The 43-year-old actress – who has son Leo, six, and daughter Luna, four, with her husband Javier Bardem – has said she is sick and tired of being asked questions about ageing in Hollywood, and admits she no longer answers questions on the topic, as she thinks its “crazy”.
She said: “Journalists have been asking me, since I was, like, 22, ‘Are you afraid of aging?’ That is such a crazy question for a 22-year-old girl or, for that matter, for a 42 year old. I combat that craziness by refusing to answer the question.
“When it comes to talking about ageing as an actress, I feel like, ‘What the f**k? I’m not going to give you even two minutes to honour your question. It doesn’t deserve that.'”
Read the full story here: Meet the 86-year-old widow who’s spent 10 years living on a cruise ship
Does sexual freedom belong only to the young? Claire Dederer doesn’t think so. About six years ago, Claire Dederer realized she had a problem. The problem had to do with sex. It had to do with desire. It had to do with being a middle-aged wife and mother and needing and wanting to be seen and known by new people in a new way, maybe even by people she didn’t particularly like or love or respect all that much. Her problem had something to do with sex but didn’t stop there. It assaulted her notions of what it meant to be a grown-up woman in the world and wanting to have romantic encounters with men who were not her husband. She loved her husband. Obviously, she loved her children, her family, the life they had built together. And at the same time, a part of her wanted to step outside the boundary of the polite, middle-class domestic life they’d drawn around themselves. Or, to put it more crudely, she wanted to fuck around.
Read the full story here: The Emancipation of the MILF
Read the full story here: Aldous Huxley on the Transcendent Power of Music and Why It Sings to Our Souls
I casually mentioned to people that I was going to Cap d’Agde this September. Most of my friends didn’t know where that was or what it was and I would just tell them it was “the south of France on the Mediterranean.” But those that did know were surprised that I was going to a nudist town where you could be naked 24/7, even in the supermarket.
You see, I’m a native New Yorker and an old-school feminist in my 50s. Though I write and publish erotica (currently working on the novella Two Dukes are Better than One), most of my friends and colleagues are completely unaware that I’m a nudist. And somehow they think it does not go hand in hand with being a feminist.
I would have thought that too – when I was much younger.
I came to nudism in mid-life in a round about way. As a literary agent, I found myself representing the memoirs and fiction of porn stars, all of whom spent large parts of their days naked in public. When the editor of the science fiction imprint at one of New York’s large publishing houses invited me to a naked dinner party in a Manhattan restaurant, I asked every female friend I had if they would accompany me, and not a single one said ‘yes’. So I asked the mother of one of my son’s classmates, who was also recently divorced, and we bonded over this bizarre opportunity to expose ourselves.
I was very nervous about going naked in public, even though it was in fact being seated in a restaurant. I told the host that it was possible that I would walk in, disrobe, and immediately run out. He told me I would feel completely conformable in a matter of minutes. I didn’t believe him. Then he asked me if I was an “at home” nudist, meaning someone who took her clothes off as soon as she got home, and the answer was ‘yes’. I often write naked. I live on the 18th floor overlooking the Hudson, so no one can see me.
It turned out that I really liked being naked within this group.
I realized that I was completely unused to seeing the naked human body over about age 25 (unless I was looking in the mirror or was with a lover). As a culture, we just don’t see naked men’s and women’s bodies as we age.
Most of the members of this naked dinner group were over 40, so I was on the younger side. They were also mostly male.
I liked that.
I liked that this was an opportunity to ogle the naked male body in a casual setting, while drinking wine and discussing books or politics. And I liked the fact that they were seeing me in all of my real-life, un-airbrushed, middle-aged voluptuousness.
I also liked being able to see the bodies of the other women, some as old as 70, so I knew what I had to look forward to. I was truly amazed at how beautiful we all were.
Being naked together – meant we knew nothing about each other before we spoke. It made us all surprisingly equal, and, as a feminist, that was empowering for me.
I found myself gravitating to the nudist communities in New York. I visited the Light House Beach on Long Island (no longer there after Hurricane Sandy) where there were cook-outs and all day-long parties. And the naturist beach at Sandy Hook in New Jersey, where it was actually legal to drink on the beach (I brought chilled white wine).
The nudist dinner group disbanded, but I was lucky enough to date a fellow nudist who took me on a nude cruise to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Honduras and the Cayman Islands. In addition to lounging on beautiful Caribbean beaches naked, we also had the opportunity to eat our meals naked. It was a carefree delight and I genuinely resented getting dressed when the trip was over.
So with all that background information, it should be no surprise that when the opportunity to stay in the naturist town presented itself, I jumped at the chance, because in addition to being a nudist, I am also a Francophile. So this was a trip to be naked on the beach and eat fabulous French food while drinking amazingly good and cheap French wine. What’s not to love?
We flew over from London on Ryanair, a discount air carrier that made the trip extremely affordable. I was going with the original mother of my son’s classmate (now a decade of nude meals and beaches later), and an author who I had befriended in the naked saunas of New York City’s Spa Castle, a giant Korean water retreat in Queens, where segregated same-sex nudity is practiced in relaxing heated pools. We rented a flat for four nights, and were in France by mid-afternoon.
Packing for this trip was a breeze. Only sun tan lotion and sarongs, and some clothing to wear at night while we shopped in the many stores that offered everything from Wonder Woman-like art armor to G-strings and thigh high boots.
It was mid-September, so it was an off-season, and there were no families with school-age children. This nudist town is actually a vacation retreat for European nudist families. I was thankful to avoid the possible run in with naked kids.
To our great good fortune, the weather was still warm, and the ocean was calm and warm enough to swim in. We ate delicious French meals in a restaurant overlooking the sea – croque monsieur, seafood salads, and steak frites. All naked.
And then we shopped in the locale grocery stores for pate, olives, meats and cheeses, stark raving naked. At first it seemed extraordinary. By the end of the week, it felt like I had been doing it my entire life.
Now there is a part of Cap d’Agde that is adults only. It’s a section of the beach where naked people express their ‘love’ for each other, and themselves, openly. You can just stroll by and see what’s going on. No one bats an eye.
Also some of the apartment complexes have adult-friendly nightlife and shopping offering sexy clothing and sex toys. There’s always an interesting parade of women (the men NEVER dress up) in equally interesting but awkward clothing that you can tell was recently purchased.
Everyone is completely free to express themselves in a way that is just nonexistent anywhere else.
I’ll be going back to Cap d’Agde. It’s a place where I fit in, in all my nakedness, because everyone just lets it hang loose.
Read the full story here: Will Self: ‘Really, the UK is best encountered on foot’ | UK home of amazing | The Guardian
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is devastating on so many levels. Unfortunately, even with the advances in modern medicine, cancer still affects a shocking number of people and claims several hundred thousand lives annually. Treatment options are universally
Read the full story here: 90-Year-Old Woman Opts To Travel The World Instead Of Getting Cancer Treatment
Seven years ago I acquired a pair of Caterpillar biker boots, not my usual form of footwear, being more your-trainers-(or in various muddy fields over the years, wellingtons)-kind-of-girl. These stylish and oh-so-comfortable, magic boots have been the caretakers of my dancing feet at every club, festival and rave I’ve attended since. I think I shall cry when they wear out.
I’m one of the world’s oldest ravers and I’m still raving. I consider it a radical act of defiance against the fear machine that promotes hard work until retirement, after which you’re expected to tip-toe quietly towards death. Dancing, especially the kind of trance-dance that sends you into an ecstatic state of Oneness, is an activity that keeps me looking, feeling and most importantly thinking young. I’m happy to reveal my age when asked. In fact, every time a spring chicken bounces over to me at a ridiculously late hour and shouts over the pounding sub; “How old ARE you?!” and I scream back, “Fifty three!”, I feel a frisson of pride.
The only difference between me and the youngsters that I find myself clubbing with – is that I’m wearing earplugs and they’re generally not. Okay, to be fair, there are a couple of other differences; in order to prepare for a night of jumping up and down in mad abandon, I make sure I’ve had a nap and eaten a solid meal. I don’t remember making sensible plans ahead of time when I was in my youth. One of the luxuries of raving in your early twenties is the permission to be in the Now, think Fuck It, pop another pill and not worry too much about recovery time. At that age most people are still relatively free of roles and responsibilities. After years of forging a career out in the ‘real’ world, becoming mortgage-laden, raising kids, it’s easy to fall into the trap of designing your days around TO DO lists rather than letting life spontaneously happen. This week I’m actually retiring from my career of the last fifteen years, and am determined to get back there – to the intoxicating freedom of dancing all night with no anxiety around potentially being tired the following day and thus not able to cope with the schedule.
Fuck the schedule.
My kids have both left home. I consider it a job well done. I’ve conscientiously worked for a living since I was in my teens. I’ve filed my tax returns and been through the menopause. The only major project I have going right now is cutting myself free from the ties that bind, abandoning those ‘roles’, and setting off to find a place to be in the world where I can dance to my heart’s content.
When it comes to dancing, it appears I’ve tapped into a source of boundless energy. If you see me out there, water bottle in hand, looking like all the ecstasy-fuelled revellers swirling around me with dilated pupils, it’s more than likely I’m going all night on a chai latte. And when they start to flag, I begin to surf my second or third wave of energy and dance till dawn.
I’m not a fan of alcohol for two reasons a) it brings out the worst in people and b) it renders one incapable of dancing all night. Being a responsible adult living in a country where any drug that makes people happy, in love, or free-thinking, is made illegal, I’m not about to condone the use of class A drugs, am I? Having said that, I completely understand the desire to get out of your head. In my humble opinion, most human beings I meet could well do with some form of radical, mind-altering experience, but these days I do just as well getting high on everybody else’s high. Mainly, it’s the music and the tribal experience that sends me into an altered state of cosmic expansion.
I started raving in 1983 when I joined about 50,000 other people at Glastonbury festival. I adore the thrill of the large party, everyone in love and loving it. The invention of Ecstasy did wonders for the raising of human consciousness. It is an intelligent substance. Ecstasy opened people’s hearts and brought them together. Furthermore, it got blokes dancing! This is a radical difference between my generation and my kids’ one. They seem to be born with rhythm. Like Africans, they speak the language of complex cadence. Rhythm courses through them, the guys as cool on the dance floor as the girls.
My sons got their love of music through me. I’m eclectic in my taste and my stereo was played at full volume through both pregnancies. The oldest went to Leeds University, the youngest followed four years later. Both left in their second year to become professional deejays and I was actively proud. These days deejaying is a true art form and my sons are highly skilled. I’ve danced to many of their sets in clubs and at festivals and nothing gives me more joy than seeing my boys doing what they love: working a crowd.
There are close to a thousand music festivals in England every summer. Not bad for a country that sees more rain than most. The one festival I make sure I attend every season without fail is called Give and it’s a classy knees-up for ravers of my age group. We get together once a year, leave our smartphones in the car, unplug for a weekend, and go mental. Sadly I’m going to miss it this year as I’m heading off to Denmark on a silent retreat. I had one chance to get to a festival before leaving, and last week I was lucky enough to be welcomed as a guest of honour at Virgo in Devon, a thank you for producing two of their acts. My oldest son Liam’s band, Desert Sound Colony was playing live and Reuben, his brother was booked for a disco set in the rose garden during the afternoon. Eight hundred kids in their twenties, and I (the only ‘mature’ person apart from the owners of the house) met in the grounds of a stately home and rocked the valley through the May bank holiday weekend. The sun shone, the music was perfect and much dancing was done by all. Some of the folk in the drum ‘n’ bass room might have been a tad surprised at 4am to find a decidedly middle-aged woman, throwing herself about like a maniac in front of the mammoth speakers, but hey, in for a penny, in for a pound…
On Sunday afternoon, while the sun was setting, and I chilled on the banks of the lake with a yogic, spiritually-aware guy who resembled Jesus, I looked around and realised that a bunch of young deejays and their mates, most of them not long out of university had got this extraordinary event together themselves. They hadn’t sat around talking about how great it would be to create a boutique festival of their very own – inspired by the music they’re passionate about – they’d actually made it happen! People who know how to throw a good party are my kind of people.
I have actually pictured my own death. It’s more like an ascension really. It happens on a dance floor, my last breath exhaled at the point of a particularly good drop in the middle of a brilliant set played back to back by the boys. And as I breathe out, throwing my best shapes ever, I vanish in a puff of stage smoke, never to be seen again.
Vanessa Newman is a pole-performing, fantasy-hair-creating marvel. Here she explains how free she feels at 50.
What is your name?
How old are you?
Where do you live?
What do you do?
I’m a seamstress and now a hairdresser, just finishing my two years training.
Tell us what it’s like to be your age?
I love being my age. I turned 50 in April and was so excited for this birthday, like never before. I have the freedom coming with my children being almost grown up, youngest being 17, and the freedom of spirit to do what I like pretty much.
What do you have now that you didn’t have at 25?
I have confidence, I know myself, what I like and don’t like. I’m not a people pleaser any more; I do what feels right for me and my children. I have my independence, even though I’m skint.
What about sex?
Sex is better than ever, mainly because I’m happy in my own body and choose my partners because they are lovely men. I’m not shy about saying what I want any more, and it’s taken until my very late 40s for me to get here.
I have a ‘boyfriend’ who is lovely. he lives in Brighton and we see each other at weekends. I’m so busy concentrating on my 17 yr olds exam revision atm, and doing sewing work in the weekday evenings, that it suits us well. I like my space and time to myself as well as with my kids without him being here.
How free do you feel?
I feel incredibly free now. Having had three kids in three years and then another 4 years later I’ve been very restricted in some ways. I was a single mum when my youngest was three months old and even though I married again still felt the responsibility was mine as he wasn’t the father. I feel freer now than ever before in my life.
What are you proud of?
I’m proud of my kids, proud of taking up pole fitness at the age of 48 and with no core strength at that time, within a year was doing things I never though possible…hanging upside down just holding on with my thighs, and bringing my body back up again. Wow! I’ve just got two weeks left at college where I’ve been retraining as a hairdresser for the last two years (so that I can earn money anywhere in the world should I choose to). I won first prize in a creative hair competition at college where I made the white rabbit and concocted the costume. I did a four year, full time degree as a mature student with four young children and graduated with a 2:1 in 2010. I’m also proud of having done two aerial hoop performances at the age of 49 after only having started to learn it a few months before.
What keeps you inspired?
Nature, love, animals, my children, art, haute couture, books, live music, the sunshine, trees, birds, my dogs, my friends. Learning new things.
When are you happiest?
When I’m with my family, my children and my lover and my friends. When I’m learning.
And where does your creativity go?
Into sewing, hairdressing, making art, discussing things with my children.
What’s your philosophy of living?
Never give up, never give up on your dreams. Keep learning, keep loving, keep caring. Live in the present not in the past or the future.
I believe people should have the right to choose when to die. It doesn’t scare me and suicidal thoughts have been a major part of my life for many years, but not any more I’m happy to say. However, when others die I feel a peace and tranquility for them, if they’ve been in any sort of pain, mental or physical, death is often the door to a happier, pain free place.
Are you still dreaming?
I dream of living with my partner one day, by the sea.
What was a recent outrageous action of yours?
I don’t think of this as outrageous but some might, given my numerical age. I had my septum pierced and I’ve shaved the sides of my head. I’m always thinking about my next tattoo. I’m skint but spent birthday money on some art that’s very special to me, when I also felt I should’ve spent the money on bills…