As the 45th year rapidly approaches, I find myself increasingly frustrated with my own physical limitations. In sheer defiance of aging cells and waning hormones, I want nothing more than to kick-start my sex drive and recapture the vivacity of my 30s. I wouldn’t mind ironing out some wrinkles and subtly lifting parts of my anatomy, but really I’m much more focused on revving up my energy level and turning up a slightly dimmed porch light. I want this for myself, I want it for Sig Other, I want it for my marriage.
So what’s a girl to do? Where is the magical elixir meant to rocket body and soul back a decade? In search of answers, I went to various shrinks and doctors, had hormone checks and blood work done and started talking to girlfriends of similar age. My malady, it turns out, is not at all unique. And there is no magic pill, no special formula. Almost every woman in her 40s feels the exact same way – we like the idea of sex. We just like the idea of sleep more.
But surely this has to be resolvable. Surely, I can overcome. And so, a hit and miss combo of potions and pills, trial and error have become part of a life spent trying to recapture something I likely wasted years ago. Mornings now begin with massive handfuls of vitamins and supplements, washed down with a vile shake of protein powder, super greens, flax seeds, chia seeds and a magic potion called “maca powder” which is meant to kick start the libido. I try to work out regularly and fail miserably as something else (anything else really) always gets in the way. I’ve seen shrinks to determine what deep-rooted pathological disturbance is clearly hampering my sex drive. But frustratingly, head doctors, vagina doctors and general doctors all agree – there is nothing wrong with me. I love my husband. I’m attracted to my husband. I like sex. I’m like sex with my husband. I’m just tired. And middle aged. And overworked, overwhelmed and overscheduled. Even more frustratingly, these shrinks and doctors and soothsayers all have the same advice: make a date night, check into a hotel, get away for the weekend. Are they kidding? When would I possibly find time for any of those things? Sig Other and I are lucky enough if we get to spend one whole day on the weekends together. Between his travel schedule and mine, between schlepping children and realizing our precious time with them is ticking away, between being engaged in the world in a way we feel both responsible and life affirming, WHO HAS TIME FOR DATE NIGHT? Add to this the special cherry on top of my particular situation: a career spent sublimating my femininity in a business gone deaf and blind to women of a certain age. I am neuter – a sexless dame in a young man's game.
I never understood women who were offended by wolf whistles and catcalls. One of the things I miss most about living in New York is walking down the street and getting a look or a smile or even a whistle from a construction worker, a truck driver, a guy in a three piece suit. I don’t mind having a door opened for me. I don’t mind a jeer every now and then. I’m a girl and want to be treated like one. I am certainly the girl at home. Sig Other is flawless in his recognition of my femininity and never fails to notice, to compliment, to support me as a woman.
But every now and then, a girl needs to feel cute to someone other than her husband. Every now and then we need to be reminded that we are sexual objects to someone who still finds us mysterious and alluring and doesn’t know what we look like when we sleep or that we snore or don’t look cute when we cry at bad movies. Every now and then, we need a flirt.
So it is with great gratitude that I send a thank you to the young man who offered to buy me a drink in a bar – who wasn’t daunted that I was waiting for a male friend, or that I’m married or that I’m much, much older than he and who, in spite of my protests handed me his card. I will find him a girlfriend – an age appropriate, single girlfriend – as a token of my appreciation. But he will never know that, at least for a day or two, he was much, much better than a cocktail of maca powder or a facelift could ever be…