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There are certain topics I don’t want to hear about from a mature man who invites me out to dinner: his cholesterol count, his divorce settlement, his intestinal problems. If he’s married, engaged, gay, or in a relationship, I require full disclosure. I expect him to order a full meal. A man who only orders pasta embarrasses me because he’s used the pretext of age to secure a good table only to act stingy. Or worse, he can’t afford more than a bowl of spaghetti, in which case he’s a man with a sappy story I’ve heard before.

I’m ready to make allowances for a man who sparks my interest, though a man who could ignite me would surely have some class, which is not to say that a man of class would necessarily ignite me.

Here are some things age wears well:

Long sleeves
Expensive materials

Here are some things that don’t look good on the old:


Tight jeans don’t flatter an older person. Long hair, very long hair that makes you look from behind like a student—anathema. Don’t turn your head. You’re not your daughter, no matter how often people say you look like sisters. They lie.

When people say you haven’t changed a bit in the past twenty years, they mean you haven’t aged as alarmingly as some other people.

When they say you’re elegant they mean your choice of dress is age appropriate.

When they ask, “How do you keep such a slim figure?” they mean, “How come you don’t look disgustingly matronly?”

Michael Jackson spent a fortune whitening his face, and yet it was the whitened face of a black man.

You can’t be white if you’re black, you can’t be tall if you’re short, and you can’t ever grow younger.

Madonna can expose her brilliantly surgically rejuvenated butt during the Super Bowl halftime show, but it’s still the butt of a fifty-five-year-old woman.

Flash Fiction by Israela Margalit

Published in Spring 2017


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