Tag Archives: age

Empathy, or why people should choose to hang out with over 50 year old women


Fifty-year-old woman - looking empathetic?

Fifty-year-old woman – looking empathetic?

According to the latest email I got from Science news, women over 50 years of age (but under 60) are the most empathetic of all. Apparently we women of this age are more likely to understand the emotional situation you might be in and offer a soft shoulder to those who need one. There’s apparently a U-shaped representation of empathetic behaviour that is lower in the 30-40’s and also in the 60’s and older. We fifties are the stars…
The question in my mind is, is it the cohort of women who are 50 now who are so empathetic, or is there just a wee phase of woman’s lives where they are more empathetic than usual – the period when their kids are off and on their own, and hormones are changing, and life burdens are lessening, where they might just have more time to be empathetic?
I dunno. The writer seems to imply it’s this particular group of 50 year olds who are unusually nice, probably due to the times they grew up.
But then why does the same thing not occur with men?
Who knows….
A little further down the page, there’s another article, explaining that bonobo monkeys are also quite attuned to empathic response.

Bonobo monkeys, discussing life...

Bonobo monkeys, discussing life…

If you don’t know about bonobos, you should really look them up. They are one of our closest relations in the monkey world, and specialize in settling every argument by having sex. With whoever. It seems to calm them down, soothe their ruffled feathers, make them happy, and so off they go, in harmony again.
Now I don’t want to draw too many analogies between the bonobos and women of a certain age, but sometimes odd coincidences appear in nature, and in my science page. Any comments, anyone?

I thought you were dead!


It’s funny how the expressions you hear change when you see someone you haven’t seen for a long time.

Things shift from “You look great!” (even voice) to “you look GREAT!” (surprised voice) to “you look …great!” (artificially bright voice). It’s all in the diphthongs, which, contrary to popular belief are not how you describe those underwear you wear when they are trapped in an uncomfortable place. Although those can cause upward diphthongs, true.

There’s the query shift from “How’s work?” to “Still working?” to “STILL working????”, and “When’s the wedding?” to “Still married?” to “Still married, eh.”

There’s “How are the kids?” to “The kids at school yet?” to “Got grandkids yet?” to “How are the grandkids?”

My hair went grey when I was in my late 30s. Once I took my wee group of kids (youngest was 4) to church and was invited to join the line dancing group. I explained I couldn’t line dance. The sweet woman said, “Oh, that’s no problem – all you have to do is be over 50 and you’re welcome!”

I blame the hair care industry and the fact that women colour their hair until they are 107 and shrivelled into husks. People seem to assume that I, even with my young face and unshrivelled body (alas), am a centenarian just because I don’t dye my hair. Somehow, naturally grey hair is wrong, while  glaringly brassy red hair or gothic black hair is fine after fifty.

I met a long missed auntie once and she told me flat-out she wasn’t going to tell anyone she’d seen me with my hair “all grey like that.” I loved her. Outspoken, yes. Tactful, not so much.

But you know life is starting to get grim when someone says “Wow! I thought you were dead!” like the person I overheard in the coffee shop the other day. To a sixty-ish-looking guy…

I haven’t heard that one, but with my lack of communication with folks as I try to rope myself into my novel and writing, I feel sure I’ll hear it, soon.

Provided someone sees me. I think I’ll just hide for a few years yet.