Do what ‘Glam-mas’ do: Botox, Skype and bake some kale
Hold on to your Spanx, girlfriends. We’re going where no grandmother has gone before. Role models like Jane Seymour, Carla Zampatti, Goldie Hawn and Suzanne Somers have reinvented grannyhood with attitude, extra love and nonstop sizzle. Skip the mom jeans and support hose, the buns and bifocals (unless they’re leopard readers). We new Glam-mas bake kale, wear Lululemon and neon Nikes, dance like Beyoncé, sing along to Katy Perry and Skype when we need a major grannie fix from far away.
Want to know how to be a sexy, contemporary grandma? A few tips:
1. Create balance
Signing on as a grandmother does not mean you’re the designated baby sitter, available at the first ping. Go on with your own life: Stay in shape mentally, physically and emotionally. Sign up for Zumba or swim at the Y, read your Kindle, shop for shoes, spend an hour on Facebook, audit a film or art class, volunteer at the local shelter, meet friends for lunch, garden or walk in the park. Leave the guilt behind.
2. Go beyond ‘good for your age’
There’s no stopping hormones and genes, but you can control the impact on your appearance and attitude. Don’t bother trying to look like you’re 25.
Every day there will be a new diet pill, miracle cream, fitness craze and fashion trend to learn about and ignore. A Glam-ma doesn’t need cosmetic surgery, fillers, a personal trainer, nutritionist, facialist, salon spray tan or designer wardrobe. She can DIY with shapewear, sunscreen, good skin and hair care, daily exercise and a healthy diet. Clean up your act.
3. Be a magnet for grand-kids
Get rid of frown lines, stained teeth and age-spotted skin. These three things make us look angry, unapproachable, old and unhealthy. Botox your forehead crease or, for a cheaper alternative, cut camouflaging bangs, whiten your teeth with drugstore strips, and banish brown spots at the dermatologist. You can go lighter on foundation and your flawless hands will rock any shade of polish — even shimmery mermaid blue.
4. Be the permissive one
Grandies are allowed to be sneaky, impractical, even naughty. We smuggle in crunchy veggie chips, dark chocolate kisses and forbidden s’mores; buy complicated dresses (read nonmachine washable) with glitter, appliqué or sequin trims and ridiculous cashmere onesies for newborns to poop in. We get the longed-for puppy or kitten birthday gift and retro toys like Barbie, checkers and crayons. Unlike moms, we like the unexpected and the reactions they inspire.
5. Teach by example
Have friends of both sexes and all ages around. Bring in takeout meals with new-for-them foods, and taste everything. Insist on etiquette, but laugh your head off, too. Defuse arguments and tantrums with hugs.
Be a nouveau tech wiz, but teach them chess and take them to museums. Know who’s singing on the Top-40 station, but turn on Chopin and jazz. Wear fitted clothes that show curves (granddaughters pay attention to body pride) and never fat-shame, age-shame or gender-shame anyone — ever.
6. Redefine sexy
It’s not just about looks, décolletage or your bedside manner, glam-ma. After 50, the combo of brains and beauty is crucial. Watch your weight, but bulk up your mind with current events, history and politics, as well as whatever’s new in books, films, the arts, science, food and technology. Your everyday conversation and appetite for life are what’s really supersexy. Plus, keeping your mind alive reduces depression, anxiety and the urge to blow your IRA on something crazy — like a face-lift, new porcelain veneers, a 30-year-younger boyfriend or a house in Costa Rica.
Lois Joy Johnson is a beauty and style editor who is writing a book on how to be a sexy grandma.