If you’re like most people, the last thing you want when you need a break is anything work-related. When I need a break, I call friends who can make me laugh so hard I practically forget about everything else.
Likewise, I gorge on Websites, TV shows, and magazines about decorating, and before I decided to lose the weight I gained in business school (MBA = Much Bigger Ass), I used to read cookbooks to decompress, and for a laugh: I mean, if you have time to cut up and roast whole leg bones from a mammal, your name is either Martha Stewart or Hannibal Lecter.
When I really need a rest from work, I crave books, TV shows, Websites, movies, actors, and magazines that feature celebrities:
1) Those who, “just like us” (as Us Magazine says) face and conquer adversity (getting fat, dieting and then getting fat again); or those whose anatomies are even more surreal than their wax-museum avatars: (e.g., Madonna’s arms, Angelina’s lips, Cher’s cheekbones);
2) Those who embody the accomplishments, joys and foibles of women over 40 who find their comedic voice, wisdom and other enlightenment in getting older, as they DARE for love, career, children, or other passions – despite money, memories, or mirrors.
Anything with Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Sally Field, Sissy Spacek, Cher, Diane Keaton, Helen Mirren, Holly Hunter, Mary Louise Parker, Kyra Sedgwick, Marisa Tomei, and other visionary, intelligent and motivated women over 40 who face a challenge; especially, when they mobilize their brains, balls, or bucks to win the day or move on, shoulders held high either way. Not 40 yet, but Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon has more middle-aged quirks than a lot of women over 40, yet manages to swagger at detractors, snipe at debaters and diss dilettantes stupid enough to take her on.
If “moving on” for any of these women involves sneaking up on and then shooting her husband’s Fatal Attraction/bunny poacher in the bathtub, or getting down on her knees pledging sacrifice to God to demonstrate The End of the Affair, or choking from sobbing in the pickup truck of her homely farmhand husband as she watches her one-true-hunk-of-burnin’-love leave town forever over The Bridges of Madison County, all the better. The more pathos and bathos, the better the pleasure and complete the escape. Streep’s head was literally in the clouds when she flew with Redford in Out of Africa, and they hadn’t even made love yet – the whole movie is thrilling and the music alone is transporting.
Audiences of all ages and all genders, scream with Pavlovian predictability at the I Love Lucy episode featuring the chocolate factory assembly-line. Likewise, Carol Burnett and her hilarious send-up of Gone with the Wind, prancing and stumbling around with a huge cascade of draperies – rod, finials and all – on her tiny frame. And who would DARE play a woman past her prime but still making it and shaking it as poignantly and sympathetically as Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie?
Regardless of the names of the dames, you don’t need a lot of bucks to get your yucks. NetFlix, which seems to have every movie ever made, has subscription packages for every size wallet.
Finally, here are two witty, funny and irreverent guides that should be on the bookshelf of every woman over 40 who needs a BREAK:
Cinematherapy – The Girl’s Guide to Movies for Every Mood, by Nancy Peske and Beverly West; and,
Bibliotherapy – The Girl’s Guide to Books for Every Phase of Our Lives (same authors).