Lori's Reviews > My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches from Just the Other Side of Young

My Formerly Hot Life by Stephanie Dolgoff
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's review
Oct 11, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: memoir, women-s-studies
Read from October 02 to 11, 2010

I tend to be a little wary of the New York Chick Memoir. I am generally captivated by the premise of these books. And I generally enjoy reading them. But, sometimes they are only 2 or 3 star reads for me because of the strong sense of disconnect the Glam Manhattanites seem to have...from my own smaller scale life here in the Rust Belt. The Glam Mommy books tend to contain too many anecdotes about breasts leaking at galas. (I had the leaks. Not the galas.) The Glam Aging books talk too much about 'procedures' that I could never afford and therefore do not even contemplate on my bleakest "bad reflection day." So I laugh at these books. Even nod my head a few times here or there. But, eventually I must conclude that the author's life is not even close to my experience.

My Formerly Hot Life is a down-to-earth exception. Yes, Stephanie Dolgoff lives in the City. Yes, she had a high profile glamarama job in fashion publishing. (Glamour Magazine, no less.) Yes, she probably has a much more exciting life than I do, at times. But I truly got the feeling that she 'gets it'. Many of her observations are similar to thoughts and feelings I have had over the years as I have 'aged out' of the desirable 18-35 year old demographic and into a more nebulous 35-50 "formerly hot" kind of limbo. Not quite ready for the Golden Age pitches...but way to out-of-it to be of any use to the taste-makers.

From the creepy life insurance promos that run late night and remind those of us that: "if you were born between WWI and 1967"-- You May Qualify!!! (for a pimped out casket no doubt)-- To the sudden realization that you are now a "ma'am" in the eyes of more polite young men (and a non-entity to less polite young men) -- To the closet still stuffed with 'nostalgia clothing' that looked "really good on me in 1992! Hey, it'll come back!" Stephanie D. gets it! She really does.

And thank god. Our generation needs its own canon of middle age books. It feels like the Baby Boomer version of this crisis is just not going to fit us very well. I see us less concerned with 'finding ourselves', 'running with the wolves' or aligning our balance. And more concerned with staying sane as we cope with our changing bodies, stagnant to non existent retirement accounts, our aging parents and our, in some cases, very young mid-life children. I need a more irreverent, humor laced and 'real' look at this very demanding (yet gratifying) stage in my life.

It is easy to have so many pins in the air at one time that you just end up dropping the pile of them into one huge sloppy menopausal mess. With so many demands on time and resources being so limited these days it begins to feel self-indulgent to spend any time on yourself and your feelings about aging at all.

But I believe the mid-life thing (crisis or no) has to be confronted head on. And if you can sit down and have a good dissection of your life with 'aging' friends from time to time, it helps. If you can't (and Stephanie does go into the myriad ways that a "Formerly" gets blocked from having a viable social life) -- reading some titles like this will provide a nice shot in the arm and help you feel like there are a legion of other women out there who feel a lot like you.

So, "If you are female...and born between the years...1960 thru 1970...you may qualify! (For a funny and commiserating look at your Formerly Hot Life.)

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