, which interestingly, I find that I do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I think turning 40 (or whatever) is situational - my spouse is 6 months older than me - for her turning 40 was traumatic, for me "meh, been there, done that"

    The only solution is to have a big party and revel in turning 40

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Remeber that 40 is "XL" in Roman numerals. So do as I did and throw an Extra Large party!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to Tim Michie,

    When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
    With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

    This poem inspired the Red Hat Society, a funtimes group for older women who literally wear red hats and purple clothes, which seems to miss the point of the poem entirely.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    I'm pretty sure there's a school of thought which suggests I'm too old to be getting tattoos, but I have the next three planned, so that won't be happening any time soon.

    Quite the opposite; chatting to my tattooist, he reckons that the bulk of his customers are 30+, with a lot into their 40s and 50s. Combination of having wanted it for a while, being able to afford it, and realising that you can still get jobs once you've got ink.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    The only solution is to have a big party and revel in turning 40

    Word.

    For mine, we hired Whatipu Lodge for a weekend, had the family-friendly event on the Friday, complete with a kids fantasy adventure larp on the Saturday morning. After lunch the kids were all taken away and then it was an all night party.

    In my mid 20s I started wearing sarongs, they have great patterns and are, IMO, quite masculine. I still enjoy wearing them out, even though I'm not as svelt as I used to be (although working on it more seriously this year...)

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    The only solution is to have a big party and revel in turning 40

    +1.

    Mine was a cracker.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Mine was a cracker.

    Mine too.

    I'm just a little bit amused by the number of men who have jumped over here from the V thread.

    Seems we like a good discussion about male sterility, almost as much as cleavage. Who knew?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to steven crawford,

    First post from new android. Still no idea how to select text in the browser. Anyway, I think there's no official age limit on making a dick of yourself in public. Many of our role models do it all the time. It's mostly down to "how many people do you want to see you this way". If you don't put a limit on it, what would stop you?

    Wow, I was expecting an on-screen keyboard to be way harder to use than this!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to steven crawford,

    How old is to old to be hitting turps in public

    When you're too old to drink except via IV drip.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    "how many people do you want to see you this way"

    Facebook was not around when I was in my twenties. Just sayin'.

    Shorts are the big problem for us old men. We look ridiculous in them. Short ones (blurgh) and longer boardie or cargo styles, all bad. But in a Nelson summer, going the full trouser route 100% of the time is just not an option.

    Let me bring the poem this time:

    I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
    I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

    Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
    I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    At some age, there has to come a point where I am too old to show as much cleavage as I am, say, right now, without looking ridiculous.

    Counterargument: Helen Mirren, topless or in red bikini, age 63! She looks great and knows she looks great.

    I am turning 39 later this year (younger than you, hah!) and I did a big wardrobe clear-out about 18 months ago. I was helped by my sister, who pointed out that I had way too many shapeless clothes and not nearly enough showing off my fine cleavage, and other womanly assets. I didn’t have much cleavage at all in my early 20s and shapeless things actually quite suited my extreme thin-ness. How things change! But I actually needed to be told that it was OK to wear figure-hugging clothes, provided they are the correct size and not pulling me in in unnatural places (I’m thinking of you, low-rise jeans!) So I’m dressing much sexier now than I did when I was younger, and I like it!

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I've been trying to avoid leaping into the more complex issues raised by the Boganette post, but here goes.

    I once read a fair bit of poststructuralist feminism (and lived!), and I remember much critique of the supposed Enlightenment reinforcement of binaries such as masculine/feminine, culture/nature and mind/body. The feminist movement aimed to subvert and break down such binaries, and one way to do that was to celebrate the "embodied" nature of ourselves rather than dismissing the profane body in favour of pure reason and disembodied spirituality. For women to be comfortable with their bodies, whatever their shape and size, as well as reclaiming their sexuality and sensuality.

    Yet there's an element among the "slut-shamers" that seems to loathe bodies. They're not only uncomfortable with their own bodies, but uncomfortable with other women who are comfortable with theirs. Sex can be okay, but only when it's in the context of "intimacy", and not when tainted by such shallow, dirty things as physical attraction. They talk about women being "sexualised", as if people (or at least 99% of us) were not inherently sexual: we can't be sexualised, only desexualised to varying degrees.

    Sure, it's not okay to leer, grope or rudely comment upon other people's bodies (unless invited). It's not okay to enforce particular ideals of body type upon others. But there's nothing wrong with being comfortable with your own sexual attractiveness, or discreetly and politely appreciating the physical characteristics of others. If you'd be happier in loose and unrevealing clothing: fine. If you're happy rocking the cleavage, tattoos and purple shorts: also fine.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Let me bring the poem this time:

    Had thought of that, but was reminded of my live cast from the BDO where I wrote;

    I am old I am old
    I can’t reach the bottom of my trousers to roll,
    cause my sciatica is killing me

    Seems I misremembered the 'grow' bit.

    Like a patient etherized upon a table;

    Thread merge.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Emma, you have glorious tits

    The Up Front Gravitar says so!!! [edit - sod it. WHEN it said so]

    How old? When you think the tattoo you got when you were 18 needs to be put away.......

    .......bugger.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1589 posts Report Reply

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