Beth Mann's Blog

Beth's Urban Tales of Wonder and Decay

Beth Mann

Beth Mann
Long Beach Island, New Jersey, USA
November 11
Hot Buttered Media
I'm a writer and creative consultant. I have years of experimental comedy and strange theater under my belt. I surf. I cook. I love wine, men and song. And puppies. I effin' love puppies.

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MAY 26, 2011 9:11AM

Patti Davis is Naked and I'm Tired

Rate: 43 Flag



[This was first published at, another great site for writers.]
When I read Patti Davis’s recent article in More magazine, where she “bares all” at 58, I was poised in my seat, prepared to feel inspired. 

My body, like hers, has been built from scratch. I  too have a chemically-laden past from which I’ve broken free. I too  found my physical strength later in life and now surf in competitions in  addition to being a recommended black belt in Taekwondo. I love  exercise. I love competition.

Then why did I feel irked by her article instead? 

Perhaps the media play-up was annoying: “Oh my god. Can you believe  she’s posing nude at 58?” Is that really what we find so incredible in  this day and age? What did you think she had going on underneath those  fine designer clothes of hers? Dusty skeletal remains? She’s 58, not  402.

Or maybe it was the “Yeah, if I worked with a team  of personal trainers, nutritionists and chefs, I’d look pretty damn good  too” voice playing in this jaded middle class head of mine. Money can  obviously buy you a toned body, whether it’s real or manufactured or  both. So she writes check well? 

And finally, where is the victory in showing another woman with an uber-fit body? Doesn’t the real problem lie with the rest of the bodies that we don’t find acceptable? Namely, the other 95%  of the female populace? The message remains the same: look like you're  20-something and you win. Eternal youthfulness is the unrealistic gold  standard by which we all must dutifully adhere. 

Then it was her elbow comment; Patti Davis doesn’t  like them apparently. They look old to her. This is when I feel  considerably less inspired. That never-ending magnifying and  micro-managing that most women do with their bodies has reduced us to  such petty creatures. So she’s got a smoking hot bod at 58, but those  elbows of hers keep haunting her. (Elbows shouldn’t haunt you. Just as a  rule.) 

Last week, I had a young man in my outdoor shower  (a long but beautifully sordid story). He pushed the wet hair back from  my forehead. I saw him examining the gray hairs that I’ve let grow in as  of late. The painful self-consciousness I felt was overwhelming. I  turned away from him, feeling once again flawed, wrong. 

Yet an equal part of me wanted to turn around and  shout: “Yes, they’re fucking gray hairs. I’m 44 years old. If you don’t  like them, go find someone else who has the energy to fight the tide of  time better than me!”

God, who can keep up? Who wants to?  

Ultimately, Patti Davis is still an inspiration.  (And I still had amazing sex in the shower, in spite of my "glaring  imperfections.") She has a good, healthy take on her body and what it  means to her. I’m not discounting that. I do admire her. 

But the messaging underneath remains insidious and  tedious: look young at all costs. Society will give you props for  turning back time. Thing is, time only has one direction. For all of us. (Shhh...don't tell anyone. It's a secret.)



My (Very Strict) Personal Trainer Behind Me



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Posing nude at 58? I have no specific thoughts on that other than what you've already so clearly stated. Yeah, it gets old...this trying to not get old or at least not look old. You may be tired but I'm glad you had fun in the shower. :)
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come. - Shakespeare
You hit it, and glad you have some street cred because if you dare to say that woman shouldn't be held up to this incredible non-aging standard you will be called out as a jealous old croney. Wonderful and yes to her.. but also to all of us who survive this world and may not have the same gene pool or resources to look so well. You still have to make yourself happy, beautiful or not.
I think she's tired, too. Better Patti Davis than Carrie Fisher.
Actually Kathy, I think I'd rather see Carrie, a bit more real.
Eh, I saw her in Playboy years ago.

And who's elbows don't look old regardless of your real age. They are wrinkled and bony and I have never heard of an elbow fetish. I worry more about the mole on the back of my leg than hair or wrinkles. Thankfully it hasn't changed in 20 years so I don't worry too much.
My god, you're good. ~r
I dont think I want to see any of them. I know what we all look like.:)
I had to fave you yet once again.. that is the 3rd person I have lost this week.
Rated with hugs
Hey- you had a young man in your outdoor shower- you rock!!!
I agree with you about aging. My tennis friends know all about the white hair that is coming at my hairline, since I pull it back in a ponytail, but I have to admit, I'm having it colored tomorrow!
Great story~
Oh, Susie. I have my hair colored too. But sometimes I don't...for months and months. And I want to be alright with that too.

To the rest of you, a hearty hello, greetings, miss you, love you.

Haven't been around much lately. Checking in a bit more today. Frankly, the site slowdown was such a deterrent. Rumor has it it will be running smoothly soon. Today, it seems good. But my god, there were times pages just wouldn't load, no matter how long.
Patti Davis isn't it for me either, but I wholeheartedly support the idea of showcasing gorgeous women of every age. Thank goodness the media gives us a selection, albeit meager, to choose from. Images of Dame Judi, Helen Mirren, Patti Smith, Patricia Clarkson reflect my aging self in a positive way, and I am grateful for them. There's been a picture of Georgia O'Keeffe hanging in my studio since my twenties. I knew then that was how I wished to age: beautiful long gray hair, large capable hands...and 27 year old Juan Hamilton, her "studio assistant". Like your young friend who assisted you in bathing ;-)
Marxian social critiques are very interesting here. Capitalism holds up an impossible standard, and says everybody must meet it. Then it sells them products, for a profit, through which people try to meet said artificially constructed standard. The thing is, most folks will never attain this standard, but they never realize it, because celebrity success stories are given so much credibility.

So people keep buying the foods, magazines, diet fads, signing up for the xpensive workshops and trainers. We are commodifying youth and the image of youth, but it is fleeting and unobtainable, which is PRECISELY why it is so profitable.

If Capitalists truly found the so-called "fountain of youth" in some magical world, no doubt they would try to hide it. There would be no profit in it, as it would be a one-time deal. Built-in obsolescence and the quest for perpetual spending on the unobtainable---these are the things that keep the elite rich, and turn the rest of us into easily exploited hamsters running on the wheel of capitalist exploitation.
Screw Davis. We want further details on your outdoor shower thing. (I have an outdoor shower too, and on occasion good-looking young men have been in it....but never with me. My outdoor shower is only for personal cleanliness.)
Thank you, Beth! Well said as always, and so true.
As an old guy let me go on record: OLDER WOMEN ROCK!
To misquote Bonnie Raitt - "Ain't the (older) meat, it's the motion." and E-motion.
I've been scarce too, nice to see you back.
Well said. "time only has one direction" That's why it's so important to take all the showers we that sounds like a much more interesting story.
You don't sound anything like tired to me, Beth. And whatever glossy dreams media might purvey... out here in the real world, we gents don't expect flawlessness in women any more than we can achieve it ourselves.

And in my case, even though I am indeed flawless, I generously forgive flaws in others. ;)
Chica, of course I am in agreement with your irked-ness . . . while there is something statuesque about the perfectly trained bodies which are featured in magazine, I have always found the more natural, "imperfect" body much more attractive and interesting. Raven was complaining about her incoming gray yesterday (she's 41, but has had grays since her early 20s) . . . and I just laughed. There is much more beauty, more character, more substance in the "normal."

And the casual mention of your shower fun . . . perfectly placed and icing on the cake for the theme of this post. Damn, woman . . . you can write!
Nature relentlessly steals from mankind. It is time we gave up the cozy, warm-n'- fuzzy interpretation of the natural world after Rousseau and Romanticism: Nature is both extremely creative and extremely destructive and is not simply our "friend".

Nature, in time and through the "natural" processes of entropy, disease, deterioration and collapse, inexorably and indifferently steals our strength, our health, our youth, our choices, our friends, our family, our independence. Nature will eat us alive, and our children, too. The struggle to carve out a little clearing, a little space and time in which we can hold off the overwhelming assault of Nature is the human struggle, is the entire point of culture, of medicine, of individuality, of civilization. Since we emerged as individual identities from the roiling biosphere of Earth's history, human beings want the power to call the shots, and we refuse to concede to the consuming, churning, primordial soup that is Nature until the very last moment when we take our very last breath.

I wish people would stop knocking those who front line the struggle to stave off the assaults of Nature in their own bodies. The desire for health, for vitality, for strength, for beauty into maturity is a struggle against Nature. Yes, it is hubristic — doomed to failure. But it is the heroic struggle. It is a major part of what distinguishes us as human beings. As such, I wish Patty well with the, er, elbow-maintenance thing. END RANT. r.
You must be smokin'! Good for you, shower lady. Interesting take on Patti Davis too.
Elbows? Really. Wow, never even considered. Now there will be a whole slew of woman examining their elbows.

"The message remains the same: look like you're 20-something and you win. Eternal youthfulness is the unrealistic gold standard by which we all must dutifully adhere." So true. The bottom line is we don't have to buy into the message but it is so hard to ignore when it is paraded in front of our faces 24/7. I was at a bar with a girlfriend recently. She's fifty and I'm not far behind. Someone (we knew) made the joke that we were "cougars." Then corrected it to say we were "old cougars." Regardless of how we look, I FEEL like I'm 18 and hope I still feel this way at 68. Good post.
I'm having a bitch of a time rating this. Let's see if it will let me make a comment and then maybe I'll be allowed to rate.

She looks good, but I've seen many bodies due to my profession, and most people do until about 70 or so. I mean, you may notice the changes yourself, but still look very healthy to an objective outsider.
As far as her personally. They don't show in this photo, but I'd actually put in some work to have arms that look as well defined and good as hers do. Alas, even with exercise, I've got t-rex arms. :p It's annoying and all genetics.
I've never posed nude at 58, but then, I'm 57 and no one's asked me! This "old" man's body is probably nicer than it's ever been... it certainly runs farther and faster than it did at 27, and other than the age spots, rounded places that were formerly sharp, and painfully dry elbows (yes, we all have them and I am obsessed!), all the pieces still work and want to work more often. I am envious of your 44-year old sexual dynamism! I don't even know you, but I add my outrage to yours in a collective scream of "WE ARE MORE THAN ADEQUATE... WE ARE ALIVE AND BEAUTIFUL IN THESE WORN SKINS!"

You should be comfortable in yours. I sense plenty of lovely there.
I've never posed nude at 58, but then, I'm 57 and no one's asked me! This "old" man's body is probably nicer than it's ever been... it certainly runs farther and faster than it did at 27, and other than the age spots, rounded places that were formerly sharp, and painfully dry elbows (yes, we all have them and I am obsessed!), all the pieces still work and want to work more often. I am envious of your 44-year old sexual dynamism! I don't even know you, but I add my outrage to yours in a collective scream of "WE ARE MORE THAN ADEQUATE... WE ARE ALIVE AND BEAUTIFUL IN THESE WORN SKINS!"

You should be comfortable in yours. I sense plenty of lovely there.
and knees
and feet

O, My!
What Monsieur Chariot said.

We all want to cheat death.
Rated for hot shower sex (and the other stuff too.)
The fact that any American is fit enough at 58 to pose nude is amazing to me. At 46 and someone like you who stays fit and works damn hard to be that way, walking around today I shudder at the thought of a nude Mall. I applaud Patti Smith. She and Ron Jr. are the best thing the Reagan's ever produced. I applaud her for not being ashamed of her body too. Kudos. But as you say so well, America making it out to be like, you know, Armageddon this past Saturday just shows how far we've fallen. My mom is 71 and still fitter than most 40 year old women or men.
Davis that is, not Smith. Got my mind on my music and my music on my mind! ;-)
Davis that is, not Smith. Got my mind on my music and my music on my mind! ;-)
When reading the comments and this blog it reminded me of the quote from Reese Witherspoon in Glamour mag:

“There’s always going to be somebody younger or sexier. That’s why I like to say, and it’s become my famous line, ‘Funny doesn’t sag.’”

That's my M.O. from here on out!
Tired, but not too tired for the bracing shower. Was that a variation on living well is the best revenge? Good for you.
I always though Patti Smith was skeletally skinny; I kinda prefer women who look like, ya know, women, with hips and boobs and that little roll of padding over the hip bone and arms where you can't see the radius and ulna and whatnot. Hey, call me crazy.
I keep wanting to yell, " Beth ! Turn around - there's a wave right behind you ! "
I understand the elbow thing but really no one wants to look at a fifty-eight year old's body no matter how toned. You, on the other hand, look healthy and happy in the ocean.
Agreed. Now tell us more about that young man. :)
I have stopped coloring my hair, and love that not only do I have silver whites coming through- but apparently also red highlights I didn't know I had, I had been coloring my hair so long. The voyage of self discovery doesn't start when you are young, it starts every morning. Now, I work where botox is pretty freely available to me, and so far, I pass. I like that my left eyebrow wrinkles when I raise it, and that I can raise it at all.
I must say as a man of 52, simply looking young doesn't appeal to me that much. Vibrant, confident, and fit - now those attributes I can get interested in.
I must say as a man of 52, simply looking young doesn't appeal to me that much. Vibrant, confident, and fit - now those attributes I can get interested in.
Oh, Beth. As always, you are a bracing blast of fresh air, or maybe of cold surf. I love your observations.
I gotta agree with you, this staving off aging is exhausting. I cope by being oblivious, at least for a while. I keep thinking I look ok and then I realize that I'm completely nuts, I do not look anything like a 20-something gym rat. Thankfully, my lovers are also completely nuts and like my 59 year old body. The first time I took a naked picture, I was 57. Some guy asked for it. It was like a dare. So, can't turn down a dare, can you? Turns out I look just like a woman.
Congrats on working with your personal trainer! Having just put on a swimming suit for the first time after my hip replacement, I wish I'd posed nude at 58. Now I look like a Frankenstein's monster with scars on my shoulder and thigh. A mother of a young daughter told me she hopes I'm a nice monster. I told her I might be a scary monster.
Maybe she can get an "elbow" transplant
Here's hoping that whiffle ball DOES NOT recur!

When you smile!
Patti Davis has been bragging about her body for years. That's because she is a vacuous twit with nothing else going for her.
Loved your comment that she is 58 not 402. I am 56 and I think younger people are mystified with the aging process - like we grow new limbs or something.
It's not Who you're talking about, it's What. And you nailed it. I'm a decade+ older than you and still have great sex in showers and elsewhere with my roots and ass showing. Yeah, it's with my husband but try keeping sex hot after almost 30 years. It's not about the body, ladies, it's about the soul... and the attitude.

You're one hot mamma, inside and out. And don't you dare forget it.
What a beautiful girl :)
Langer with heat pump prices inc
You and your words are much more interesting than Patti Freaking Davis. I had no idea who she was, had to google her...and then: ho hum. My whole view on my body has changed not only because of aging but because of how breast cancer can change a body -- somehow much more compelling than elbows! Here's more food for thought:
You know what? I'm done judging and holding people accountable to specious standards of beauty. If you are 99 and feel like posing nude well go right ahead. I probably won't look but hey, who'd want to see a nude photo of me? No sane person. I say good for her and everyone else.