I was walking through Whole Foods the other day noting how much the aisles look like a movie set where the products all have unrecognizable brands so as to avoid a lawsuit or give anyone any free publicity. And, I came across a rather creepy looking photo on a cereal box.
The cereal is called Good Friends. The photo is of a hispanic man and white woman in their sixties, smiling very uncomfortably while holding a giant bowl of high-fiber cereal that appears as large as their heads. Whether they are uncomfortable from consuming 50% of their daily fiber, from marketing a product targeted to seniors, or due to some unspoken interracial tension, I will never know. But it got me thinking about what else is wrong with this picture.
How often do you see a handsome older man with a woman of his age group? Never in Los Angeles, I tell you. On the rare occasion you do, the man is not smiling. He is not canoodling. He is not playing footsie. He is sitting across from his septuagenarian counterpart eating in silence and gawking at whatever hot, young woman crosses his line of vision. Not unlike one of the opening scenes in Crazy Stupid Love when Steve Carrell and Julianne Moore, as Cal and Emily, are having dinner.
Older married couples are often completely disinterested in one another, and yet, they are together. Sure there is some residual love component, but after years together, they have nothing in common. The children are grown and out of the house and are no longer the topic of conversation. The passion is gone. The mutual interests have waned. Those little quirks one used to find adorable in the other are now irritating. In the best circumstances, the man and woman are good friends. In the worst, they are detached, disinterested and might as well be alone. Is it complacency, money concerns, or a fear of dying alone that keeps these unhappy couples together?
For older women, financial dependency is often a factor. The longer a woman is out of the work force, the more difficult it is for here to jump back in. And, if she spent 30 plus years raising a family and being a wife, what exactly are her qualifications? Does she know how to Tweet? Is she well-versed at web design and familiar with HTML coding? Does she even know how to use her phone for anything other than texting and calling? Odds are, her skills are horrendously out of date and need a facelift—her face might need one as well. She cannot compete in the work (or play) force; she is obsolete.
Growing old sucks for women. I recently overheard two 60+ women talking about going on match.com now that they were recently single. Their husbands had left them for younger women. Alone together, they strategized: maybe a little nip/tuck, a revamping of their wardrobes, and hiring a professional photographer. That ought to do it! Good luck! If an intelligent, sexy woman in her late thirties with a rocking body can't find a man, these women don't stand a chance. Perhaps that's why the awkward look of the woman on the cereal box. The best shot she has with her Ricardo Montalban faux husband is to be "good friends".