Over Cocktails, Courtney Love Tells Me About Aging

by Jessie Lynn McMains

You don’t owe it to anyone
to age gracefully. You’ve
never been good at grace,
anyway. You sucked at
ballet. What you are
good at is being a hot
mess. Like me. And if
I’ve learned anything, it’s
that you’ve gotta know
your strengths. Besides,
graceful is boring. Who
wants to go gentle into
some respectable middle
age, where you sit around
shaking your head at the
kids these days, clutching your
pearls and sighing quietly?

Oh, you can wear pearls,
girl. I’m not saying you
can’t be glamorous. You
can be glamorous and
still be a mess. You can
be an aging debutante in a
ripped dress, but there
will be no quiet sighing
for you. Rage, rage against
the dying of your youth.
Scream if you feel like it.
Cry as much as you want
to. Wear thick black eye
makeup and let your
tears make it bleed. Do
it in public. Make them
watch you fall apart.
Channel Frances Farmer.
Have your revenge on
other people’s expectations.
Being a crazy old broad is
an art.

So do it exceptionally
well. To hell with what
society says. Buy that
slip dress, even if they
say: Can you believe she’s
wearing that, at her age?
Buy those fishnet stockings,
even though you know
they’ll wind up ripped
in a day or two. Mellowing
with age is fine for booze,
but you’re a woman. When
choosing rum or whiskey,
sure, look for words like
smooth, easy on the palate,
cask-aged. When deciding
what flavor of old lady
you’ll be, think tart,
explosive, spicy. Don’t
be something just anyone
can swallow. Be an
acquired taste.

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