There are a lot of things people never tell you about hitting age 40 and beyond.
Sure, I knew about the wrinkles and gray hair coming my way. I knew my eyesight would begin to worsen and I’d be shopping for Mrs. Roper-style-hanging-around-my-neck drugstore glasses at some point. And my doctor kept warning me about the “belly roll” that would collect and be hard to get rid of in my 40s. (Can’t they come up with another term for it? Like Lower Abdomen Memory Foam?)
But here’s what they don’t tell you. They don’t tell you that the pimples of your high school years will start coming back and your chin is gonna start to look like your freshman yearbook picture. For no apparent reason. They don’t tell you that your joints will start making sounds reminiscent of old, haunted-house hardwood floors. And it’s scary. Really scary.
They don’t tell you that those ads you used to laugh at that targeted women with a “sudden urge to urinate” might one day not be so funny, especially when you happen to be wearing an awesome, complicated outfit that, well, takes a while to remove.
And yes, they may have told me that my skin would one day fight back from the years of baby-oil tanning, but they sure as hell did not tell me that the fight would include having strange-looking skin tags frozen off my body in a dermatologist office once a year. Seriously, no one EVER mentioned the freezing machine. That thing burns like a mother.
But mostly, they didn’t tell me about bat wings.
Listen, I’ve never been especially proud of my arms, but they weren’t hideous before. A few scars and red scales, but fairly firm, I would say. After all, I can hold my own tossing cattle feed bags and I’m a master snow-shoveler. We’re talking heavy, wet spring mountain snow, too. Not any of this dry powdery two-inch stuff down here in the foothills. (Mountain snob alert.)
Regardless, something has changed. I now have a layer of bonafide flab hanging down on each arm, flapping in the wind like sheets on a clothes line. And as sexy as that sounds, it’s upsetting.
The first time I noticed them I was putting my hair in a ponytail in front of a mirror and actually looked behind me to see if someone else was possibly standing there with their own bat wings. No such luck.
Of course, my first course of action was to look online to see if I was the only one that this was happening to so early in life. I mean, I thought bat wings were for women in their 60s. Turns out, they indeed start in your 40s, as “middle-aged skin is like cotton with less snap,” causing sagging.
First of all, WebMD, don’t call me middle-aged. And secondly, I want Spandex arms back.
Experts say you can do boot-camp-style tricep exercises to help, but not completely solve the problem. Which does not in any way sound encouraging or appealing. Plus, as Sweet Brown says, ain’t nobody got time for that.
You can also have upper-arm liposuction. But if I’m not going under the knife for the aforementioned lower abdomen memory foam, I’m not risking my life for my breeze-making upper arms.
I tell my son that I love my muffin top (which he so generously pointed out to me after seeing a weight-loss commercial one day. It’s a good thing he’s cute.). I tell him that it’s a souvenir from lots of good food and good times. But these bat wings? I don’t know that they represent anything but old age and the lack of funds and courage to hire Jillian Michaels to yell at me.
By the way (ATTENTION: stop reading here if you are easily offended!) when I googled “bat wings” during my research, I came upon a horrible discovery. Apparently, according to Urban Dictionary, there are other slang definitions for bat wings that have nothing to do with arms. They include but are not limited to:
- A woman’s large vaginal skin
- The spreading and sticking of a man’s testicles to his inner thigh. This usually happens at random in summer and is caused by perspiration and must be physically unstuck.
- When a female neglects grooming in the pubic region and wears a bikini.
- One that I just cannot bring myself to type right now.
Nothing like a little Urban Dictionary to make you 1) gag and 2) feel even older than 40. You’re welcome.
And …. now … I don’t feel so bad about my arms for some reason. Maybe I’ll just buy me some Mrs. Roper tunics. You know you want some, too.
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What if I have bad eyes, many gray hairs and bat wings and I’m not yet 30? Ha.
Then you are ahead of your time and quite possibly have more knowledge than your peers! 30 is the new 18!
The men in the tire store where I am waiting are giving me strange looks as I spew coffee, laughing at the various types of bat wings.
They want to see what’s so funny. No. way.
You always make me laugh and this article made me laugh out loud! Thanks for the laughs.
By the way, when you reach your fifties you no longer care about the bat wings and the belly roll. You just want to be comfortable, that’s when the stretch pants phase begins. You are happy to have the Mrs. Roper eyeglass holder because you need your glasses more than ever. The fifties are coming my friend so enjoy those forties while you still can.
Kelli and Carol – you gals make ME laugh. Thanks for reading. And for the record, I would’ve told the guys in the tire store. People need to know these things. And also, Carol, I already have to have my glasses near me at all times if I want to actually see anything two yards away. Getting old is HELL.
You are a GREAT Writer! Hilarious too!
And why do those gray hairs have to be so wire-like?! And I’m constantly reminded when I look in the mirror of Nora Ephron’s “I Feel Bad About My Neck.”
Oh.My.Gawd … the neck! Mine is horrid. I practice different facial/chin angles to make that turkey thing go away. Does not work.