How are you? We have never met and I expect we never will (unless you’re a young-at-heart cougar lover and coming to Toronto). Even though I don’t know you, I know some things about you. I know you’re a cancer survivor and that you have a lot of kids. I know that you cycle and that you had been credited with winning the Tour de France seven times. I know that you’ve been accused of cheating.
I’m writing to you to tell you I get it. I get your motivation. Actually, I sort of go about things the same way. See, you may or may not have doped to create a super athlete. I may or may not contribute to our anti-aging culture by having skin plumping injections strategically shot into my face. You may or may not have supplied other teammates with substances. I may or may not regularly sanction having chemical agents applied to my hair by a certain professional to create a younger version of myself. You may or may not have lied to the world at large. I may or may not feel lied to about the advances and the value of women, particularly middle-aged ones, in our society.
You see Lance, what I feel is being overlooked in all of this, and perhaps you feel the same, is the unrelenting pressure from society to be more, achieve more, make the impossible possible, or at least offer the illusion of it. I know you’re not a machine, Lance. I know there are limits to our humanness. I appreciate that you pushed the limits. You took a shot (no pun intended). You gave the people what they wanted, even when it seemed too good to be true.
I can be accused of the same thing. Sure, I don’t necessarily get the level of notoriety that you’ve received. In fact, I don’t really get noticed too much at all. It’s okay though because if people started to notice how I excel in the sport of anti-aging, do it all, be it all female, I might well end up in the same pickle as you. People might start to get interested in how exactly I do it. How do I look in my 20’s, okay very late 20’s, early 30’s, when I’m really in my forties? How do I manage to keep the house together, the kids organized, my day job and my partner eternally interested and satisfied? Wait a second, the people might begin to think; where does this superwoman get her power from?
Well then, Lance, I’d have to start defending myself wouldn’t I? I’d have to say that I just happen to have good genes, a strong drive, and supportive backers. I’d have to face the crowd with a smile on my face and ensure any cracks in the facade are covered. I’d have to remind the people that all my time, energy and training is devoted to an ultimate goal – managing a family and a career and remaining desirable – and therefore, why shouldn’t I be a winner?
Lance, I can only imagine how betrayed I would feel by the people if suddenly I was not only visible, but called out for what I do best. Skewered for making the impossible possible, and giving the people what they demand. Set apart as an example despite the millions of nameless middle-aged women that are busy out there competing at the same enhanced level, while the people carry on, unwilling to acknowledge that widespread dysfunction may be at play. Well, at least not until it all begins to get a little too uncomfortable for everyone to ignore. Then they eat their own don’t they, Lance?
In a way, you don’t have it so bad though, Lance. You haven’t aged out. Your abs are to die for. I think I can speak for the majority of us women when I say thank you for that. Thank you for thinking of us and not letting yourself go. Then again, if we’re being honest here, it’s women who are mostly called out for letting go isn’t it? A few inches, a few pounds, a few years above what society is fed to believe is the ideal woman, and we’re toast. You’re in your forties and I’m gonna say it, still desirable. Maybe even more so than when you were younger. Nuts (no reference to body parts intended).
So, Lance, although on the surface we don’t appear to have much to talk about, it turns out that if we ever do meet we might just share a common bond. We both have to accept the risks associated with standing out amongst our equally opportunistic peers, and we both eventually have to learn to face the fire as our former glory gets stripped away.
Best of luck to you, Lance.