Okay, it's official. I'm middle-aged. How do I know this? Not so much because of my chronological age, but because the other day, I received a catalog in the mail entitled "As We Change." And it was addressed to me; the postal carrier did not, as he is often wont to do, deliver someone else's mail to my door. No. There it was, clear as could be (for a person who was not wearing her reading glasses): My name, my address. This cannot be happening. No way.
What is "As We Change?" Well, it appears to be the middle-aged women's equivalent of all those baby and children's catalogs. But for the aging boomers instead of their kids. And instead of having fun, energetic names like "Sensational Beginnings" or "Right Start" or "Leaps and Bounds," we get the bland, vague and flat-out dull "As We Change." Um, like when do we ever NOT change? As (purported) middle-aged women, is this title representative of what we are supposed to be like? Dull and bland and unobtrusive? Are we supposed to blend in, not make waves and certainly not remind everyone else (much less ourselves) that we're all going to get old. As for the products sold, are they supposed to help us embrace aging? or help us fight it--or at least the signs of it (slimming clothing, wrinkle creams, lip puffing elixirs and kegel-cisors). Are we supposed to be post-sexual (how much more un-sexual can padded panties be?) or sexual dynamos (vibrators, sensation enhancers and lubricants).
And how on earth did they know to send the danged thing to me? Is there some secret mailing list for people over forty? Do you hit some magic number and the catalog powers that be say, "Aha--she's broken the demographic threshold now--I bet she's having night sweats, time to send in the old lady catalogs. Hmm, wonder if she needs the incontinence insert? Nah, probably can wait a little while on that one." I mean, REALLY.