According to Wikipedia – middle age is between 45-65 years old.
On August 5th, 2021, I will turn 47.
Several months ago, I noticed an ugly little voice inside my head. Whispering, I am no longer at my peak, and that 47 is old. “You don’t have it, anymore.” This voice would say. And while I’m not entirely sure what I specifically don’t have any longer, as a (according to Wikipedia) middle-aged woman, I guess I kind of DO know. It’s my youth. The voice was telling me I no longer have the allure, vigor, and desirableness of my youth.
However, I beg to differ. But it took playing dress-up to figure it out.
While chatting with this voice, I remembered, rather out of the blue, that I’ve always thought a woman in a tux was a pretty edgy and provocative look. That’s when the idea of a birthday photoshoot came to me. I ordered black tux pants, a black tux jacket, and a white wing collar tux shirt (with French/barrel cuffs and the option for studs & cuff links), all from a website specializing in tuxedos for women – Little Black Tux. Embossed (leather) snake-skin heels fell into place and would complete the look. The ensemble arrived, and I tried it on. If I had any doubts in the moments leading up to showing my husband, they all vanished when I saw the expression on his face. Granted, I opted for just a black push-up bra, under the buttoned jacket when I showed him. But seeing his look, and knowing what it meant, banished the voice inside my head right then and there.
I got to work on organizing a “Woman in a Tux” photoshoot with an all-female team (photographer and assistant). In the meantime, a good friend reached out to me and we decided to do a quick little James Bond-themed shoot (also in the tux). I’ve always been a Bond fan. I grew up watching up watching the films. I greatly appreciate the direction the franchise has taken with Daniel Craig! Namely less sexist, less campy, and cheesy with a bit more darkness and grit.
It also happens, that I have access to the specific make and model pistol, James Bond is known for. I gifted my husband, Michael a Walther PPK some time ago. I purchased it from my late father, who sold guns as a hobby for many years. Michael who served in the Military and is also a Bond fan was interested in owning this particular piece.
I made it a priority to familiarize myself with our Walther before the Bond photoshoot. When Matt and I were ready to begin our photo shoot, I made a point of showing him the weapon was unloaded. No round in the chamber, no bullets in the magazine. This too showed my comfort and proficiency with the pistol. I was more nervous about not having a shirt on in some of the photos than I was about having an unloaded firearm in my hand.
I was surprised with how good the photos from the Bond shoot turned out. It was empowering. Having a firearm in my hand didn’t hurt either. Although, I’ve never been fully comfortable with one in my hand until that photoshoot. Because I had done the due diligence of familiarizing myself with it, the cold metal and the compact weight in my hand was no longer something to be afraid of. The persona I was embodying, needed to be confident in heels, a masculine outfit, and packing heat. A look, I think I pulled off nicely. When actors or actresses say a costume helps them get into character, I completely know what they mean. It’s the same when I suit up as Wonder Woman. However, the two characters are worlds apart . . . or are they?
To be honest, I didn’t set out to gender-bend James Bond. It just kind of happened. However, I’ve discovered a new facet of myself in doing so. It’s a different feeling entirely from cosplaying Wonder Woman. Although both characters share many similar qualities. I love that a female version of Bond is edgy as well as unexpected, and yet it works.
Hollywood and the entertainment industry have portrayed both sexes in certain stereotypes for so long. We all know men can save the day. For years (and counting) the hero’s journey has been reserved primarily for men. “Look at us save the day, hear our story, from our point of view and look at all the awesome things we can do (and blow up)” themed movies have been shoved down our throats. I love the slowly growing list of movies and TV series that show just how kick-ass and formidable women can be. This is my homage to that. Taking a beloved, iconic male character and making them female.
Finally, I’ve always been a somewhat conservative person. Especially in the way I present myself and the way I dress. Provocative is not a word one would usually associate with me. There is nothing wrong with being provocative, it’s just not a choice I’ve made. However, as 47 approaches, I’m having fun with the tux, and with that, I’m learning to care less and less about what others think of me. I don’t think wearing nothing under a tux jacket in a few photos is going to have too many people clutching their pearls. Nor should it bring into question my morals and values. And if you think it does, then perhaps you ought to get yourself a sexy little get-up and live a little. I know who I am. Life is too short to live by a self-assigned set of rules.
My “Woman in a Tux” shoot isn’t until mid-August. In the meantime, enjoy some of the Bond-themed photos.