Long before there were listicles on the internet, magazine editors have devised the art of folding numbers into headlines to create intrigue. And while women’s glossies tend to revolve around stories like “37 new winter looks under $500”, and “17 juice cleanses that won’t kill you”, the brains behind men’s magazines have focused their energy on a different kind of statistics – women’s sexual shelf life.
This month, Esquire writer Tom Junod has struck gold with his very own exclusive ‘numbers’ story. In the August issue of the magazine, Judod boldly declared it socially acceptable to sleep with 42-year-old women in 2014:
“Let's face it: There used to be something tragic about even the most beautiful forty-two-year-old woman. With half her life still ahead of her, she was deemed to be at the end of something—namely, everything society valued in her, other than her success as a mother.
42-year-old actress Sofia Vergara. Photo: Esquire/ Marc Hom
“ If she remained sexual, she was either predatory or desperate; if she remained beautiful, what gave her beauty force was the fact of its fading. And if she remained alone... well, then God help her.”
The story appears in the same edition that features 42-year-old Cameron Diaz wearing a smoking one-piece swimsuit on the cover, hinting at a brave future where (a very short list of) hot ‘early middle age’ women are no longer completely gross to sleep with.
According to Junod, the shortlist of acceptable 42-year-olds include: Cameron Diaz, Sofia Vergara, Leslie Mann and Amy Poehler. In case one is curious about what sparked this sudden liberation, Junod explains it thusly:
“Changes in sexual fashion are always mysterious. We assume that sex is a biological function, and therefore both beneath and above the mere flutterings of style.”
Of course, men are not above succumbing to ‘mysterious sexual trends’. Just ask bromedy makers who gave relevance to ‘MILFs’ in today’s society, or the gossip columnists who pioneered ‘cougar spotting’ in the first place.
To make up for their advanced years, however, these female celebrities not only have to look beautiful but must also demonstrate a sense of humour about not being Kate Upton.
“It is no accident that every woman mentioned here has comic as well as carnal appeal, and entices with the promise of lust with laughs.”
Though above all, they mustn't let their bodies go: "Of course, they have to work for their advantage; they have armored themselves with yoga and Pilates even as they joke about the spectacle. Still, what has made them figures of fantasy is not that they have redefined the ideals of female strength but rather their own vulnerabilities."
But not all funny hot ladies would make the cut. Sarah Silverman (now 43), who hit back at critics for age-shaming, has apparently missed the boat to sleep with willing, trend-aware men out there.
Well, for Silverman and other celebrities who didn't make it on Judnod's f-ck list, there is always Tina Fey's (now 44) wise words to reflect on: "I have a suspicion that the definition of 'crazy' in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore."
Because here's nothing worse than a smart older women who refuses to shut the hell up about her sexual status quo, right?