We're All Boomer Hotties! Could This Be The New Shifting Paradigm?

Written by Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
22 May, 2011
The full article can be accessed here 

Seniors celebrate age in West Hollywood. Participants in the Age March in West Hollywood seek to highlight what older people have to offer and the many things they're capable of.  Much of the conversation at a West Hollywood march Saturday was on a subject many would like to avoid: age.

About 40 people listened to music and speeches at West Hollywood Park before taking up signs proclaiming, "Make every day a celebration" and "Age is not a number, it's a spirit," and strolling down Santa Monica Boulevard.

It was all part of the Age March, a type of event not commonly encountered in the Southern California world of Botox and anti-age remedies. Barbara Rose Brooker started the walk in San Francisco about a year ago, after writing a book called "The Viagra Diaries," about love and sex after 60. Organizers plan to hold marches in New York and Washington, D.C., as well.

The 74-year-old San Francisco resident said she started thinking about the march after an "aha" moment in the supermarket, when a younger man called her "sweetie." She thought to herself, "He's treating me like an old lady," and realized that she marches for AIDS, so why not march for age?

"We just don't treat age as a positive celebration in our country," she said.  Brooker said she lied about the number of candles on her birthday cake until recently. "We're all boomer hotties, as I say," she said.

Nadia Sutton, a 72-year-old West Hollywood resident, would agree. She said she came to the event because she's amazing and a goddess, regardless of how old she might be.  She takes part in a number of activities that surprise people, she said.  She belly dances, bench presses 70 pounds and boxes.  "And I've got a good right hook," she said with a smile.

A couple of feet from Sutton was caregiver Julia Myers, 81, who came with her client Robert Cox, 81. Cox donned a blue pin that read, "Ultra-R, Ultra Retired." As they waited for the march to start, Myers said she grew up thinking senior citizens were confined to rocking chairs. Now, she said, she realizes that older people have so much more to give.  "They have so much understanding and knowledge," said the Hollywood resident.

Nevertheless, some marchers said that with age comes a general feeling of invisibility. Elliot Lopez, a 65-year-old from Culver City, said she recalled a time when she would walk into a room and heads would turn.  "Now, anytime I go into a room, I could have a flaming torch and no one would notice," she said.  Lopez said that she doesn't know if things will change in her lifetime but that marches like this help.

Wendy Goldman, who organized the march, said ageism is most prevalent in the workplace. She said it's also encountered by young people who are looked at as naive because of their age.  "It goes both ways," she said.


Thumbnail Credit:
Julia Myers, 81, and Robert Cox, 81, and other participants do stretches before the start of the Age March at West Hollywood Park. (Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times / May 22, 2011)