There’s a word for the fear of aging: Gerascophobia. People with this phobia have a fear of the biological downfall of their bodies and death.
There’s no word that I can find for "the fear of being invisible because you look old". What I suffer from isn’t getting old, it’s looking old.
I’m in my early forties and began my obsession when I was roughly 37. Thirty-seven. That’s the bomb-dropping year where youth genes decide to say "eff it all!" and start bailing out.
Watch: The things mums never hear. Post continues below.
Becoming invisible from age isn’t limited by gender. While we hold doors open for the elderly, we don’t actually look at them. We don’t notice their clothes, shoes, or jewellery. We don’t look at someone geriatric and think, "Damn... that guy is super hot!"
Unfortunately, invisibility happens sooner for women.
Evolution-wise, it makes sense. Men need to spread their manly man seed in as many fertile vessels as possible.
Age displays a woman’s fertility. Since men can impregnate a woman until he’s on his deathbed, his age is almost irrelevant. Men can get older but women’s ages must stay the same.
This. Absolutely. Terrifies. Me.
I first noticed my invisibility after the birth of my first child. No guy is looking at a woman holding an infant.
Especially when she still has a nursing cover around her neck, she hasn’t showered, and if you hand her flavoured lip gloss, she’d sooner eat it than wear it.
It was subtle, but I noticed it (regardless if I held a child or not). Waiters didn’t pay as much attention. Guys didn’t pause to hold open doors. The invisibility process had already begun.
I didn't clue in until I read an article written by a former soap opera actress. She explained how roles dried up as she approached 50 and how people stopped seeing her.