Friday, July 2, 2010

The Darker Side Of Ageing

I was on an aircraft a while ago, and a female Politician came on board wearing this flowing spaghetti strapped dress.

Her shoulders were bare and her cleavage was kinda in everyone’s face. I remember thinking then “OMG!! How can she wear this…she’s almost naked!!”

Interestingly enough, she didn’t look awful or even over-the-top Indecent in the dress, but my reaction was borne more out of the fact that being an ‘Older Woman’, she shouldn’t dress like that.

She looked the same way someone younger than her would look in the dress, and I wouldn’t make such a big fuss about, so I wonder, why is it that I had such a problem with a woman in her late 50’s expressing herself through her choice of clothes?!

I’ve always believed that the older you get, the more liberties you have to do whatever it is you want to do, without necessarily needing the approval of anyone else. However, more and more, I’m beginning to believe that getting older, especially in Nigeria, takes you further and further into a Cell of Conformity, in which the idea of Bail is thought about only by the Bravehearts.

I was in the Club last night, and there was this ‘Older Lady’ yet again, who was on her feet the entire time dancing with a younger man. The way she carried on having a great time, not really caring about the fact that people all around her might have been thinking “Mama sit down and respect yourself”, was quite admirable.

‘Respect Yourself'; that’s one phrase you hear quite a bit in this country, right up there with ‘Act Your Age’.

What if a 57year old feels within himself like he is 26, and goes about expressing himself like your regular 25year old, does that make him irresponsible?

What if he fulfills ALL the obligations he has toward his family, Work and whatever else, and he wants only the Freedom to act out the HIM he sees in his heart, does that make him an ‘AGBAYA’?!

In Nigeria, does society get more and more Judgmental of you with each year you add to the number of years since you first showed up on earth?!

My 31year old friend was telling about how she introduced her new boyfriend to her Mum as ‘My Boyfriend’, and her Mum called her aside and scolded her saying she should be ashamed of herself, for saying ‘My Boyfriend’ at this age.

According to her Mum, she should introduce the guy to everyone as ‘Her Fiance’, in spite of the fact that they’ve not even started talking of anything even remotely near Marriage.

I also heard of a 75year old woman who lost her husband a couple of years ago, and decided to enjoy herself instead of spending the rest of her life in mourning. She got herself a much younger man who dotes on her, started exercising and travelling the world with her lover, and is celebrating her newfound youth at 75!!

In this country, a story like that would immediately convince the majority that she killed her husband!!

I mean as much as I love my Prof Mummy, its sooo difficult for me to even imagine her with another Man other than my Dad!!

If Age is indeed nothing but a Number, then why has one’s Age become the determining factor of what is okay and what is absurd for one to do?!

Why shouldn’t I be the judge of what’s right or wrong in my life, after all, am I not ‘Old’ enough?!


  1. It is ingrained in us to think like that, and its a wrong path of thinking...just like childlike and childish are too different concepts the former being an appreciated concept as opposed to the latter, so should be old, responsible but youthful/ childlike as compared to old, irresponsible and childish. I actually was discussing this a couple of days ago. I read about a couple in a nursing home, maybe in their 60s or 70, or one in her 70s and the man in his 80s. Their respective families wanted them separated because apparently the woman was caught going down on the man or something, they were in some sort of r.ship. Additionally one partner had amnesia but there was evidence to show that they both did it willingly and were aware, this evidence was buttressed by the fact that when they were separated the woman fell ill and stopped eating and something happened to the man too I think. Bottom line the article was examining the perception of age and how it usually means incapable. That's not always the case. As you summed it up, why shouldn't we be the judges of our rights and wrong once we passed society's cut off age, even if we're like 90 and we're still capable of reasoning. Why should we be judged, if we're living our lives in a still responsible and mature fashion. Obviously this does not apply to old and incapable people, but why is it that as soon as old age sets there is almost a sense of, 'oya go and sit down, your time has passed' lol.
    Interesting Tariere! A long comment but oh well.

  2. That is such an interesting story. Miss Natural, I really admire your ability to interpret a LOT of thinfs..'Old Age as meaning Incapable' what a sad concept!!

    No wonder a lot of people are killing thhe$mselves just to hold on to the false idea of YOUTH.