Fabulous and 40: 'Take a good look. I’m a 47-year-old gal and loving it'

If online posts are to be believed, I’ve reached the age of ‘invisibility’ to men. I’m not buying it. Not only do I still get catcalled, but I’m confident enough to like it, says Aileen O’Reilly.

Fabulous and 40: 'Take a good look. I’m a 47-year-old gal and loving it'

If online posts are to be believed, I’ve reached the age of ‘invisibility’ to men. I’m not buying it. Not only do I still get catcalled, but I’m confident enough to like it, says Aileen O’Reilly.

I’m past it. At the age of 47. That is according to posts I’ve seen popping up with increasing regularity on social media. I’ve apparently reached the stage of life I’ve increasingly heard being referred to — not by men, but by women — as the ‘invisible’ age. I’m sorry? The what??

The age when, according to one recent online post, “you walk past a building site and, despite the fact that the scaffolding is groaning with semi-naked men nonchalantly showing off their bum cleavage, there’s an eerie silence…”

Hang on, lady, I’ve walked past several building sites since you posted this self-indulgent eulogy to your youth (there’s one large one next door to me) and am chuffed to say I still elicit the requisite wolf whistles and catcalls.

I refuse to apologise for liking this, just as I refuse to apologise to the boys for my smiling reply of ‘try putting a belt on your trousers sweetie, that’s the kind of cleavage no-one wants to see.’

The blush of my 20s has been replaced by the confidence and caustic wit of my 40s: Men don’t intimidate me; they thrill and intrigue me. I wouldn’t go back to my 20s if you paid me. I’m in better shape now than I was back then. I look after, and appreciate, my body and finally have a wardrobe full of the kind of clothes I used to dream of being able to wear.

I’ve only arrived at the party after finally finding my self-confidence and intend to have a damn good time arguing the toss on any subject, whilst simultaneously swinging from the chandeliers before anyone tells me I’m invisible and throws me in an eco wicker box in the ground.

I’m in shock that any woman could feel invisible, purely because visibility is a state of mind. So, the 20-something or 30-something men of Love Island aren’t checking you out — get over it, girl, and stop getting hung up on age.

There are plenty of buff men in their 50s out there (take my word on this), who will have an actual conversation with you without the distracting sound of wind whistling through their ears.

It appears that Michelle Pfeiffer,J-Lo, Jennifer Aniston, Elizabeth Hurley, and Jennifer Connolly are just a few of the girls who have also missed that particular ‘invisibility’ memo and are far too busy looking drop-dead gorgeous to have realised they’ve roared past their sell-by date.

“Aaaahh,” I hear you moan, “but they’re all gorgeous-looking with perfect bodies — of course, men still lust after them.”

Well, maybe you need to think about that, pet, when you’re self-righteously downing your vino and pizza on the couch, after using dry shampoo on your hair for a week, while Michelle and her sculpted co-workers are sweating it out in the gym, so they can look amazing in their next movie.

Don’t use your lack of movie star good looks as an excuse to start merging with your sofa.

Iris Apfel, the outspoken, strikingly colourful doyenne of the New York fashion scene, is 98, and has been my go-to girl for the past number of years now, whenever I need a psychological kick in the tush.

With her multi-bangled arms, steel grey hair, and oversized, colourful glasses, she epitomises not just visibility, but vivacity, joie de vivre, and pure, unadulterated spunk. Speaking about ageing, as about everything else, she is acerbic, but practical.

“Just because you get to a certain number, it doesn’t mean you have to roll up into a ball and wait for the grim reaper. We were put on this Earth to do something. If you stop using your brain, at any age, it is going to stop working. If you stop using your hand, it will atrophy. I think doing nothing is a curse,” she says.

What I find curious is that if you mention the names Brad Pitt (55), George Clooney (58), Robert Downey Jr (54), or Viggo Mortensen (59), in female (or male) company, there will be a collective sigh and more than a few less-than-printable responses detailing how these men would be treated behind closed doors (yes, from some of the men, as well…).

I refuse to believe the age-old whinge that men can have it both ways (when they’re done with women their own age, they turn their attention to the women’s daughters) and the quip that you can’t stick the lid on their coffins for a week after they’re dead...

This is the era of the female ‘cougar,’ for God’s sake. I lease your inner Mrs Robinson! Post-menopausal women are hot property — we’ve been there, done that (several times over and in as many positions), bought and washed the t-shirts and the only thing we’re rearing now is the ability to go.

Perhaps we need to employ a little more of the male attitude when we hit our forties and fifties — namely, that we’re just hitting our prime.

I’m currently being chased with a vengeance by a man who seems to think I’m a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Venus (De Milo, because I am missing a fair few toes) and it feels FAB-U-LOUS!!

Yes, I’m in shock at this news that I’m now invisible, so much so I almost spilled my Milky Way martini all over my embroidered leather skirt. Luckily, my very attentive date was right on hand to catch it…

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