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Both feet not in the grave

Dear Auntie, Having reached 50, I've become invisible. It's the only explanation of why people look right through me. I'm ignored in shops and at bus stops; and getting served at the bar is an endurance test, as men and younger women always take priority. I have a lifetime of experience as an activist, but these days there's always a 'Darren' or 'Ryan' whose opinion matters more. I'd go as far as saying they don't even hear me speak! It seems white hair and wrinkles are taken as an early indication of Alzheimer's. But I'm not ready to go gently into the night and as Auntie looks of a similar age, does she have any advice? The invisible woman, London
September 2008

Dear invisible woman,

Sorry, I didn't see you standing there.

Auntie isn't actually as old as she looks: she just takes a bad picture. However, she intends to age disgracefully and recommends you do the same.

Many of Auntie's older sisters complain about these 'invisible moments' but Auntie thinks there are advantages. After all, if no one can see you then you can say and do whatever you want. It's time to have some fun while you fight ageism. Start by serving yourself when they don't see you in shops and pubs - although for some reason the invisibility spell seems to wear off when you start reaching over the counter.

Subvert all expectations: sneak through security, pop up in front of the queue - no one's going to tell their grandma to get back in line, and as you're invisible, just ignore them if they do. Return those Saga circulars and read Red Pepper instead. And don't forget that as the baby boomer marketeers approach retirement you can guarantee that ageing will suddenly become cool.

Finally, always remember you have the advantage - you've been young but the young have never been old.

Email your questions to: Subcomandauntie@gmail.com






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