As some of you noticed (thank you!), I just turned 35. If you haven’t noticed, well, now you know. I didn’t think much of it, actually. Was just surprised the date rolled around so fast, October 2009 was really only like 2 months ago, right??? (My mom, always good for a thought, cheerfully reminded me that I’m halfway to 70. I’ll have to put that in my ad text.)
What I didn’t expect was the little “ouch” of putting that extra year into my ads. Unlike many and unlike what I used to do, I don’t lie about my age right now. I certainly could — I could easily get away with 8-10yrs younger. But why? I don’t fake orgasms, I am how old I am. I really don’t have a lot of choice in the matter (I’m either this old or I’m dead).
I experienced ageism back when I was a young and tender 33. At the advanced age of 35 I think people are just throwing their hands into the air and giving up (I found an escort today who won’t exchange links with anyone over 33). In Asia where everyone looks very young and the most common escorts are young, it can be difficult to be honest about age (very difficult to be okay being an XXL in local clothing sizes, which translates into a US size 6-8, depending.)
There have been potential clients who have passed me up because I’ve gone around the sun too many times. Then there are younger guys who seem to expect me to literally be a cougar: pin them to the bed, open my claws and have my way with them (this is my style about as often as the planets align). I present myself honestly on my website and ads, yet guys are still often surprised by me one way or another. I look just like my photos, except that I’m not as tanned right now (the French Riviera was good for that, if nothing else).
I’m not a MILF — I have no children. I’m not a cougar — I feel I’m just barely out of girlhood, really. I’m just 35. That’s all. It’s how old I happen to be.
When I feel too down, I remember that my peers are Kate Winslet, Angelina Jolie and Eva Mendes. Okay, I have a lot more peers than them, but they’re the ones I like to point to. (They give me hope that if I can afford expensive beauty treatments, personal trainers and nutritionists I could look like them too!)
Many Eastern men seem to feel that 35 = something simultaneously repulsive and terrifying. Aussies don’t seem to really care after looking at my pix — smart men. US men have exactly the right attitude — they’re looking at personality over mere appearance. Age is nothing but a number to most of the US. Escorts my age and older are very common and successful in the US. Not quite so in the rest of the world. I have considered leaving my age completely off everything but I know I’m going to be asked. Might as well get it out front and scare away the easily-scared.
Ageism exists in the US too but it’s not as cut-and-dry as the rest of the world (Europe/UK seem similar to the US). Men in the US also seem to like older, experienced women. This is one big credit to the American culture. We are very much an individualistic, cult-of-personality culture. This is a boon for escorts. Not so great if you’re not big on Sarah Palin’s politics.
I admit to worrying about falling body parts. I do not have the same physique as when I was in my early/mid-20s dancing 7hr shifts 4-6 nights a week and eating about 2 meals/day. My body does not process carbs like it used to (damnit). The SE Asian diet — yummy as it is — is not easily compatible with staying svelte if you’re a Westerner. SE Asia’s humidity has done wonders for my skin though; I feel I look younger than I did after living in CA/NV for a few years. My breasts are still quite recognizable from my 20s but I wonder more and more if I might succumb to a boob job someday. My butt…well, I no longer have the booty of my 20s, which I sorely miss and am now incorporating squats into my workouts. I haven’t felt the compulsion to do more to my face than buy expensive serums and try to avoid the sun. Oh, and I periodically whiten my very American teeth with whitening strips. I keep wondering if I should be doing more though, if I’m going to hit a “wall” and age 20 years overnight, if I’m supposed to be getting surgery and laser and all sorts of things done (I know much younger escorts who already are doing stuff). Then I wonder — why? Then I wonder — why not? And we’re back to the beginning of the physical-aging-worry loop.
Always happy to nap, I am aware that I like my sleep more and more. My body likes to snooze and it likes to snooze at night, all night. I couldn’t be a night-shift stripper anymore even if I wanted to. I guess that could be a selling point; overnights with much older men would be a snooze/snuggle -fest for both of us. On the other hand, I run as often as I can and love it. I run well and even do sprints every now and then (please don’t clock me). Don’t think that’s a bad sign!
I am finding it funny that suddenly men over 40 have become attractive to me; only a couple years ago I gave a friend a weird look when she claimed she liked men in their late 40s/early 50s (she is a few years older than me). I can imagine her saying “I told you!”
aging sex worker
All this preoccupation with my physical self is part of the job. It’s part of being an aging female. It’s part of my age-anxiety magnified in a culture and occupation that is youth-obsessed. Age is indeed just a number, but one everyone has ideas about. I do too. I try not to see clients under 30 if I can help it. Mentally, they’re just not what I want to deal with. (And occasionally feeling like a child molester doesn’t turn me on either.)
There might be some stigma that I’m just “too old” to be doing this for a living and I need to “grow up.” I’m quite possibly a perennial bachelor, just like George Clooney or any number of successful businessmen (not sure what you call a female bachelor). Sometimes I get very tired of the tedious admin side of escort work and would like to spend more time on my books and activism — these are meaningful pursuits in my life. Other times, the freedom and frivolity of escort work is exactly the mental break I need (and often there are very real lessons to be learned). Sometimes I think I have a limited amount of time to make serious money, other times I realize it’s infinite. Even when I’m 50 I’ll still be way younger than an 80yr old man.
While I often feel a bit odd in my travels: not a backpacker, not a corporate-whatever, an older single female roaming around — I’m not done. Not by a long shot. I’ve waited all my life for this (well, 25 years of it) and who knows if I’ll have this chance again. This isn’t a mid-life crisis, I’m doing my work every day and most days not enough of it. I may not be quite “grown up” but if that means children, upside-down mortgage, bad marriage, soul-sucking job — then please let me be not-grown-up forever.
My sex work role model in this is my friend Casey. She is honest about her age and life experiences. Along with being an overly-talented writer, she’s confronted issues of ageism head-on (and wrote an article about it for $pread). She is in the US, of course. Still, I think I might not do badly to take a page from her book and quit apologizing for having been around for 35 years. I’ve noticed a few more escorts on Eros (US cities) are now posting their true ages: late 30s, early 40s. I applaud every one of these ladies.
The old adage of “it’s not the years, it’s the miles” is true too. Internally, I feel the miles; some days I really feel them in a negative way. Externally, I (apparently) walk around with this innocent, dumb, lost expression. So I’m guessing the miles aren’t showing.
A friend of mine older than I read this essay and commented she feels stronger and more secure now in her 40s than she ever did in her 20s. Her comment: “life is strange and doesn’t always work chronologically at all.”
I think so.