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Is it normal for a woman to begin feeling invisible in her thirties?
April 4, 2012 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Is it normal for a woman to begin feeling invisible in her thirties? Please excuse the fact that this question might come off as totally narcissistic and a little crazy but it's been something that has been on my mind a lot lately and I was hoping to get some perspective on the situation.

I am not a conventionally attractive female, I guess you could say my personality might dictate what's attractive for me more than my looks. I am not overweight, I am healthy, I am stylish (I think I am at least I could also be delusional) but I have never been the kind of girl who has gotten by on my looks. At 35 I look the best I have ever looked in my life and feel great which is why I am baffled by what appears to be occurring now that I have reached my mid-thirties. I have felt a sense of invisibility to other people that feels completely foreign and strange to me. I notice people seem to bump into me more, not look my way. Men never check me out anymore (I am married so I am not looking, but it's nice to have a bit of attention from the opposite sex on occasion, I am only human after all), even other women don't seem to see me and walk into me. Has anyone else experienced anything like this starting in their thirties? Men, do you typically not check out women in their thirties? Is it only naturally to look at women under thirty? Ladies, do any of you relate with this question?

Again, I get that there is no way to pose this question without sounding like an asshole so I apologize in advance, I just want to get some input from a collective brain :)
posted by thelastgirl to Society & Culture (48 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have to say...I think the bigger problem is that people are just so fucking self-absorbed. I have noticed that most people take little time to consider that there are people in the world. On public transportation, I rarely see young people give up their seats to the elders. Walking the busy streets of San Francisco, I rarely see people consider that there are others sharing the sidewalk. Hell, when I am driving, I get the impression that most people do, in fact, think they own the road.

You and I are exactly the same age; thus, I am going to chalk this up to the fact that we have finally reached an age where these things matter to us. Therefore, we notice the selfishness of others.

I am sure you are gorgeous, and I would take the time to notice you.
posted by AlliKat75 at 11:48 AM on April 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


I think people bump into each other a lot more now because they're listening to music or playing games or surfing the web on their smart phones. It's not you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:50 AM on April 4, 2012 [12 favorites]


As a man in my early 40s, I certainly check out fit and stylish women in their 30s.

I also happen to know that my college-age nephew and his friends are always checking out women in that age group - as they are obsessed with the idea of cougars.
posted by Flood at 11:50 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


My understanding is that this is an all to common effect. Anecdotally, as a generally gentlemanly presenting and lady appreciating person in my early twenties, I don't have it.

With their massive data set, the folks who run OKCupid have found that men generally find older women attractive, but don't know that they do. You can review their analysis here, The Case For An Older Woman
posted by Blasdelb at 11:52 AM on April 4, 2012


People physically colliding with you is not about your attractiveness. People usually navigate around people and inanimate objects, when they are paying enough attention to their surroundings.
posted by aubilenon at 11:54 AM on April 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


Is it possible you're just noticing more now because you feel more confident and happy? Aside from that yeah, people are insanely self-absorbed with their phones and little gadgets and doodads. Also, older men are slightly better at hiding the fact they are checking you out, so that could be something, too.
posted by Glinn at 11:55 AM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Men, do you typically not check out women in their thirties? Is it only naturally to look at women under thirty?

There was a looong question/argument here on this topic some time ago, which I'm not going to take the time to dig up, but I believe I can fairly summarize it as
* A subset of men are attracted only to younger women, regardless of their own age
* Another subset of men tends to be attracted to women of roughly their own age or younger
* A third subset tends to be attracted only to women of roughly their own age
* relatively few men are specifically attracted to women substantially older than they are

So just statistically speaking, because of those first two subsets you're going to find that the younger you are the more men will be attracted to you.

I'd also speculate that men in their 30s and 40s (and up), especially those in that third subset above, will typically be more subtle about "checking you out" than those in their teens and twenties; it may be happening and you're just not noticing it.

That said, that people of both genders seem to literally be not seeing you at all, bumping into you, etc sounds like a separate and unrelated issue to me, which I have no explanation for. (I -- age 40 -- haven't personally noticed that people seem more self-absorbed or rude than in the past. I haven't had to shoo anyone off my lawn in, like, weeks.)
posted by ook at 12:01 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am enjoying these answers very much. Though I found the link from Blasdelb hilarious but also horrifyingly depressing.

I think there is something weird with people in their twenties, but isn't it the job of anyone 30+ to criticize people in their twenties? Or is there something to the idea of the death of politeness and manners?
posted by thelastgirl at 12:02 PM on April 4, 2012


I think Allikat75 has it. People are just so not observant about their environment, and that sadly includes others around them. People are simply distracted by their ipods, iphones and short attention spans, they just don't pay attention.
posted by floweredfish at 12:04 PM on April 4, 2012


Men never check me out anymore

I'm also 35 and not (outwardly) attractive, and this has been pretty much my experience all my life. (Weight makes a small difference: thinner = more visible, and degree of stylishness makes none at all.) So I relate to the feeling itself, but not the recent onset of it.

even other women don't seem to see me and walk into me

I can say that I always look at women (well, technically at their clothes, hairstyle, etc.) and age doesn't really enter into it for me.

This does vary a bit regionally, in my experience. I assume you haven't recently moved? Or have more people have moved to where you are? Some people just can't walk right, especially on crowded sidewalks.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:04 PM on April 4, 2012


is there something to the idea of the death of politeness and manners?

If so, it died a long time ago:

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for
authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place
of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their
households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They
contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties
at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."
-- Socrates
posted by ook at 12:05 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Which if I'd bothered to read the attribution on the very page I linked to, I'd have realized it's fake. Still dates back at least 60 years, though, beyond the range of this question.
posted by ook at 12:08 PM on April 4, 2012


People bump into me on the sidewalk all the time. I am considering buying a cowboy hat.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:08 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


This does vary a bit regionally, in my experience.

Yes, exactly. I can promise you that if you live in a large metro area with high pop density, it's got little to do with your physical attractiveness and much more to do with the fact that high population density seems to make everyone into selfish narcissistic assholes with little to no situational awareness.
posted by elizardbits at 12:09 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Being visibly "checked out" does not always mean what you think it means, either - I've noticed that since I cut my hair and started dressing in a dapper, sort of effeminate-butch manner I've started to get lots of checking-out-like behavior from men. This isn't because I'm some kind of sexpot in men's-clothes - I'm in my late thirties, visibly queer, stocky, have never been pretty and wear thick glasses. It's the damnedest thing, and I don't think it's purely that I look like a big freak, because it's specifically straight men. It's some kind of weird socio-cultural mimic checking-out that does not indicate attraction...So anyway, merely being glanced at does not add up to attraction and I suspect that the absence of glances should not add up to non-attraction, either.
posted by Frowner at 12:09 PM on April 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


I never noticed whether guys were checking me out or not even when I was young and slim, but I have noticed a distinct dropoff in street harassment and general creep-magnet occurrences now that I am no longer either of those things. That's a plus in my book.
posted by matildaben at 12:12 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Older guys are looking at you. Older guys have learned how to do so without looking like rubber necking fools. Hence you notice it less.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 12:18 PM on April 4, 2012 [15 favorites]


I found that after about 40 I became invisible. I often joke that I could probably start a crime spree and it would be difficult to identify me in a line up. I'm a middle aged lady that likes to go to clubs to see bands and I find it very difficult to find and keep a space in a general admission environment due to my invisibility. I do notice that men in my age bracket (and a bit older of course) do notice me though, so that is my cue that I really do exist and I don't have to pinch myself.
posted by readery at 12:19 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I noticed the same thing in my '30s. As elizardbits notes, however, this is not without its upside.
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:20 PM on April 4, 2012


This is overdetermined -- who can tell which dominates?

1. Men look somewhat less at older women because, inter alia, they are hard-wired to look at younger women, and because culture (increasingly) celebrates immature body shapes.

2. People look less at one another because, inter alia, they are walking around looking at MeFi on their smartphones.

3. You perceive a difference to a degree that exaggerates its presence because, inter alia, you were narcissistic when you were younger and thought people were checking you out, because you are now insecure about your appeal, or because you are now more aware of interesting inquiries like this.

P.S. Largest subset of men checks out everyone and everything for you-know-what, including men and women of all ages, art installations, exotic fruit, etc.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 12:20 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want to walk around wherever y'all are walking around that street harassment drops off for women over 40, because I'm still waiting. It is nice to be able to say, "I'm old enough to be your mother, asshole!" and mean it, though.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:39 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I definitely find that I get less attention in my thirties. Specifically, less superficial attention to what I look like. For example, less men now randomly initiate conversation with me at conferences. I am more invisible in public.

I have discovered by accident that I can fix that completely, if I want, by the means of dying my hair pillar box red.

Either way, I don't get any less of the kind of attention such as giving me work, asking my professional opinion, and so forth, from people who know me and my work rather than just my appearance. If I'm in meetings, people pay me more attention than they used to because I'm more confident and knowledgeable and loud than I used to be.
posted by emilyw at 12:41 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it makes you feel any better I'm a 40 something male and I've been feeling invisible since about 37. Then again, I live in NYC where everyone is 22.
posted by spicynuts at 12:55 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah hah! I found that old thread about age and sexual attraction I mentioned above.
posted by ook at 12:55 PM on April 4, 2012


At 35 I look the best I have ever looked in my life and feel great

A few more thoughts, guesses really, but:

-Maybe you look more intimidating now, being a little older and more confident and better put-together, and people who would have felt comfortable staring at someone younger and more vulnerable might be afraid that current you would stare back or tell them off.

-Did the transition to "best I have ever looked" include a weight loss or gain? When I change sizes, I'm not good at estimating how much room I take up, and therefore sometimes cause people to bump into me (or get into that awkward which-way-are-we-going dance) because I judge the distance between us on the sidewalk incorrectly.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:57 PM on April 4, 2012


Have you moved at any point in the last ten years, even just from one neighborhood to another? Have you changed your hair or the style of clothes you wear? Do you go out to different places or parts of town than you used to? These can all have an effect. I'm invisible now compared to my early twenties, but back then I spent a lot more time out on the town, often in neighborhoods full of single dudebros.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:03 PM on April 4, 2012


Alice Bradley wrote about this in January: On being an object, and then not being an object

I think it's real, but it also is perception. I think some people stop looking, and then you assume that more people have stopped looking just because that is your frame of reference, whereas previously they read as "busy."
posted by Zen_warrior at 1:08 PM on April 4, 2012


“All women are aware of that moment when suddenly the boys don’t look at you. . . .It’s a fairly common thing, when suddenly you no longer attract that instant male attention because of the way you look. I never really knew how to enjoy beauty, but it took the form of a subconscious arrogance, expecting things, all muddled up with celebrity. Then you begin to deal with it,” So says Julie Christie, anyway. I tend to agree.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:11 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


it may be happening and you're just not noticing it.

This! I am also in my thirties and noticed a big drop-off in attention, despite feeling more attractive and confident than ever. However, my boyfriend recently revealed that he notices men are surreptitiously checking me out ALL the time, but they're probably around my age or older so they're much better about it than young men. He's not usually prone to meaningless flattery, so I believe him. It definitely made my year to know that I haven't become invisible.

If you're the best looking you've ever been, people are noticing--maybe just not in ways you're used to.
posted by sundaydriver at 1:11 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


People don't ignore or bump into me, probably because I'm tall and tend to loom, but I definitely don't get hey bay-bee'd any more. I'm glad.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:21 PM on April 4, 2012


Someone alluded to this above, but your observations do seem to be corresponding to a time in our culture in which people really are starting to become more self-absorbed in their day-to-day interactions. This isn't a "doom and gloom" type response that seems to crop up with every aging generation toward the younger crowd, but an observation of a way in which we really do use technology to communicate and be entertained that's somewhat unique in history, and much more consuming than it has ever been before. Even media entertainment, which used to be living-room centric, now happens a lot individually on a computer or similar device. It's standard to be constantly plugged in elsewhere, like a phone, even when in large groups. It's becoming more common in culture to see real life as just one of many "realities" that we're plugged into, so our allegiances (and our attention) get pretty divided. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, as more devices come into my home, as I am convinced that one of the most precious gifts that we can give people is our attention, to act as if they are important and worthy of our time, to be "in the moment" with them.

Sorry for the ramble. Is this related to your situation? Don't know for sure. Many people rise above this kind of disconnect, although I think it is becoming a bigger problem. And I do think we garner less attention as we get older at times, due to age bias, and it might be as simple as that. It's an interesting correlation to think about though, I think.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:23 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ultimately, this will vary from person to person. Some people will never attract that kind of attention, regardless of age. Some only get it when young. Some only get it when older and properly seasoned. Then there's the deltas between the attention you get and the attention you notice and the attention you actually want and the attention you definitely don't want.

It sounds like you want more of a particular kind of attention. That's really on you to go get it (or stop wanting it), instead of wondering why people aren't giving it to you.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 1:27 PM on April 4, 2012


God yes women in their thirties are ogled at far, far than they were in their 20's. And speaking as a 39-year old woman: Thank. Fucking. God.
posted by 8dot3 at 1:29 PM on April 4, 2012


You know, now that I think about it, it might be useful to consider why one gets visibly checked out (as opposed to discreetly). I've had very, very few experiences with this, which I used to read as meaning that I was ugly, and I used to feel bad about it. Back when I was straight, so to speak, I used to treasure up the times I got propositioned in mistake for a sex worker, or the time some guy grabbed my ass on the bus...or rather times, not once but twice in succession. Those things were lousy, but they reassured me that I was performing femininity successfully.

But now I remember being fat in junior high and high school and being sexually harassed. I was hideous then, badly dressed in my mother's old clothes, awkward, terrible glasses, miserable, terrible haircut. I got sexual remarks all the time. Recently I read a couple of fat women's memoirs and realized that the sexual harassment had not been, as I had assumed, mockery of the mere idea that a fat lump like me could have a sexuality. it was because as a fat girl I had large breasts and guys assumed I'd be easy. They figured they could bully me or shame me into....something...that I'd then be too ashamed to talk about and that they could always deny because hey, who'd do that with the fat girl?

And now that I consider the looks I get from men as a queer butch woman of, let us be honest, a certain age, I think that once again it's about power and perversity rather than appreciation. I think what's going on is that to them I don't read as a dapper queer woman in preppy men's fittings; to them I read as perverse, my body reads as perverse, my clothes suggest drag and fetish. And thus I - a middle-aged woman with glasses and what my stylist laughingly refers to as a "convict crop" - am a sign of....some kind of perverse sexuality. Hence the looks. If I dress like that, wearing my fetish gear out in broad daylight, who knows what I do at home in the privacy of....

I suspect that all visible checking out has these elements of power and perversion, and that it's not merely a gentlemanly tribute to the flower of our beauty. (I mean, I check people out all the time, but no one notices because I don't, you know, turn my head or goggle at people.)
posted by Frowner at 1:30 PM on April 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm 34 and have gotten "hey baby sexy baby" catcalls every day since I was eighteen, which is when I moved to city-type places, where I still live.

Could this change be location related?

Also, I look really young and often dress a bit young as well, I guess so I see the point here:

-Maybe you look more intimidating now, being a little older and more confident and better put-together, and people who would have felt comfortable staring at someone younger and more vulnerable might be afraid that current you would stare back or tell them off

I mean, I'm sure I'm not a million times more attractive than you or anything, it's just that I turn out to be one of those people who's always getting attention. Even beyond catcalls, I get asked for directions several times a day, even when other people look more available -- not wearing headphones, carrying a bunch of stuff, etc, like I sometimes am.

As far as people actually walking INTO you, yeah, I think this has to do with being on their phones and otherwise preoccupied/self obsessed.
posted by sweetkid at 1:40 PM on April 4, 2012


I can't address the part of your question about being a woman in her 30s, since I'm a man in my 40s, but I can say that here in Paris, far more people walk into me than they used to, even six years ago. Like others, I think it's partly because they are more likely to be listening to music or playing with their phones. But even people who don't otherwise seem distracted do seem less willing to move, or to meet me halfway by each of us moving a little. I am large, and average height, so I don't think it's that they underestimate how big I am.

I have noticed, though, that if I pretend not to notice them, but aim for the gap between them and another person, I'm less likely to be jostled.

A (French) friend of mine who lives outside Lyon, but who lived in Paris until about a decade ago, said that she feels like Parisians are much more likely to jostle other people than they were when she lived here.
posted by brianogilvie at 1:56 PM on April 4, 2012


Humorist writer Cynthia Heimel, author of “Sex Tips For Girls” says that women are either "pussy" or "invisible." I've been invisible for years!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:07 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does this have something to do with your attitude about yourself? When I was in my twenties, I was beautiful and thin but I was so insecure that I couldn't believe anyone would check me out. I always felt "invisible." I have more confidence now that I am 30, and I feel that men check me out all the time, even though I am older and not as youthfully pretty. I don't know what the reality is, but I tend to believe I'm getting checked out the same amount or less than I was when I was younger, but I just have a different belief system about my attractiveness now.
posted by amodelcitizen at 2:40 PM on April 4, 2012


Another previous question relevant here: Women, at what age did men stop looking at you?
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:06 PM on April 4, 2012


elizardbits: "...if you live in a large metro area with high pop density, it's got little to do with your physical attractiveness and much more to do with the fact that high population density seems to make everyone into selfish narcissistic assholes with little to no situational awareness."

Well, I'm a moderately unattractive 50 year-old male and people bump into me all the fucking time when walking in the city. I think people these days are much less inclined to observe etiquette like walking to the left (or right, if you live in on of those countries) than they used to be. I walk a few times a week for exercise with a (female) friend in the city and we walk fast and want to keep the pace up, so find ourselves constantly dodging around people walking all over the place, walking slowly three and more abreast, stopping suddenly in the middle of the footpath etc. Drives me nuts.

My friend is in her thirties and I often see men checking her out (she doesn't notice). I think women over thirty (or perceived to be so) are not noticed as much by younger menboys and they are the ones that are most likely to be obvious about it and less likely to be embarrassed if caught, because they are young enough and self-absorbed enough to think that they are paying someone a compliment by giving them their precious attention. As men grow older, they are more likely to be discreet in checking you out but, I assure you, they are doing so.

It's also possible that, as you've matured, you are seeking external validation of your attractiveness less, so aren't unconsciously seeking attention, so it's not on your radar when it happens.
posted by dg at 3:48 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Demographics definitely play a role in this.

I'm an average-looking but stylish broad of nearly forty. In my home neighborhood, which is full of thirty-to-fiftysomethings, scenesters, and queerfolk, I don't notice people checking me out very often. (When I do, it's usually a woman, and the majority of the time, it seems to be about something I'm wearing rather than an actual cruise.) When I'm in the University District, on the other hand, I get checked out all the time by boy-children half my age. Maybe they're hoping that I'll take them in my great, cougar-y paws and initiate them into the ways of amore. Maybe they miss their moms. I don't know. It never feels threatening, but it does feel very odd.

My advice is to enjoy your new status. Don't think of yourself as invisible-- think of yourself as incognito. Go to places you wouldn't have dared to visit before. Strike up conversations with anyone you feel like. It's a fine thing not to have your interactions with the world mediated by the fact that you are a potential piece of a#$!
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:54 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Echoing the sentiments above that it's not you, it's everybody. People are trapped in their own worlds. It's easier, really, because there are so many people around these days. When there's a glut of something you don't pay it much heed. Plus people've got their iPhones, their mp3s, their Kindles. Everybody is afraid of everybody else. We've been programmed to be. It's easier to just not look at anything. I'm a big guy and I can stand stock-still in an open area in the middle of a crowded mall, wearing all black, and people will still bump into me. Sometimes they even veer into me. They can be looking directly at me but it's not at me, it's at the thing behind me that they want, and *bump*.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:57 PM on April 4, 2012


I am 35 too. From my observation, getting checked out a lot versus very little is not completely about age, though, to be honest, I was never more checked out than when I was a twelve-year-old tomboy going through puberty. I remember walking around the local mall and feeling that I would be burned alive by the gazes of men. It's possible that I was just sensitive to an unfamiliar phenomenon, but to be honest with you, I think the reality is that there are a lot of ephebophiles out there.

In my life, I have tended to pay too much attention to the exception (getting checked out) rather than the rule (being utterly disregarded, which is the real problem, isn't it?). The subtle social dynamics of public life are where one can really witness the patriarchy in action. I find it pretty horrifying.

A lot of women come into feminism at our age. I will leave you with that.
posted by gentian at 5:58 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm in my 40s and definitely feel invisible. Except for people commenting on my shoes, I don't feel like anyone looks at me at all.
posted by sfkiddo at 8:18 PM on April 4, 2012


I totally agree that those of us in cities turn into device-fiends that ignore the real world around us. I also do think that women become more invisible as they age -- c.f. Hollywood roles available to older actresses -- which is just an unappealing fact of life in the U.S.

However, in my city neighborhoods have definite demographic flavors. In one of my old haunts, I swear there isn't anyone over 29. When I go back there now, in my mid-30s, I definitely feel like there's a certain population of the mid-20s kids that don't "see" me anymore.

But in my current neighborhood it's much more diverse with mid-20s cool kids plus mid-40s hipsters plus all sorts of families plus dog owners plus retirees who have lived here their whole lives. And anecdatally I'm much more likely to be "checked out" in my home neighborhood, just because the population is more diverse in age and background.
posted by lillygog at 5:50 AM on April 5, 2012


Oh, yeah, I basically disappeared off the face of the earth when I had a kid. I was 32 and cute when I got knocked up, and though I am also not someone who ever attracted a lot of attention from men when I was just walking about, I certainly had my days + I knew how to turn it on when I wanted a little extra attention. I have (very few! kind of precious!) distinct memories of turning heads as late a couple months into my pregnancy.

So, when my daughter was born and literally not one man, nor a single lesbian, would make eye contact it was startlingly obvious. (And this was in Vancouver, where hardly anyone makes eye contact anyway.) At first I thought it was all my imagination, but then one afternoon, probably one of the first warm late spring days, about 3 months after my daughter was born, she was with a babysitter, and I went to the liquor store and bought a six pack and suddenly! POW! it was like I had reappeared. It's not like men were following me home or anything, but they were seeing me and smiling and there was flirty chitchat. Was it the beer? Was I in a particularly sunny mood? Who knows?

There was an uptick in attention once I could start leaving the house in clothing that was not milk-stained and rumpled, and then a more gradual decline. I'm 42 now, and I get a lot of attention from straight-appearing women, mostly because I like unusual shoes, clothing and accessories. Almost every time I'm in public someone will compliment me on my shoes or ask where I found my bag. I'm used to the invisibility, I guess, and only even think about it now when I'm out and about with someone considerably younger or cuter than I am who is attracting the gaze of men, which both fascinates me and makes me feel sulky.

So, it's definitely a thing, for sure. However, I will also concede that it is also true that the people I am looking at with the faint memory of the eye contact and smile I would have gotten in years gone by tend to be younger than I am. I haven't adjusted my head enough to check people my own age out myself. Which, I suppose, makes me part of the problem! (And also, as suggested above, might mean I'm missing the sly checker-outers.)
posted by looli at 9:19 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tend to agree it has to do with the kind of folks who openly check out or flirt with strangers in public, and the kind of women they think are ok to do that with. I can't remember where but in a similar thread about this I said I get hit on less volume-wise in public than I did in my early and mid-twenties but it was shallower, and yes, creepier. Now, it's less, but when it happens it's smoother, more content-based (I'll actually have a conversation about something contextual with the person because they've noticed some aspect of the environment besides, you know, my ass or Asianess or whatever) flirtiness that I vastly prefer. So I'd say, if it helps, consider it a depth vs. breadth or quantity vs. quality issue, and also that yeah, as a more confident older women you are less seen as obvious prey that can just be hit on in bald or offensive ways than younger women are.
posted by ifjuly at 11:41 AM on April 5, 2012


You may still be courted by men of seventy or older! This has happened to me (in work contexts, rather abnormal, as I was working as archivist or editor for these guys and did not see them often, so meetings were a bigger deal).

It didn't seem worth getting annoyed over the possible inappropriateness as neither were in any way gross or physical.

But younger men who have grown up with anti-harassment codes probably feel an unconscious taboo towards flirting with women of obviously working age, even when they aren't their coworkers.
posted by bad grammar at 6:36 PM on April 5, 2012


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