Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wish me luck.

So I'm speaking at the Worthshop 4 conference this week in Hawaii.

The annual event is hosted by Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers and promises to attract "The brightest minds in business, real estate, design, architecture, communications, technology and more."

I'm officially concerned.

The problem is I'm not sure my material is suitable for even the dullest minds in business. "A little thin," as a journalism professor once critiqued my writing.

A better person would recuse herself from the event. "Sorry, I'm just not smart enough."

But I've never been accused of being a better person. So, onward!

Anyway, the speech is called The Battle for the World's Most Valuable Customer. And yes, I'm referring to people over 50.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

You're only as old as people think you are.

My husband & I were in Nashville for our nephew’s wedding. The festivities were taking place outside. On a farm. 

Purchasing large quantities of bourbon seemed like an appropriate pre-game strategy.

That’s when I met Nick. He had me at “Can I see your I.D., ma’am?”

I couldn’t get my driver’s license out of my wallet fast enough. “You’re my favorite person in the whole wide world!” I gushed. I made my husband take this picture. Because it was my best day ever.

Then I started thinking about Hillary Clinton. She’s 67, and some people think she’s too old to be president. Especially her political opponents.

Rand Paul is concerned about whether she’s up for the “rigorous physical ordeal” of a presidential campaign. And Rick Santorum, Mitch McConnell and Bobby Jindal are on the record with bitchy little jabs at her advancing age.

This is, of course, Human Nature Politics 101: Identify a potential weakness in your opponent and exploit it. Democrats used the same ageist tactic on Reagan, Dole and McCain. Heck, Mrs. Clinton's husband used a similar attack on George H.W. Bush in 1996. No surprises here.

But it’s a comment from Rush Limbaugh that worries me. Not because it’s sexist and rude. But because it’s true.

During a radio show last year Limbaugh wondered aloud if the American people really "want to vote for somebody, a woman, and actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?"

Eew, gross! If I want to see that shit, I’ll buy a mirror. (Can I get a rimshot?)

Look, maybe Limbaugh’s a dick, maybe he's not. But he makes an excellent point. Nobody wants to watch women get old. Not in movies or magazines or sitcoms or commercials. Why would we want to see it in the White House?

The good news for Hillary however is that most Americans underestimate her age. In a recent Pew study, 83% of adults surveyed put her in the 65 & under category. Thirty one percent put her between 50 & 59 and 6% thought she was younger than 50.

Millennials are particularly bewildered. In answer to the question, “Just your best guess, how old is Hillary Clinton?” more than half thought she was in her 50s and 16% guessed younger than 50. If I were Hillary, I’d buy each one of those confused kids a pony.

Anyway, maybe this explains why my buddy Nick asked to see my I.D. Maybe Nick, like the rest of his generation, is just really really bad at guessing a woman’s age.

When my husband & I arrived at the reception with two bottles of bourbon, one awesome story and photographic proof in hand, I learned the truth. A fellow guest informed me that liquor stores in Tennessee are required to ask anyone and everyone to show their I.D. “Required,” she repeated. Slowly. For emphasis.

So, apparently I’m not as preternaturally youthful as my ego first assumed. Nick was just following orders. 

But c’mon! If Hillary Clinton can pass for 50, why can’t I get carded every once in a while?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sellin' Helen.

I’m not always angry. Some days I wake up positively brimming with good cheer. Today is not one of those days.

But here’s something that doesn’t suck:

L’Oréal Paris just named Helen Mirren as a brand ambassador in the UK. In addition to being gorgeous and talented, Dame Helen is 69. (That’s about 175 in model years, BTW.) And yet, here she is looking all gorgeous and talented as the “new face” of L’Oréal.

Photo courtesy of L’Oréal Paris

This is a tiny bit of vindication for those of us who thumb through fashion magazines muttering about “skinny bitches” and “photo-shopped cleavage.” Okay, maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, Ms. Mirren isn’t the first dame (small “d”) L’Oréal has tapped to represent their brand. Julianne Moore (53), Andie MacDowell (56), Diane Keaton (68) and Jane Fonda (76) are also in the clique.

You know, maybe there’s something in the liquid eyeliner. 

NARS Cosmetics recently hired Tilda Swinton for their Spring 2015 efforts. The 53 year-old actress takes over for Charlotte Rampling (68). And Jessica Lange (64) was recently tapped by Marc Jacobs to plug the company’s luxury cosmetics line. We’re a long way from Lancôme famously dumping a too-old Isabella Rossellini just a few days after her 40th birthday.

And guess what? These mature models haven’t sucked the cool out of the NARS and Marc Jacobs brands. And L’Oréal remains the largest cosmetic company in the world.

This trend—if I may be so boldly optimistic in my word choice—is a great sign. Perhaps cosmetics companies finally understand something other marketers just can’t seem to grasp: How to bravely, intelligently and unapologetically talk to the people who actually buy your stuff.