Friday, 2 July 2021

Handbags at tea-time

 Husband and I are walking the dog when he tells me.

'You won't believe the ad that popped up next to my emails today.  A targeted ad.  It was outrageous.'

'Really?  What was it for?'

He's tall, my husband but right now he stands - if possible - even taller.  I wonder why he's adopting that posture; elongating his neck, lifting his chin.  

'It was... an ad for a neck and facial exercise regime.  To help you get rid of jowls.'  He sounds affronted.  'Jowls?  I don't have jowls!'

He's right, he doesn't, which makes it ok not to stifle a laugh.  'You're not serious?'

'Yes!  Look, I'll show it to you...'

I cut him off.  'God no, please don't.  I believe you, of course you got the ad.  I meant, are you seriously surprised by the fact that you got it?  We are in our fifties, after all.'

He's incredulous.  'Yes, but that doesn't mean they have to send me that shit.'

Now it's my turn to be affronted.  'OK.  This is yet another difference between men & women.  I get that crap in my feed every day.  EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I could show you a long list of ads that are offensive about the concept of what I, as a 50-something women, am expected to look like, care about, deal with - so many in fact, that I've stopped registering them,'

He seems surprised.  'Like what?.

'Oh god.  The list is endless.'  I think for a moment.  'So just before we came out, a repeat offender popped up.  Promoting an app for a keto diet.' I describe the infographic that shows a woman in different decades; teens, twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties.  (Apparently there's no need to show the woman in her seventies because obviously she'll be in a home with a zimmer frame by then and not offending the world with her continued aging process. Or dead.).

'It's all fine until they picture what a woman in her fifties is supposed to look like.  Portly, flat-footed, slightly hunched, stocky-legged, wearing her hair in a ruddy bun, and-' by now my voice is so high with indignation that it's possible only the dog can hear me - ' with a fucking handbag looped over her arm like the queen.  Or a nana, about to hand you £5 as special treat on your 21st birthday.  At fifty.  I'm fifty four.  Do I look that?'

Both husband and the dog wisely stay silent.




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