I hardly knew what to do with myself last night now that the Starz television show Spartacus is over for the season. Gorgeous blogger/designer/neighbor Stacy Lomman came over every Friday so we could drink pink Champagne while watching Romans and their slaves being killed in ingenious ways. (That guy who got his face cut off? Awesome! And here’s a piece of advice for the ladies from Spartacus creator Steven DeKnight‘s Twitter: “Unfortunately amateur c-sections by vindictively insane frenemies seldom go well.”) Stacy and I are still talking about last week’s finale, in which six major players were offed, including three strong female characters and my favorite gladiator, Oenomaus, aka Doctore.
The next season doesn’t air until 2013! How can I wait? At least I will have Peter Mensah, who played Doctore, migrating to HBO’s True Blood this summer, where he will play a vampire. Goodbye, Eric Northman! You are no longer my favorite vampire. This guy is.
And, doubling my pleasure, the spectacular eyebrows of my beloved Sam Waterston will be employed on the new Aaron Sorkin show The Newsroom, which will air right after True Blood starting June 24. The Newsroom is about a cable news network, and I used to work for CNN so …. Sam, call me to discuss your motivation!
But until all that starts, my mind is still on Spartacus. After the finale, Stacy and I couldn’t get enough so we were looking up all the actors on IMDB and Wikipedia. It turns out that Peter Mensah is a 52-year-old running around shirtless. (He would have been in his mid-30s when he played his first IMDB-listed role in a Nancy Drew television series.) This made me happy because I’ve always been a late bloomer. I know that life doesn’t end at 30 because I didn’t even start having real fun until after that, but that doesn’t stop me from being irked by all the ageist crap I read/hear. Madonna — who is just over a year older than Mensah — is always a target for critics of women who do what they feel like doing. People complain about what she’s done to her face, and that she wears skimpy stage outfits and does cartwheels during halftime at the Superbowl. Back in her 30s, Madonna predicted that everyone’s panties would be in a twist about such behavior.
I’ve seen Madonna on every tour she’s done since 1985, when I skipped my high-school prom to see her at Radio City Music Hall. (When I missed her New York shows in 2001 because MrB and I were on our honeymoon, I caught up with her in Washington, D.C., when we got back.) All I care about is that she puts on a great show — which I’ll see this year at Yankee Stadium AND Madison Square Garden. I don’t expect her to do that in a twinset and pearls, or the kind of pantsuit I used to wear at my investment-bank job. What I wrote about Lady Gaga in 2009 applies to Madonna now:
“… I noticed a lot of people asking, “Why can’t Lady Gaga just dress normally?” Is that a serious question? I’ll answer it, just in case: Because then she wouldn’t be Lady Gaga. She’d be a schmuck like us, sitting at home dribbling Cheeto dust (or, in my case, Cadbury crumbs) onto our keyboards while posting poorly spelled fashion critiques about more adventurous people who have launched themselves into superstardom.”
As for Madonna’s face? Admittedly, it’s not a look I aspire to. I’ll just have to quote what Eminem (who turns 40 this year) once said about being a white rapper: “Unless you want to fuck me, why do you care what I look like?” I don’t want to fuck Madonna, and I’m sure she doesn’t want to fuck me, so we’re both free to do whatever we want to our appearances without complaining about each other.
Not that I blame any woman for getting crazy about her looks, considering the external pressure. All the money and success in the world can’t entirely block that out. Actually, the spotlight makes it worse. This gossip blogger took a swipe at Madonna’s attempts to hide her old-looking hands with fingerless gloves — in a post pointing out the difference in texture between Nicole Kidman’s Botoxed forehead and her hands. Of Kidman, the blogger said:
“Do I have a problem with wrinkly hands? Of course not. This is not the point. The point is that I’m surprised SHE doesn’t have a problem with wrinkly hands, considering she clearly has a problem with everything above the neck not looking like it was just ironed by a glacier.”
“Do I have a problem with wrinkly hands? Of course not,” is like texting someone, “You look terrible today … J/K.” The denial doesn’t negate the hostility inherent in pointing out the supposed “problem” in the first place. It’s not just about the face-hand discrepancy. Only a few fortunate (and often very subtly tweaked) souls win the “aging gracefully” lottery, so chances are if Kidman stopped freezing her face, she’d get slammed for that too — I recently saw 50 comments fiercely condemning Jennifer Aniston’s forehead wrinkles. Damned if you have them, damned if you don’t. Personally, I wouldn’t mind working out a Dorian Gray-type of arrangement with my hands if I got to choose between them and my face. Hell, I’ve already been notified that my thumb is “old-looking and unattractive” — I might as well roll with it. (Though being told I was a “wrinkly slut” was way funnier.) The hand situation was a shock at first. I admit it. The skin thins with age and all the veins bulge out. After a lifetime of not noticing my hands, one day, after I turned 40, I looked down and thought, “Grandma, why the hell are you typing on my computer keyboard for me?” Something for you younger peeps to look forward to — and just wait till you see what happens with your elbows! Luckily they’re in back of us and we don’t have to look at our own. Out of sight, out of mind. Anyway, as far as hands go, I’m in a creative field now so along with my investment-bank suits, I’ve given up clear nail polish and unobtrusive jewelry. I’m going to take advantage of the freedom to wear in-your-face nail art and giant rings at my current age of 44 and beyond. While I’m at it, I’m also going to paint my face silver and fight 14-year-olds for standing room at concerts as long as such things amuse me.
Conventional wisdom has it that no one, on his or her deathbed, wishes more time was spent at the office. I figure I won’t be at the end thinking, “I wish I didn’t have fun that day!” When something is not fun anymore, I’ll quit it with no regrets, but not before. For instance, clubs haven’t been fun to me since the early ’90s, when AIDS finished decimating an entire generation of the fabulous, fashionable gay men who made the New York scene so great. I’m not a 20-something trying to get laid, so there’s no need for me to drink standing up in loud venues while surrounded by horribly dressed straight people.
That said, now that dubstep is happening in the clubs, maybe I’ll check it out. I do like to keep up with music. Or perhaps I’ll take up jogging. This New York Times article on record-setting 60-year-old runner Kathy Martin was quite inspirational. I definitely would like to be as toned — and happy-looking — as bodybuilder Ernestine Shepherd is in her mid-70s.
My ultimate fantasy would be doing gymnastics at 86 like recent Internet sensation Johanna Quaas.
There’s more to life than being physically fit though. Maybe I’ll write a first novel at 57, like Charlotte Rogan, whose debut book, “The Lifeboat,” is getting a lot of buzz. Why not try new things whenever the mood strikes? You Only Live Once — or “YOLO” — as rapper Drake pointed out in last year’s song “The Motto.” Now Drake and Rick Ross have a YOLO mixtape.
If you feel like I feel — whatever your age — you need the sterling-silver YOLO ring set that I’ve added to my WENDYB by Wendy Brandes line.
The rings are the same size as my other word/acronym rings, like the LOL set you can see on model Tina J in this photo by Shane LaVancher.
If you’re one of the folks that likes to hashtag YOLO on Twitter, you can buy my hashtag ring separately for $115.
Don’t you love the way my statement rings make an actual statement? I’m going to try to do YOLO in brass too, so I can sell the whole set for under $100. As I’ve pointed out before, it takes a lot of money to manufacture something inexpensive, so I’ll probably have to do a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds. Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in that.
Meanwhile, I need to persuade Madonna to chuck her fingerless gloves and wear a set of 18K gold, blinged-out YOLO rings instead. I’ll definitely wear my silver YOLO set when I go to the Yankee Stadium concert in September. My date for that concert will be the forever young and adventurous MrB, who will have just turned 70. Now that he’s gotten his hip replaced, I’m confident that I’ll see him dancing up a storm. But can MrB carry a grown woman in his arms while declaiming Shakespeare the way 71-year-old Sam Waterston did when I saw him in King Lear last year? I’m going to wrap up this post and put him to the test right now.
UPDATED TO ADD: The Washington Post calls #YOLO “the newest acronym you’ll love to hate.” Yes!