My YMCA swimming instructor thinks my latest blog follower is a Russian Bot.
After telling her that Level Up Stud is now among my followers, she said, “Yea, that’s a Russian Bot.” Why else would a young guy with a beard, sunglasses and a come hither expression be following me?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m flattered whenever I get a new follower. But I’m confused. This guy is young, cute, buff and possibly hip. Why is he bothering with a blog about curmudgeons, Labrador retrievers with squinty smiles, and ornery teen-agers who hate talking in the morning?
His blog is a little provocative. It’s not dirty. Well, maybe just a little. There’s some stuff on it right out of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Just to be clear, not every woman loves those books. I read the first one, but was bored silly with the second, and never even cracked open the third. It’s got nothing to do with feminism, objectifying women or my disdain for spankings. I just thought it was dumb.
This doesn’t mean I think you’re dumb if you liked the Grey trilogy. Remember, I watch and went to a Maury taping, so I’m in no position to cast stones.
But having “Level Up Stud” enter my safe space makes me a little self-conscious, and I don’t even know why. It’s like the day my neighbor Ken plopped into the next chair at the hair salon as I sat there with root color and a plastic cap on my head. “Hi Ken,” I whimpered. He nearly jumped out of the chair. “Oh hi, I didn’t even know that was you,” he said.
Just to be clear, most women feel a little vulnerable when we don’t look our best, or what my sisters and I used to term “Ug.” This includes sitting in the salon chair, parading around pool decks in our bathing suit, jogging on the treadmill and baring our soul in our blogs. It has nothing to do with vanity. It’s about letting your guard down, or literally letting it all hang out.
Having guys enter the mix changes the dynamics. You’re suddenly well aware that you’re wearing a shower cap with gunk on your temples, or that your rear end is like Jello as you jog on the treadmill. It’s not that you mind that three gents are on rowing machines behind you. But you’d be a lot less self-conscious if they’d leave. I think this is the theory behind all women’s gyms. Many women just don’t want to be on display in certain situations.
Perhaps the best example is the YMCA’s warm pool, where two dozen older ladies in shower caps bob and weave every morning during water aerobics. There’s something enormously comforting about sharing the pool with a bunch of grandmothers. Anything you do – even the elementary backstroke – seems daring by comparison, and they’re the friendliest group of ladies.
But the sense of security vanishes when a young guy in a black Speedo thrusts open the door, and struts by on the pool deck. Suddenly, all eyes turn to him, and his tiny suit screaming “SPEEDO” on the rear.
“What’s he doing here?” I whispered to the swim instructor. “And why is he strutting? Everyone in the pool is old enough to be his grandmother.”
“It’s called ‘shiny,'” she said. “What?” I asked. “You know, sparkling. Something that catches your eye.” Oh, eye candy. Why didn’t you say so? But this guy wasn’t shiny because he thought he was giving us a thrill. That would be like me walking through an assisted living facility, and thinking I’m hot because the old guys think I’m cute.
Spoiler alert: strutting is never cool, unless you’re my friend Joe who tends to strut after hitting a winner in Pickleball. It’s actually kind of cute the way he does it. In fact, we gave him the title “best strutter” during a superlatives bit one year. But in all other cases, it’s actually a turnoff, at least to women I know.
My greatest issue with crossing the great generational divide is this guy viewing me as old and possibly saying to his friends, “You should see what this old bag is writing about. God, she’s duller than dirt. Is this what happens to chicks (well, make that hens) after 50?”
Of course, he’d be justified. Bluebirds, lavender farms, Christmas shops, Stitch Fix and monasteries are not exactly scintillating topics. I’m sure he’d have a lot more fun on a site about young women who can’t be taken seriously because they’re so smokin’ hot.
So in the interest of full disclosure, here’s what LUS needs to know if he plans to stick around:
- While you’re planning your next workout or sexual conquest, most of us are wondering what’s for dinner, or snipping branches in our yard to force for some late winter color.
- While you’re power-lifting, we’re wondering if we should go for the cortisone shot in our elbow or stick it out for another month.
- While you’re rightfully admiring your rocking bod, we’re dashing by the bathroom mirror so we don’t have to look. With any luck, we won’t slip on the tiles and almost break our neck.
- We can’t believe how hard it is to run. OK, let’s call it jog. Or better yet, stagger.
- The Big M stands for menopause.
- The Big C stands for cancer.
- The sudden urge to urinate is often caused by the Big M, but many people fear it’s the Big C.
- Sometimes taking care of your body at this age can feel like a full-time job.
- I have a Twitter account, but don’t know how to use it.
- I still have no idea what a meme or GIF is.
- I detest I-Phones.
- Alexa is a petulant little pain in the neck. Do machines have to be difficult too?
- I haven’t bought a song on I-Tunes in two years because I can’t figure out how.
- X-Box is a complete waste of time.
- I detest guns. I interviewed James Brady and his wife Sarah after he was shot by John Hinckley for an article about tighter gun regulations. This does not mean banning guns. It means making sure they don’t end up in the hands of lunatics. I’m convinced that women will have to take the lead on ending gun violence in schools, much the way they changed drunk driving laws through Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
- I don’t care if you think I was just on my soap box. I was. I’m tired of young innocent kids being killed by guns in this country.
- I can’t stand people who text and drive, so cut it out.
- No one over age 30 uses the term “friend group.”
- No one over age 30 gets the whole hookup thing. Well, we get it, but we don’t really approve.
- Women over 30 don’t get the whole obsession with big butts. Just so you know, we’ve been dieting and keeping gyms in business to avoid that look for years.
- Women my age don’t understand why young guys don’t like body hair. Chest hair was king in the ’70s and ’80s. See: Tom Selleck or Burt Reynolds.
- My swimming instructor thinks you’re a Russian bot.
- Strutting is never a good idea. So figure out another way to walk.
- Everything sags as you age, but the eyelids are the biggie.
- If you are hot, which I suspect you are, try not to let that be your defining characteristic.
- Most women would take a funny guy over a dull hunk any day of the week.
- Take care of your teeth. There’s nothing sexier than a man with a beautiful smile.
- When life hands you lemons, which it will, make lemonade.
- Winning the race does not mean crossing the finish line first. It means trying your best, and going back to help other people cross the line before you get the beer.
- Good grooming is essential.
- Call your mother.