Are Middle-Aged Women Invisible? Not in Las Vegas!

Most people move to Las Vegas buoyant with anticipation, but I arrived feeling depressed and deflated. I had just blown out the last flicker of hope for my marriage, and it was obvious that southwest Utah, where I’d been living for the previous 10 months, was no place for a hell-raising aging nymph like me. Although I missed my family back in the dreary Northeast, I couldn’t bear to return there, and so I landed in Las Vegas as a newly single, 45-year-old grandmother.

Even in the best of circumstances, middle age can be a trying time for women. Do a Google search and you’ll find countless books, articles and blogs lamenting that once women turn 40, they start to become invisible – not just to men, but to society in general. In our youth-obsessed culture, they say, gals my age are no longer considered attractive, so we remain under the radar, as if the world stops seeing us as part of humanity.

I never quite bought into that “Invisible Woman Syndrome” and I fancy myself as the type who would bloom wherever she’s planted. But there’s nothing like a divorce to send your self-esteem to the crapper, and I wondered whether I could handle living among the beautiful people I imagined inhabiting Las Vegas. Certainly all the women would look half their age, I thought, with tanned and toned bodies and flowing, long blonde hair. With that as my competition, I wondered if I would ever score a date. I doubted my worthiness to live in such a hip and happening place and felt that perhaps my turn to feel invisible had finally come.

Five and a half years later, I’m happy to report that my self-esteem remains fully intact. Sure, images of seductive beauties plastered all over town can taunt an aging ego, but I’ve found the key to staying visible and vital is to embrace the Sin City culture and join in the fun.

An accessoryiStockPhoto\Eric Hood
Las Vegas: the cleavage capital
of the world

For example, since Las Vegas is the cleavage capital of the world (and believe me, it is), I say take a trip to Ross Dress for Less and indulge yourself with some trendy tops with plunging necklines. And don’t despair if you boast a mere A cup – thanks to today’s superior padded bra and underwire technology, anyone can have a fantastic Vegas rack, at any age. For me, breasts are an accessory: I put them on when I’m heading out on the town, and at the end of the night they’re back in the drawer and I’m sleeping on my stomach. Try that with implants.

Admittedly, the standards are higher here, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sure, the ads on the taxicabs presenting a lineup of shapely derrieres in thongs can tug at my insecurities, but that’s just the incentive I need to pop in a “Buns of Steel” video the minute I get home. Remember, it’s sweltering here for most of the year, which means there’s no hiding under layers of clothing like you can in the colder climates.

I also take full advantage of the fact that in Las Vegas it’s perfectly acceptable to wear clothes that play with your flirty side – even to work (only here!). Just keep in mind that sometimes what you wear in Vegas should stay in Vegas. The first time I went back to Albany, N.Y., flaunting my new cleavage-accentuating wardrobe, I mortified my adult children to the point that they begged, “Mom, please! Put those away!”

But what if you think you don’t have a flirty side? Well, Vegas is the place to find it! It doesn’t matter if you were a high school geek or a shrinking violet, here, people meet you as you are today, with no preconceptions of the person you used to be; that’s one of the benefits of living in a transient destination. Soon after I settled in, I began performing stand-up comedy at an open-mike stage, something I never would have done in a place where everyone had known me for 40 years. But I figured, if not here, then where? And what could be more visible than performing on stage?

An accessoryiStockPhoto\Anja Hild
Flirting opportunities abound

Overall, Las Vegas is surprisingly unpretentious and the people convey the vibe that judgment only gets in the way of a good time. Offer a stranger a welcoming smile and minutes later you’ll have a new friend. Age truly is just a number here. As for the dating scene, I’ve found that overall, men actually prefer the company of women their own age, though if you’re so inclined, a lot of younger guys seem to be looking for a willing cougar to fulfill their Mrs. Robinson fantasies.

In my experience, most people here appreciate it when you do the best you can with what you have to work with. Granted, I don’t spend much time in Vegas’ “beautiful people” hot spots; at 51, I’m not about to parade around the pool at the Palms among the 22-year-old bathing beauties. I can get away with a lot, but if anyone saw me in a bikini, they would definitely wish I were invisible!


35 responses on “Are Middle-Aged Women Invisible? Not in Las Vegas!

  1. Great story Lindalou, wish I had time to get to Albany on the 28th. Will talk to you soon.


  2. Linda,this article is right up my alley. If you think a lot of women feel invisible after 50 imagine what women are after 60 and 70. At 78 I still have no intention of becoming invisible nor of closing up shop. And very few single men my age are any fun at all, though I’m sure they exist. The men who are really fun to be with are anywhere from 7 to 20 years younger than I. I’m not a cougar, just a friendly gal. who enjoys the company of bright, lively people.

    You are such a good writer and you have a wonderful way with words. But in your last line I don’t think you should have bashed your “bikini” self. You are one attractive woman in body and soul. Shame on you.

    Your fan in Los Gatos, Betty

  3. Speaking strictly as a male middle-aged observer only (since I’m married) there are lots of fabulous looking middle-aged women out there, and not just in Vegas. To put it in Las Vegas terms, a friend once told me that the older he gets the bigger the buffet gets.

    In my opinion, self-esteem definitely enhances a woman’s attractiveness, and you wear yours well. More people should feel that way.

  4. Thanks to all! And while I may wear my self-esteem well, I’m still not so sure about the bikini!

  5. I’ve seen Linda in a bikini, and she looked great. Okay, maybe not the Palms great, but surely Harrahs great…ha ha! Another great article Linda.

  6. Wow. Great column, Linda. Since I’ve got a few years on you, I can agree that it’s not easy being making the choice—Granny or glamour girl? I know you, and you opt for hottie and carry it off well. So do I and you know what? We still turn heads.

    Self-esteem is the most important accessory, not withstanding that pair of accessories in the drawer that you mention. I think about people I’ve met who aren’t clasically pretty, sexy or (dare I say it?) young. Still they seem to be all of it. Because that’s how they see themselves and without trying to they send out the vibes to everyone else that they are who they are in their head—comfortable in their skin.

    Just keep doing what you’re doing, Linda, ’cause you do it so well. As for the book, I’m in the same boat with “Dancing With Fate.” Writing and marketing your work definitely is not for the faint of heart. Keep the faith. MORGAN

  7. Right on, Sister! I should take your advice instead of living the wallflower lifestyle. Glad it works for you, but if you’re an OVERWEIGHT Older woman, you definately are invisible in this town. Just read the personals for men seeking women on Craigs list.

  8. Fortunately, I don’t think Vegas is quite as bad as L.A., where you’re considered a heifer if you’re a size 4. But still, Susieque, you definitely have a point about the weight issue–and I’m getting mighty sick of holding my stomach in!

  9. Cleavage or no cleavage, cellulite or no cellulite, Las Vegas or New York…we still look good after all these years! Great article. Thanks.

  10. As a 51 year of man who loves to visit Vegas twice a year…believe me middle aged women are not invisible to me! I have met some of the most wonderous and fascinating ladies while there…and that is why I keep going back…maybe one day I will settle down and marry one!

  11. As a woman who is turning 50 in 359 days and who rides a Harley, I know this “middle aged woman” isn’t invisible. I have great genes!!!

  12. Linda, what a great read!!! I always get a big shot in the arm after reading your thoughts, reflections, and (best of all) recommendations, plus several laughs as well.

    I know what you mean about the layering in colder climates but let’s face it, eventually all clothing has to come off and mirrors don’t lie. That is why I try to keep the pounds off even though we only have about two weeks of summer clothing weather in Wyoming.

    Take care, Marg.

  13. Love your work. I am having so much fun reading your blog. You make the family proud!! Love you…Joycie..LAL (lesbian at large)

  14. I’m proud to be both–and my grandson is almost 10 years old! (We reproduce young in my family–while the eggs are still fresh.)

    I love to see people’s reactions when we’re in a store together and he yells, “Graaaaannnnny!” I’m like, “Yep, I’m his granny…”

  15. Linda,

    This is a great article. You have such a distinctive writing style and I love it. I can so relate to what you are saying about being over 40 in this town…it really is all about working with what you have (naturally) and being comfortable in your skin…and in this town I believe that is what sets the real beauties (of any age) apart from the women who are trying too hard to be noticed.


  16. hi i am going to be in vegas january 15th to the 21st i am looking for a club or place where i can meet women over the age of 45 if u no a spot that might work please let me no

  17. Hey, Bill–

    Here are some ideas on where to meet cool women over 45, including some off-Strip hot spots to check out:

    Thursday night: Head to Boulder Station’s Railhead showroom for their Boulder Blues series

    Friday night: Classic rock band Yellow Brick Road at Sunset Station

    Saturday night: Irish band at the Nine Fine Irishmen pub in New York, New York

    Sunday night: House of Blues in Mandalay Bay for Prince tribute show

    Monday night: All-star karaoke at Bootlegger’s on Las Vegas Boulevard, south of the Strip

    Tuesday night: By now hopefully you’ve found a cool chick you want to hang out with a little more before you go home. Take her for a drink in the cozy Fireside Lounge at the Peppermill (Las Vegas Blvd., just north of Convention Center Drive)

    Good luck!

  18. Oops, I made a mistake, Bill. Yellow Brick Road is now at Boulder Station on Friday nights.

    Two nights in a row at Boulder Station? I’ve done it many times!

  19. Good Job with article !

    How is Mirage (sports bar) to meet over 45 females ?

    How about any sports bar during super bowl 2009

  20. Well, a sports bar is probably the only type of bar I know nothing about! Aside from horse racing, I believe there are only two sports worth watching: figure skating and gymnastics. There, I said it.

    Obviously I’m no help. Anyone?

  21. Most of the middle aged ladies are looking good, especially in Vegas, the shining city…I love your writing Linda.Thanks

  22. If you don’t believe that women become invisible (to men; we can still see each other) after a certain age, try being a 50-year old woman in a group of women younger than yourself, in a setting where you need to get a man’s attention. I’m talking about a business setting, where you need to communicate to a coworker or supervisor, not a dating setting. Good luck! You’d have better luck being a Black man in NYC trying to hail a taxi on a Friday at five o’clock in midtown. No one sees you.

    Men cannot see older women in groups, because they are blinded in the presence of younger ones.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. As a Kurt Vonnegut character would have said; “so it goes.”

    This is not to say that older women do not have their charms; we do. Some people can see them; that’s one of their powers. But as a general rule, men young and old DO become blind to older women in the presence of younger ones, and who can blame them?

    Helen O

  23. I think it depends on the man…. Personally, I notice attractive women of all ages.

  24. Oh, I don’t know, Helen. At 51, I’m one of the oldest women in the IT company I work for, and I honestly don’t see age hindering my ability to get the attention I need. I’m a technical writer/trainer, and I do believe that my years of experience build credibility. I truly feel appreciated and respected by my co-workers, many of whom are younger than my kids.

    I dig being this age, in the workplace more than anywhere else. And thankfully, I don’t see my age affecting my ability to still turn the heads of men of all ages outside of work. Hmmm…. maybe I’m the one who’s blind!

  25. WOW! Thanks for stopping by my blog and pointing out this post. It really hits home for me and obviously other women too. Society’s opinion of women of a “certain age” is difficult to take sometimes. I’m glad to see there is life after 40, or 50 or 60… in Las Vegas. Who knew! Terrific post. Thank you!

  26. i’m a 44 mom of 6 kids, 5’5″ and 220 lbs. but i love Vegas! i don’t go out at all except there, about once a year. i just drink and dance and have my own fun, mostly dancing by myself on the dance floor, but it doesn’t matter because i’m having sooo much fun! i have found that my vivacious attitude is contagious and men will approach me just to talk, and i have “picked up” once or twice, and even just made out in the dark corners of the bar at times.
    i feel sexy and beautiful, and Vegas is the ONLY place that makes me feel that way, because most of the men and people in general are just there to have a good time and if you are too, you will make friends. once in awhile you get your “stuck-ups” who really suck, mostly 20-something men, but you can always just ignore them. just go shopping until you find something that is flattering for your body style, and age appropriate, but sexy at the same time, something that you feel confident in, and keep a smile on your face at all times!

  27. sqk, I agree–Las Vegas is the place to feel sexy and beautiful, at any age! People are here to have fun. It’s surprisingly unpretentious, or maybe I’m just hanging out in the more down-to-earth night spots where anything goes. Yay for you!

  28. Interesting article that I enjoyed reading. I am a 38 yo guy coming to Vegas on 12 December 2009 and found this article in a search for company whilst I was in Vegas. I am attracted to older women, which explains how I came across this website on a Google search. I am tall, (6’2″) slim/average build (90Kg’s 170lb-I think that conversion is right) blonde hair and green eyes. If you fancy meeting up for a drink at one of the casinos, please send me an email Steve x

  29. Holy crap–I’m a lucky (52-year-old) girl! And if he says “whilst,” he must have a cool accent, too!

  30. I LOVE YOU! This article was just what I was needing tonight! I am a nurse, and doctors that are way older than me will politely say hello to me after I say “Hello Dr. So and So”. However, when the cute, skinny, 22 year old tech comes by, the same 50 year old Dr. will suck in his gut and say “Hello Megan” (name changed to protect identity of tech, LOL!) before she has even looked at him. She is usually more concerned about getting home and putting her nose ring back in and showing off her tattoos than she is with an aging man, but they can’t seem to help themselves, poor fools!!!

  31. Erin–I totally believe it and the “sucking in the gut” image is too funny! Check out my blog for an endless stream of my incredible insights–ha! Thanks for commenting.

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