"You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older." -- Anouk Aimee

I’m not sure when it happened, how it happened, or why it happened. But it snuck up on me the same way my Uncle Hyram used to do when I was little. In 1971, at the ripe old age of 85 years old, Uncle Hyram, I believe, was the first man on planet Earth to exhibit stealth capability. He would creep up on us kids at the annual Carnes family barbeque, hiding behind a live oak tree, a picnic table, or Cousin Bubba’s souped up Chevy truck to gain his advantage. Then, using his own portly wife, Aunt Vesta, as a human shield, he would shadow behind her as she was going for the cake and pie table for a third helping, and sneak up and goose me from behind, causing me to drop my ice-cream cone and pee in my Saturday-labeled panties. This is what the age of forty-six has done to me. It has goosed me unexpectedly from behind and caused me to evaluate the possibility that I might now be the target demographic for Depends advertisements.

I never thought I’d see the age of forty-six. Even worse, I (ok, and my mother, too) never thought I’d find myself single, childless, and husbandless at the age of forty-six. I grew up in the 70’s. The era of the Brady Bunch. It was just sort of expected of us to be like our moms – housewives taking care of our families. But I guess I was never one to conform. And Carol Brady was just plain boring to me. I admired Gloria Steinem growing up, instead.

So here I am – single AND childless at forty-six. Does this mean my life is over? Is there something wrong with me? Is someone going to suddenly show up at my doorstep to cart me off to some Old Maid Colony on an island in South Louisiana where they’ll put a sign on my chest labeling me “Spinster” instead of Leper? Will I stand in the street with a tin cup, begging perky, twenty-something upstarts, to give “ohms to the has-been. Ohms to the Old Maid.” Will they toss me a quarter, then consider my life kicked to the curb?

Funny, but I don’t feel like giving up the fight just yet. While I admit there is a brochure for Botox treatments sitting on my desk and Collagen injections appear more and more appealing every day, I hardly believe that my dating and social life should be over merely because I’ve now rocketed past that magical age barrier known as “Lordy, Lordy, Look Who’s in their Forties!”

As an alternative to Carol Brady, I’ve lived up to the ideal that Betty Friedan & Mary Tyler Moore envisioned for me. Instead of pushing a Hoover upright around the house, playing den mother to a pack full of webelos, and shaking chicken in a plastic bag then baking it for my husband’s feast after a long day’s work at the office; I have found myself slogging my way through a forty-hour a week career, getting paid a man’s wage, so that I can afford to pay for my two bed-room cottage, really hot sports car, and yearly subscription to More Magazine all by myself. I didn’t have to break the glass ceiling. I simply took the roof access staircase to overcome it. I’m an independent woman living on her own means. Kind of like the Destiny’s Child song - sure I paid for the ring and watch I wear, but only because on one dateless Friday night, I was feeling sorry for myself and bought the entire Joan River’s collection on QVC.

So I guess the question that I ask myself is simply, am I a has-been at forty-six? God, I hope not. I would like to believe that I have aged well, like a fine Chateauneuf de Paup; that I am full bodied, subtle, and mature. I want to believe that I go well with anything, and that I am timeless and beautiful. That I can run with any crowd, be sophisticated on one side, yet playful and childlike on the other, after all, I am caught between the ages.

While I do happen to remember The Lawrence Welk Show, Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, and Pop Levi dominate the stereo on my Honda S2000, interlaced with the occasional Ramones or Iggy Pop classic. I loath easy listening music; although I will confess that some of the tunes on The Weather Channel are quite catchy. I am taking yoga, high intensity aerobics, and cycling on a regular basis, keeping my body young. In rebellion, I find myself meandering through the junior's section at the department store but as usual, get freaked out when the extra-large skirt won't fit over my thigh! I panic, throw the hissy-fit, upon which I am then escorted back to the department they have deemed suitable for my demographic - elastic band & pastel print hell - The Alfred Dunner Collection. (insert primordial scream & Edvard Munch face here.) I had pink hair in college for cryin' out loud. Blue hair is not an option!

I am beautiful, forty-six, and growing old gracefully & naturally. I am relevant, sensual, hip, humorous, and wise. I'm better than I've ever been. Being anything else, well, that alternative is unthinkable – to be like a used Depend Undergarment, balled up and tossed in the trash can. That ain't me!


I attend a very unique and eclectic aerobics class twice a week. No, it’s not the latest trend from Hollywood or innovative and revolutionary for that matter. No, it’s just high intensity, strength-training aerobics.

What makes it special is the composition of the class that attends. There are no elitists. There are no subordinates. It is a melting pot of our city. It’s what America is supposed to look like.

We think we have come a long way since the 60s and civil rights but in some aspects we haven’t. Churches are still segregated. Country Clubs, bars, neighborhoods, offices, and even some schools are still one sided (on both sides of the coin, I might add). As much as we say we embrace equality, our day-to-day lives still do not entirely reflect the concept.

My aerobics class seems to be a refreshing exception. Who knew it would be the common fear of cellulite that could bring us all together?! These women are all fierce, intelligent, and amazing. Every class I look around the room and admire these ladies who turn out week after week. So many amazing stories there but one common goal – to be the best people we can possibly be! We move as one. We march as one. We grapevine, punch, kick, and dance as one. We crunch our abs as one. It's all so very zen. And for that, my aerobics class rules!