Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A woman of a certain age: She had clothes she had owned since Carrie went to the prom but did she need bikini boot camp, a face lift, a Brazilian wax?

I remember college like it was yesterday...

and our first apartment, a fourth floor walkup in a neighborhood so crummy local gang members were afraid to hang out on the corner. I remember my first job at Click magazine and the day Ralph retired from the NYPD. I remember when and why George Profett, the city’s most neurotic billionaire, hired Ralph to be Profett Media’s Vice President in charge of Security.

I remember all those things—and more—but the more important question is, why don’t I remember how I got to be almost sixty?

What happened to all those years between college and now? How did they go by so fast? What was I doing? Why didn’t I notice?

When, exactly, did I become invisible?

When did empty taxis start passing me by and when did the feral perfume ladies in Bloomingdale’s no longer bother to assault me with a spritz?

When, exactly, did people stop listening to me—even when I knew more about the subject at hand than anyone else in the room?

When did my shoe size go from 7 to 8 and my bra size from 34 to 36 even though I hadn’t gained any weight (well, not much, anyway)?

When did I stop reading Vogue and start sleeping in flannel pajamas all year because our apartment was cold in the winter and Ralph blasted the air conditioner in the summer?

Was I one of those women who had let herself go?

Was I about to get dumped for someone newer and younger?

Did I need bikini boot camp, a face lift, a Brazilian wax?

Would a new hair color, a different shade of lipstick or a pair of crotchless panties get Ralph to pay attention to me?

As it turned out, what it took was none of those things. Instead what made the difference was a murder in Shanghai, a dire threat from George delivered in a cheapo Vietnamese restaurant, a gung-ho war correspondent with a humongous pair of 36 Double D’s, a washed-up Martha Stewart wannabe trying to make a come back and a showdown with a one-eyed, one-lagged Afghan warlord who didn’t speak a word of English.

It all began the day I bought a fake Chanel bag from a sidewalk vendor on East Fifty-third Street. I was thrilled with my purchase and knew Ralph, a label snob, would be impressed. Anxious to show off my new bag, I headed for the office, moving faster than I had in years.

So fast, I didn’t notice I was being followed.

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