I chose ‘beside ourselves’ for the address of this blog because I felt it summed up how we can be at various stages in our lives. I stole it from the title of Karen Joy Fowler’s novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. According to Wikipedia, the expression orginated in the 15th Century in a translation of the Aeneid by William Caxton, in which Dido, on learning of Aeneas’ departure is described as hors de soi, ‘outside herself’,’outside’ being a synonym for ‘beside’. Said of women, it is often pejorative, suggesting hysteria and madness, but can describe any strong emotion. I like the idea of being outside our usual rational, polite, well-behaved selves to rant, laugh and cry when we are not being heard. Sometimes you can feel invisible. I read Vogue, Marie Claire and Red magazines, but there isn’t much aimed at older women. ‘All ages’ beauty features usually stop at sixty – so that’s when we should give up? Having loved make-up and clothes since I was a child in the fifties, I don’t intend to change now. I gain inspiration from columnists like Sali Hughes, Lucy Mangan, Hadley Freeman and Mariella Frostrup, from my unselfconsciously beautiful friends and my lovely grown-up daughters.
Boots No7 Gel-Look Shine my summer favourites
Now for the frivolous bit. I am lucky enough to be retired, with some money to spend on myself and time to paint my nails. Bourjois do an amazing little pot into which you dip nails one at a time to take off polish. Magic Nail Polish Remover (Thanks, Sali Hughes for the tip)
So, this is a forum in which I hope to share stories and experiences about coping with this ‘crone’ stage of womanhood, of its limits and liberation. All topics, serious and frivolous, are welcome. And you don’t need to be the right side of sixty or female to contribute.