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One day about three years ago every woman in the world woke up and decided that I was no longer worth a second look. Or even, for that matter, a first glance.

It seemed to happen just like that. I would pass women on the avenue and once, where they might have given me the sidelong glance – maybe even venture a smile – and even on some occasions they gave me the return turn-around, now they would sail on by with nary an eye my way. I had suddenly become invisible.

The strange thing is that I have never given a thought to this situation until tonight when, in the wake of a dear dear friends’ passing, I was looking back over my life – especially my life relative to the fairer sex.

I knew by the reactions of women that at one time I was a fairly attractive example of the male species. I could smile at a passing woman and, more often than not, my smile was understood as a gesture of appreciation of feminine beauty and would be returned. The women seemed to intuit that my smile was just that – a smile – nothing more. I was not trying to pick them up and they knew it. I was, however, a wonderful flirt. And since my body language signaled that I was going to keep on walking, as opposed to stopping and trying to buttonhole them and chat them up like some strange creep, women seemed to be unafraid to return my smile. I would flirt and make women laugh on a bus, in the market or while on line in places like the Post Office.

Alas, this is now seldom the case. Very seldom. And, knowing that I am now somewhat of a senior citizen and, quite aware of this fact, these days it is an exception when I allow myself that flirtatious smile. I guess I feel it would be well, creepy. And, on those rare occasions when I do allow myself that smile, it usually goes completely unnoticed. Mind you, in the market, or on line waiting for a bus or what have you, I will still banter with strangers at the drop of a hat though – since I find so much of our existence to be funny – and often these strangers happen to be women. It gratifies me to know that in these people-thrown-together circumstances I can still make a strange woman smile – even laugh. Yes – I confess that I love women and have always enjoyed their company. My life has been enriched by the many wonderful women I treasure as dear friends to this day.

So yes, I have smiled at a passing woman a few times in the time since that day I became invisible – sometimes because of a lovely dress she’s wearing, or a cute puppy she’s walking, and sometimes my smile has been returned but, for the most part, those times – and the times when I amuse by saying something appreciated as witty – are exceptions to my invisibility.

In the apartment buildings I have lived in I was always greeted warmly by the female residents whenever we had an encounter…in the laundry room, at the mail boxes, in the elevator….there was  always pleasant small talk, laughing, and, sometimes a dinner invitation which, on quite a few occasions, led to an affair. Now all pretty much sweet – but unrepeatable – memories.

The thing is, I am not actually saddened by this. I am merely making an observation. Though I have male friends my age who are greatly disturbed by it, I see it as a natural thing – growing old and thereby being less attractive to the opposite sex. And perhaps “less attractive” is an understatement. Rather than being unhappy about this turn of events I am simply stating the way it now is.

Don’t cry for me Argentina, I have certainly had my share of wonderful moments with the ladies. I am just marveling at how fast the switch gets turned to the “off” position and one is no longer an object of desire. It seemed to happen overnight. I believe I am still somewhat attractive to the women who know me – and this is a fine distinction – I’m just no longer attractive to the women who do not know me – to the women who pass me on the street, to that alluring woman in the restaurant to whom I could have, and once would have, sent over a cocktail.

C’est la vie Archie eh?

C D cover picture of the author (an ex-incorrigible flirt) taken in 2007.


© tony powers and Barking in the Dark, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to tony powers and Barking in the Dark with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About barkinginthedark

Tony Powers is a writer/actor/musician. His full bio may be seen by clicking on the picture, and then clicking on either of the 2 boxes below it.



  1. This was absolutely lovely. Bittersweet, but your groundedness (is that a word?) comes through, steady, calm and accepting of your life as it is.

    My age hit me like a brick when I realized that a salesperson in a clothing store thought I was seriously uncool. She didn’t say that, but it was all over her face as I looked at clothes she obviously thought I had no business wearing. Not gonna make me change my style, but it’s one of the reasons why I’m torturing myself with workouts. That and doctors trying to scare me about getting in shape. I think I hate doctors at this age more than I do opinionated salespeople.

    PS: I do not dress like a teenager so please don’t picture me in a potbelly-bearing skimpy top or tight leggings worn like jeans. 🙂


    Posted by Sparks In Shadow | July 20, 2016, 12:48 pm
  2. Wonderful reflections on one of life’s basic realities, your essay is both poignant and uplifting. It does seem like we tend to age incrementally and then one day…presto “senior citizen”


    Posted by Howard Schein | July 17, 2016, 2:05 pm
  3. Hey Tony, This was Great! Sad but true! Fuck them who don’t smile back.


    Posted by Paul Cohen | July 17, 2016, 12:09 pm
  4. Hey Tony, This was just Great! Sad but true! Fuck them that don’t smile back.


    Posted by Paul Cohen | July 17, 2016, 12:01 pm
  5. Somehow that appeal comes through still…. even through print!


    Posted by An Embarrassment of Freedom | July 17, 2016, 3:30 am
  6. Tony, you took the words right out of my mouth!


    Posted by CHUCK GITLIN | July 17, 2016, 2:23 am
  7. Did you mean 30 years or three years? … for me it was 30!


    Posted by Duke | July 17, 2016, 1:16 am
  8. You were and still are, judging by that photo, very handsome…but I know what you mean. It’s happened to me at a much younger age as well. I’m still hoping to find a silver lining in this…


    Posted by BunnyLenore | July 16, 2016, 1:29 pm
  9. My Mom said she was surprised when a stranger used an Asian honorific in a conversation with her. It was the first time she heard it , Well, It’s an Asian thing.^^ The honorific word is a sign of respect for ” older ” people.


    Posted by renxkyoko | July 16, 2016, 11:39 am
    • thanx R but what was the word? continue…


      Posted by barkinginthedark | July 16, 2016, 4:49 pm
      • “po” ( pronounced poh ). For example, if the person is younger than you, same age, or just a bit older, like 2 years, you can say straight, No, but if the person is very much older, or of higher status ( like your professor, employer, etc ) then you say, ” Hindi po ” ( Hindi means no,, not ). In Philippine society, it’s unimaginably disrespectful not to add ” po” in a conversation. ” Is this okay ” ? Opo , Ma’m. Opo ( pronounced oh-poh ) means a respectful yes. Otherwise, you can just say, ah-ha, ^^.


        Posted by renxkyoko | July 16, 2016, 5:26 pm
      • ah ha…i won’t say opo ’cause u r waaaay younger than me. thanks R. continue…see

        Liked by 1 person

        Posted by barkinginthedark | July 17, 2016, 1:00 pm

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