The Good. The Bad. And the Ugly.

Portrait - MJ-5147-5138.jpg

No filter, baby …

Photo: Distilled Studios, Chris Scalzi

We've all seen social media posts showering women “of a certain age” with heaps of Aging “Gracefully” praise. I’m all for the celebration of aging. But I've got a problem when there is only good news. ‘Cause it ain’t true. Enough with posts of stunning ex-models and their manes of thick silver locks and their bravery for natural. Oh shut up. We know about changes in memory, joints, skin, balance, turkey necks. But I've had a few surprises! Jane Fonda warned us of some of this …. But mama told me nothin' … Let's get real about the good, the bad, and the ugly …

THE GOOD
1. Not giving a fuck: This is truth. Who am I trying to impress? The bad is that it didn’t happen three decades earlier.

2. Self Delusion: It’s delicious. When I looked at this portrait of myself, I blamed the (a) lighting (b) makeup (c) wrong angle. Eventually, I embraced the real ass me — mwah!

3. I can do anything: ANYTHING. Who’d thought there would be a chapter AFTER the (traditional) “Over the Hill” phase. But there is …

4. Horny: This was weird. Some women love the freedom to put the sex train behind them. My truth looks more like a thirteen-year-old horndog.

5. No shaving! (except for nose hairs) (and chin hairs) (and the 'stache)

THE BAD
1. Blind as a bat: It sucks. On the other hand, it complements No. 2 Self Delusion above.

2. Make time for fitness: 'Cause it takes WAY more time with each decade. I'm currently at 1.5 hours/day in my 6th decade. Sorry ladies!

3. Need to pee: Constantly.

4. Time anxiety: This is a big one. I'm packed with ideas — please don't let me drop dead before completing half of them.

5. Sleep. What sleep?

THE UGLY
1. Jimmy Durante in the mirror: Your nose, your ears and your fucking feet ALL continue to grow. I haven't sprouted fur yet. Always the optimist.

2. Stench: Now immediately after a shower I wreak within 5 minutes — this needs to change. Other women ditch their deodorant. It's a body chemistry/menopause thing. Surprise!

3. Little nasty thingeys: Suddenly dangling in areas you didn’t expect. Oy.

4. Baldness:  Yes ladies hair loss at the crown is not just for fellas, unforch.

Of course it rocks to get older — but it's liberating to get real and drop the bullshit that every moment is Instagram-ready. Some of what I've seen is a fucking horror show — when I can find my glasses. What's the Good/Bad/Ugly you've found with aging? Do tell.

Perry Street Blues

No no no. Not THE steps …

No no no. Not THE steps …

It’s Labor Day Weekend.

It’s Sunday.

It’s Perry Street.

It’s Bonkers.

And I live here … right down the street from CARRIE’s infamous apartment in Sex and the City.

I see ALL tourists swamp this iconic townhouse, morning, noon, night — with absolutely NO boundaries. Chains? They jump 'em. Signs? Ignored. I always “can’t help but wonder… ” HOW THE FUCK DO THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE DEAL WITH THIS HORSESHIT?

Yesterday when three particularly boisterous and not-giving-a-shit 20-somethings were partying down, hootin' and hollerin’ right in front of THE door, my jaw dropped in mid-stroll. They are so over the top that the owner (never seen him before) finally came out and respectfully requested these girls to give him a break. He informed them that they are a) loitering b) obnoxious and c) ruining his fucking Sunday. Their response? “So why don’t you go move somewhere else?” He remained calm, but I — well — I lost my shit. I SCREECHED at them the ultimate NYC insult, “GET THE FUCK OFF HIS STOOP AND MOVE YOUR ASSES BACK TO JOISEY” — from across the street. I looked and sounded insane. I didn’t care.

And they left.

The owner and I became instant Besties. He dished gossip, history, real estate decline, and of course, stories of SJP. He said he was on his way to anger management class — and did I want to join him. Point taken, new friend. I took the contact info…

Hey, I’m working on my mediation, reading my Buddhist books. It works, and it is work.... But sometimes Glorious ones, when respect is totally absent, I can't promise I won't RAGE OUT … ‘cause that's part of New York being Glorious New York, too. Ya know?

.

And Then There Were Three ...

Leaving – happy/sad

Leaving – happy/sad

Sometimes you just need to take time off from all things Social. Four days, deep in the woods. I went to celebrate the life and times of my Big Glorious Broad Sis, D, who had the nerve to leave us in November. There were six of us: me, two sisters and three of her best pals. Wasn't expecting to enter a ghostly, mystical space, but that’s where I’ve been .

First night: We sailed around in a small vessel (ok, tiny vessel) — her Bestie as captain. There were bag pipes which usually — barf — but somehow they WORKED. A fierce thunderstorm blew up — but we REFUSED to abandon ship (go ahead, D, off us). Second night — we basked in the gorgeous hazy glow of her promised full moon. Third night: a god damn spectacular rainbow directly over her now desolate dock — reminding us of the debaucheries from our past. Then a mommy marbled duck (my Sis's fave) and her four babies appeared around our dinghy — chock full of booze and her favorite drunkards. Us. Last night: unexpected but delightful fireworks (not ours) and a final send off — (ours) — the release of a midnight blue Japanese lantern containing ashes (hers) that lifted further and further and further into the heavens till — poof — D was gone.

A mommy marbled duck (my Sis’s fave) and her four babies appeared around our dinghy — chock full of booze and her favorite drunkards. Us

And it was over. Happy. Broken-hearted. Invigorated. We toasted.

On that final night, her Bestie asked us: “I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but will you ever return?” .

How could we without D? .

But we did leave her initials carved in her dock: DFW

After a quick selfie it was time for our GIRL GANG to depart the magic, return to reality. Sure hope D sends us more messages from beyond — maybe the next time we find a Glorious Brigadoon ...

The 7 Commadments of Aging — John Waters Style

Da MAN

Da MAN

I laughed my ass off reading his 364 page book of joyous road to ruins wisdom. Take heed —‘cause it’s a bitch for radicals to “age gracefully.”

1. “Windswept” and “distinguished” do not go hand in hand. Nothing shouts midlife crisis louder than driving a convertible.

2. As soon as you stop listening to new music, your life is over. You are an old fart.

3. Try speaking in only sound bites for one whole day. Then, once you understand how the media works, you can both use each other – one for free material, the other for unpaid advertisements.

4. Skinny jeans on men* (my insertion) over twenty are a no-no. You look like a loser in a Ramones Halloween costume.

5. Eat sensibly on weekends and irresponsibly on weekends.

6. Never say “I love you” out loud to the person you do unless they are sleeping. It takes the pressure off.

7. Believe your own grandiosity and go wrong to make your career go right. (my personal fave)

Almost verbatim but not quite — The Beloved Filth Elder, John Waters

She's Got the Powuh!

Kristen and Phoebe — nailing it!

Kristen and Phoebe — nailing it!

My vote for the #emmy - PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDGE in Fleabag.

Did y’all see the scene between Phoebe (Fleabag) and KRISTEN SCOTT THOMAS (Belinda) - So sexy. So real… .

Set up: A posh bar, powerful Belinda and quirky Fleabag.

Fleabag: How old are you?

Belinda: 58. You?

Fleabag: 33.

Belinda: Don’t worry. It does get better. .

Fleabag: Promise?

And then … Belinda’s martini infused theory on aging, power, women…trying it out on our girl:

Belinda: “Women are born with pain – it’s all goin’ on IN HERE ... (pointing toward her body) We have pain on a cycle YEAR after YEAR after YEAR— and just when you feel your making peace with it all — the fucking MENOPAUSE happens — and then (long pause)— you are FREEEE — no longer a slave no longer a machine with parts — now you are simply a person - a person in business.

Fleabag:  I heard it was horrendous.

Belinda: It is horrendous.  And then it’s magnificent.

We have pain on a cycle YEAR after YEAR after YEAR— and just when you feel your making peace with it all — the fucking MENOPAUSE happens

What I loved the most about this conversation (as it goes on) is Belinda saying: yes, it is powerful to be on this side — magnificent - but you miss things. Some things. Go out and seize the day you gorgeous juicy 30 something: flirt with the unknown. Flirt with the night. Flirt with strangers. The only part I miss about being here.

My jaw dropped watching this scene. You just KNEW this was written by a woman. Sexy, funny, incredibly poignant — and while, there wasn’t an ounce of regret in Belinda — there was nostalgia. It’s real. But that was it. Just her facts after a few drinks. Movin on...

 If you haven’t seen it: season 2 episode 3. 11:31 – 13:19. Fucking brilliant. @These two Glorious Broads get REAL and can they ACT ...

Love — Grown Up Style?

A nightmare in my pocket …

A nightmare in my pocket …

Well, I did it. The big exchange with DA MAN — and I haven’t handed over keys to a lover in, ummm, 13 years?! It felt good, like I was opening up the gates and sayin: come on in baby (but do not fuckin’ move in — I have not lost my mind.) He’s a ridiculous person — and immediately bought a key ring that regurgitates Sarah Palin’s bloopers — how can I not love this dude?

Love is a different feeling now as a fiercely independent woman in her sixth decade. I am so much more aware — conscious of my ole tricks and patterns. My go-to move: bolting - OR doing everything but putting a gun to a lover's head to make him go away. The last seven months, I've described my (always revolving) love life with, “Well, he’s gorgeous — but not exactly my type.” A GOOD friend stopped me right in the middle of this bolting-in-advance routine with a real kick in the pants question, “How can HE feel emotionally safe when you’re doin’ all this ‘ ‘not your type’ BS?” And I listened. She was right. God damnit, I did want to change my cray cray habits. He was worth it. And I wanted him — his hilarity, his heart, his own set of damn keys. It's never too late to get your groove on, sisters, and never too late to dump shit that doesn't work for you anymore. Even if that means a ridiculous Sarah Palin key chain in your life ....

Can't Get Enough ...

The pose … Ilana style

The pose … Ilana style

Bingeing on Broad City — in denial that it's over — savoring every morsel during yesterday’s crap weather. In the last season, when juicy brilliant sexy Ilana squats a perfect Carrie pose — I was in sheer orgasmic joy to indulge in a Broads/Sex and the City comparison …  Let's get into it.

I loved Sex and the City — and this feels cringey given how it went so wrong in the last seasons. But early on Sex was a heady cocktail of glitzy FUN and a love letter to NYC when it was still grimy around the edges. But have we come a long way in 15 years …

Now, I need to somehow be BFFs and date Ilana and Abbi. I never felt that way about Carrie and crew. Sure, I vicariously enjoyed their glam brunches — but all that man-focused banter got stale. Even my girl Samantha became a cartoon — a wise-acre stalking vagina. Trust me, 15 years ago IRL, we talked about our big LIVES — plus dating, but often men were passing appetizers — exactly the way Broads uses them. Five seasons in, I NEVER got bored with the Broads' adventures of discovery — self, city, art, men, drugs. In Sex they were about jobs, boyfriends, and apartments. With Broads, they are all about each other (and Molly) …

I’m 30 plus years older than these two beautiful GBs, Ilana and Abbi, but THEY are who I relate to ...

In that last episode of Broads, when Ilana and Abbi walk forward for themselves, NOTHING to do with men, EVERYTHING to do with their badass friendship — and we pan to the women of New York — bopping along with their BFFs — well, I had a tissue fest goin’ on. I’m 30 plus years older than these two beautiful GBs, but THEY are who I relate to. Comparing that to the idiotic end of Sex, when they all “get their men”— and live happily ever after — I have no connection to that BS then or now. I am a Broad at heart — I love my women friends — we put each other first — and are sexy, funny and free — with or without men.

We can blame the 90’s for a lot of Sex and the City’s bizarre decisions and shitty last episodes, but did Sex’s man obsession have something to do with being created and produced by a man, Darren Starr (even with Sara’s input) versus created by two women, Abbi and Ilana, and produced by Amy Poehler? “I Can’t Help But Wonder” ...

That Core Thang ...

Daisy Duke and friends …

Daisy Duke and friends …

I always like to ask GBs in interviews: has your core changed?

They mostly say no. Core has not changed, but they've learned a whole lot along the way … mostly a deeper sense of self.

I look at this photo of me and my sisters and old lovers from 1,000000 years ago. And I think: I am absolutely in agreement.

My core has changed but I’ve learned so much.

Like, I would not dress like Daisy Duke any more. I mean, really. And I don’t wear my sexual power as the only power I have.

I wear all of my power for me, and sexual is just part of it.

It really was a matter of not knowing my full worth.

Always on the hunt … but for what?

A waste of that young woman’s energy — and a depletion of her talent … 

Not saying some adventures weren’t FUN ... but often clueless.

Aren’t we happy to be glorious grown-ups?

Two LIONESSES Up for the Tony's

Killin’ it…

Killin’ it…

My Glorious Broad Head blew up last night watching Elaine May in The Waverly Gallery on Broadway. So many of us have memories of loved ones we’ve lost to dementia. For me, my mother.

To sit there with my jaw open and watch Elaine transform from a sophisticated urban woman of the world to the bits and pieces and fragility of that disease … too many crushing moments  came back but important to face them again — somehow respectful ... Here Elaine May is, at 86, icon of my youth but in a whole other comedic role, OWNING the stage like no one I have seen recently, except maybe Glenda Jackson, 82 in Three Tall Women.

It’s gonna be two lionesses up for best actress in the Tonys this year: GLENDA JACKSON, 82 and ELAINE MAY, 86. Fucking glorious ….

An Icon (and Piece'a'Work) Sorely Missed ...

Photo Leah Runyan

Photo Leah Runyan

I thought she would last forever. But nothing, and no one does. 

Dinah Paisner, a remarkable woman my sister introduced me to. She was one of the first Glorious Broads I interviewed. An actress, a model, and a true GB. She “approved” of the project when we met one year ago. She said when I explained it to her “Sign me on. I like to stay involved. ” That is how Dinah talked. That is how she acted in life.

She didn’t tell me her age, "you'll make assumptions". I now know she left us at 96. But her VERVE... I have chased her for the past 9 months to show her the full array of spectacular pictures we took of her…and she was TOO BUSY for me. Yes, her calendar was FULL. 

At 96, I’ve chased her for the last 9 months — she’s been too busy — wha?

When she wasn’t USHERING at the theatre, she was acting, when she wasn’t seeing dance, she was dancing in a group. Non stop. 

I am sorry I did not put her interview up sooner. I was waiting for “the perfect moment” because she was so special. Now, that’s a lesson. The perfect moment is NOW.

RIP Dinah Paisner. The village will not be the same without you. And I wont be either …


My Future Life ...

My favorite spot: the Harbor

My favorite spot: the Harbor

Ilona by Ilona

Ilona by Ilona

I always felt I would live out my final years in Provincetown. It lured me at 19. I was smitten by all things Ptown — the combo of ye olde new england Portuguese fishing village at the end of the world — but also somehow full of counterculturalfaves — rollicking gay night life — best drag acts — anywhere — beautiful beefcake boys, meat racks, meatier lesbians, and the naughty drunken past of Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, Norman Mailer marking their territory — like a dog. And the beauty — the beaches, the smells, the lighting ­— oh the lighting — of P-town. It made me misty. Still makes me misty.

I saw myself with a black lab — or maybe buff (!) colored (and I am not a dog person) and some kind of partner. Maybe a big, burly Gertrude Stein type, and I would allow her to mother me, to love me, to cook for me (I know, Alice did all that – but these are my daydreams.)

For the past four summers I’ve been going back to Ptown, and, despite a few husbands and many many male lovers, my dream of being the eccentric ole girl on Provincetown Beach persists— dog in tow, Gertrude baking muffins. I see me writing. I see me going to readings with Eileen Myles (would she give me a toss when we are both 80?), and earnest artist chats with Michael Cunningham — you know — the whole package.

Would Eileen Myles give me a toss when we are both 80?

Back in New York, I forget about my fantasy. It is, after all, two decades away.

Last night, I dropped by the always delicious Debra Rapoport, who lives in the hood, as she packed for a trip to Mexico. I am a notepad girl, and when you visit Debra, you just leave out your god damn pad and pen ... she says sooo many “you must see, did you know, are you aware of ...” I am scribbling away over a cup of tea, when she tells me that the west village wonder, 98-year-old Ilona Royce Smithkin, of Advanced Style fame, left the village and has moved to live and paint in Provincetown. It was then I realized – I have not seen this magical creature in the last years. What stunned me was— I hadn’t really noticed she was gone — she was simply a presence that vanished. POOF. Like so many landmarks in this fading neighborhood. No more.

I cried all the way home, tears turning to icicles — and pondered my ideal future that Ilona is now living, painting, writing, being. I hope she has a Gertrude …

A Meaty Memoir Brewing ... Thanks Diana!

My latest idol…

My latest idol…

The most delicious obituary I have read in a very very long time. A true Glorious Broad who makes me only aspire to have something like this as the opening for my "final page” — minus the English bit: "Diana Athill, an Englishwoman who wrote a series of critically lauded memoirs chronicling her romantic and sexual liaisons over much of the 20th century, but who attained international literary celebrity in her 90s with the publication of an installment about the waning of desire, died on Wednesday in London. She was 101.”

Wow.

My favorite line, however, was:
Jenny Diski reviewed the volume, "Somewhere Toward the End” with:

“Such a book is in itself a rare enough thing, but a book about old age written by a woman with a cold eye for reality and no time for sentimental lies is as rare as — well, as rare as a thoughtful discussion about a woman’s sexuality after the age of 60.” That was written in 2008.

Ah, those days are a changin’ — I may have started with the the book DUMPED and lots of sex pieces for HuffPost and AARP, but I see a meaty memoir in my very very very near future churning ... Thanks to you, Glorious Diana Athill

Lessons Learned from Mama

She might have quipped — “What, no heels?”

She might have quipped — “What, no heels?”

I spotted this magenta beauty strutting around Paris, solo, celebrating the end of one job and the beginning of liberation as a consultant. The coat stopped me in my tracks, ‘Mon dieu — M O T H E R!’⁣

It's the Sandro, high-end version of her silver fake fur (before fake was chic, sisters) worn by Mother, not mom — she was Mother with a capital M. Each morning at 6:15, Mother donned her coat and wrap-around shades, threw her hair back dramatically on her way out the door to drive dad to the train. She projected GLAM, POWER and — do not talk to me, children, until I've had at least 2 cups of strong coffee. Style — to Mother — was all.⁣

At the age of six, I made my own Scarlett O’Hara vow — to be bad-ass, powered-up — and independent

She was smart, funny, intuitive, bossy and gave everything to her kids. She could have ruled a corporation. Instead she ruled our house. But even as a kid, I noticed the imbalance —  why did this powerhouse have to ask dad (dominated by her in most ways) for spending money for groceries and cold cream? When she was refused, it broke my heart.⁣

At the age of six, I made my own Scarlett O'Hara vow — to be empowered, bad-ass, and independent. No asking for ‘spending’ — I would have my own money, and have somebody drive ME to the train …⁣

When I swaddle myself in this fuzzy chicness, bought in a city she’d never been to, with spending money I earned, I think of Mother — and wonder who she may have been if born decades later. Am I just a modern, updated version of her? If so, I’ll take it — and thank my glorious Mother for the hard-won lessons of love, values — and bad-ass fashion taste she bequeathed me.”

Originally written for @UnderHerCoat

My Glorious Big Sister

I wish it was my hand holding yours …

I wish it was my hand holding yours …

When I started Glorious Broads, I made this decree: NO SISTERS ALLOWED — I have many.

Today’s an exception — an homage — to my beautiful eldest sister Dolores, as she leaves us. Sending you love, sending you peace, sending you tranquility. I'm sending you everything. I wish it was my hand in yours here. Thanks for being the most kick-ass fierce take-no-prisoners-big-glamorous-sis and Glorious Broad a baby girl could ever ask for. You shaped me Dee. Please hear this as you lie there crossing to the other side. I broke my commandments for you, girl ... hear this.