As the 24th James Bond movie, Spectre, hits the screens, our columnist Miriam voices her outrage over the hype surrounding the fact the Bond girl, Monica Belucci, is 51 years old and urges people to embrace their fifties
This week, as the much-anticipated Bond movie Spectre hit the cinemas in a flurry of publicity, it appears more hype is being made regarding the age and looks of the franchise’s latest Bond girl, or rather Bond woman, than the actual plot of the movie itself. You see, readers, stunning Italian screen siren Monica Belucci, who at 51, is being dubbed as ‘the oldest Bond girl’ since Honor Blackman played Pussy Galore (best Bond girl name ever), in Goldfinger at the ripe old age of 38, way back in 1964, must be sick to her back teeth (if she still has them) from fielding questions relating to her mature years! I mean, shock, horror, the woman is practically menopausal; shouldn’t she be at home knitting herself a bubble perm or at the very least, trying to conceal her hot flushes instead of prancing around half naked and looking – as is her right – jaw droppingly gorgeous and, might I add, sexier and classier than most of her former, much younger, female counterparts; except for Honor Blackman of course.
Seriously readers, when it comes to us women, why is it that everyone, mainly other women, are so bloody obsessed with age and body shape? Why is everyone so surprised that a 50-year-old woman can look fabulous and, might I add, why do some people, again mostly other women, tend to treat us as if we are great old dears altogether, what with managing to survive beyond our useful and reproductive years! Why isn’t anyone bothering to make a big deal of the fact that Daniel Craig is 47, meaning at only four years younger than Belucci, he’s playing the world’s favourite, sexy, super spy? Why indeed. It’s because Craig is a man and apparently it’s OK for a man to grow older and still be regarded as vital and handsome.
I know I’ll probably be labelled a grumpy old woman – and for the record I was a grumpy young woman too, so age hasn’t altered me – but for those readers who are on the cusp of turning 50, my advice to you is to cop on and celebrate; embrace the flirty fifties, your glory days are not behind you, nay, they’re ahead of you because they can start at any age. The worst thing any luscious lady can do is listen to the begrudgers who want us to use 50 as an excuse to ditch our fashionable, glamorous wardrobes, lower our heels and start engaging in ‘age appropriate’ hobbies like bingo, preserving fruit and jam-making – not that there’s anything wrong with either of those activities; they’re just not for me.
The reason I’m so prickly this morning is that last Saturday night I went to a friend’s party up in the Big Smoke, and, as I queued for the buffet and enquired if there was any ‘vegan friendly’ food available, a rather robust lady of my acquaintance standing behind me scoffed: “Vegan…ah righ’ no wonder ders not a pick on ye, Jaysus you’d want ta put a bish of meash on those bones. Wimmen our age can’t afford to get too skinny; makes ya look old.”
Now I only mention this lady’s robustness because she made a big, and very public deal out of the fact I am slightly built, to everyone waiting in the buffet queue. She also made much of the fact I do not eat junk food and pointed out I was wearing a tight bodycon dress, six-inch heels, had a pixie haircut that, in her rather loud mouthed manner, she declared was “brave love, given yer a granny an all dat,” asking if I wasn’t “terrified yer wrinkles are on public display, ha, ha, ha, ha.” Well, bless her obvious concern for my welfare.
Now, girls, I am not saying for one minute that I looked like I’d been sculpted from a mould of casual perfection; in fact the opposite is true. Like a lot of people, I have to work very hard to try and keep myself fit and healthy, and it did take me quite a while to get my fake tan just that right shade of bronze and pencil in the aul eyebrows into a flattering peak, but when I compared myself to this other lady…the motor mouth, whom, by the way is actually six years younger than me, and had to listen to her cigarette induced cackle, observe the pints of cider queued up on her table, took in her large plate of greasy sausages, chicken wings and a rather hefty chunk of cake, I refused to judge her because I feel she has an absolute right to eat and look how she wishes, she has a right to do what makes her happy. In short it is none of my business, so why did she feel the need to make my looks, age and body shape hers?
You see, I don’t do the body-shaming thing; even if it’s clear that she does. Instead, as I made my way to the dance floor, I drew my bony body up to its full height (five feet nothing), sucked in my stomach, pushed out my boobs, threw my shoulders back, (just to annoy her) and, pulling on my cloak of sarcasm, snaked my way past the helmet haired motor-mouth as she sat perched on a massive faux leopard print throne of a sofa, holding court with her coven and hoovering up her food, whilst ignorantly pointing out the so-called ‘mutton dressed as lamb,’ ladies enjoying their time on the dance floor, saying they should be “conscious they aren’t teenagers anymore and start acting their age,” and told her that the only difference between me, those other dancing queens and her was that when it came to getting a bit of action later on, for her, sadly, it wouldn’t be a case of having shame-filled sex with our proud hubbies; no, sadly for her, getting any action would only come when her glass of prune juice started to kick in, but hey, on a more positive note, it might cleanse her of her aggressive and rude ‘body-shaming’ attitude.
Reflecting on my own personal experience of being judged and the fact that at last, the world of cinema is finally embracing and recognising the more mature woman, I realised I am proud of myself and my accomplishments; I am also proud of all those women who strive to be fun and fearless at 50, despite being criticised for it. Why? You see, for those ‘body-shamers,’ out there, I want to say that, as we ladies of a certain age have been marinated in life for so long, we have now become the game-changers, committed to living our lives fully and fabulously. Reaching our 50th year should mean following our hearts and our truths; it should mean embracing our wisdom and using it to show respect for each other, and if we want to wear that tight, body-clinging dress or low slung hipster jeans, then we should wear them with panache and to hell with what anyone else thinks.
Being 50 should mean despite the fact we’ve had a few false starts and frightening failures in our lives, we’re still here and we’re still vital and full of fabulousness. Get over it!