Why, used to be, a woman at the age of 42 could hardly be glanced at, much less taken to bed and ravaged shame-free in broad daylight. No longer. Esquire has sent word across all channels that 42-year-old women have been removed from the Do Not Bang list and are no longer off-limits to respectable men. In other news, FIRE SALE AT CHICO'S.
Forty-two year-old broads everywhere can now pack up their loose but crisp linen shirts, let their slightly graying hair down, and select their finest modest but sexy cocktail dress and get back out there.
Behold the clarion call courtesy of author Tom Junod:
Let's face it: There used to be something tragic about even the most beautiful forty-two-year-old woman. With half her life still ahead of her, she was deemed to be at the end of something—namely, everything society valued in her, other than her success as a mother. If she remained sexual, she was either predatory or desperate; if she remained beautiful, what gave her beauty force was the fact of its fading. And if she remained alone... well, then God help her.
We've all seen those women — you know, the beautiful aging ones who just seemed so pathetic for existing at all. Also, he is right, I can't think of more forceful beauty than the fading kind. The not-fading kind is great — don't get me wrong — but if you think about it, it's just not quite as potent, all said. However, a hint of beauty once there is just, well, sickening. Really sad, too.
The only thing more ludicrous than Tom Junod's feelings about 42-year-olds are the misguided assumptions that lurk beneath them…like a 42-year-old woman clawing at the icy surface above her, desperate to escape the tomb of her old age and fading beauty, trapped in part because she acknowledges that icy cold water could significantly invigorate her appearance.
But break free she has: I repeat, 42-year-old women are now mad ballers whom you should seriously consider balling. Look no further than this list of 42-year-old celebrities Tom Junod finds totes fuckworthy:
Surely these women didn't become hot overnight? There must be some explanation for this mass retaining of hotness in the face of objective tragedy hitting us from all sides:
Conservatives still attack feminism with the absurd notion that it makes its adherents less attractive to men; in truth, it is feminism that has made forty-two-year-old women so desirable.
Ah yes, if you can thank feminism for anything, it's for making women hotter for longer. Hey, remember what 42 used to look like?
Mrs. Robinson was forty-two. And so if you want to see how our conception of forty-two-year-old women has changed over the last five decades, simply imagine The Graduate remade today, with Cameron Diaz in the part made famous by Anne Bancroft.
Strike the old dog who looked, you know, 42, and put in the new, hotter, blonder version who looks you know, 42*. (The asterisk symbolizes an open vagina.)
Question: If 42 is the new everything, is there anything we could all do to go ahead and be 42 now? I can't speed up time! I need a tiny minute to age and everything. But if 42 is obviously aging while not aging — somehow being both old and young at the same exact moment, then surely there must be some kind of "formula" for how to look and leap at the same second, right?
Of course, they have to work for their advantage; they have armored themselves with yoga and Pilates even as they joke about the spectacle. Still, what has made them figures of fantasy is not that they have redefined the ideals of female strength but rather their own vulnerabilities.
Ok ok ok I think I got this:
+Be a celebrity
+Joke about how you're obviously doing yoga and Pilates to keep this hot middle-aged bod running
+Do NOT redefine the ideals of female strength
+DO redefine vulnerability
But how would anyone know that we were this magically appealing age of 42? I mean, is there some way to TELL?
Go to a party: There is simply no one as unclothed as a forty-two-year-old woman in a summer dress. For all her toughness, and humor, and smarts, you know exactly what she looks like, without the advantage of knowing who she is.
Yeah man, I get it: You can't hide how you look when you're 42, amirite? What is so hot about 42 is how the woman clearly has worked so hard to be really hot (and is a celebrity) but is also not wearing a lot of clothes, but this makes her vulnerable. And you can tell. You know how hard she worked out to not wear any clothes, and that is so hot, but the best part about it is that like, she knows that too? And so she has to be funny about it because she is not like a younger woman. She is 42. And that is a spectacle.
Thank you Tom Junod. From all of us.