"Haters gonna hate," as they say, so I wasn't at all surprised by the snarky twitter-flogging Madonna took over her halftime show. Personally, I love Madge for the fearless way she lives, loves and rocks, and I think every Baby Boomer out there could take a lesson from the way she carried herself on Sunday. She took what could have been a midlife crisis and made it a halftime show.
Here's how you can do the same:
1) Know who you are and dress accordingly.
Madonna's always had her own style, and it's not thumbless gloves and over-bangled accessories. It's Madonna. In her 20's, that meant scrappy street urchin hoochie. In her 50's, it means designer sexy regal. Hoochie's been done. Shock value? She's over it. She doesn't need the cone bras anymore, and she's smart enough to avoid potential wardrobe malfunctions.
Remember, the goal isn't to look younger; the goal is be ageless.
2) Stumbling doesn't scare you once you've learned to recover.
If you blinked, you missed the fraction of a second where Madonna stumbled on a step in her platform boots. There was no collective gasp and not even a fleeting beat of hesitation or panic on her face.
That's how it is when you've already stumbled ten thousand times in your life. You have gut-level faith in your ability to recover, and that confidence calms everyone else on stage, in the audience, around the conference table or the dinner table.
3) Bring on the backup dancers.
I'm trying to avoid the obvious joke about how much easier it is to do a double cartwheel when your head is between the legs of a gorgeous hunk in a toga. The point is: You know what you're capable of. Set your ego aside, recruit a support strong network, and let them do the heavy lifting while you provide star power.
4) Don't be afraid to do your thing next to the younger set.
Madonna is old enough to be the biological mother of Nicki Minaj and anyone in M.I.A., but she looked right at home doing the Party Rock Shuffle, because she owned it. No one else on that stage could have delivered the line "I'm sexy and I know it" with her standing there, an icon for sexy -- and for knowing it! She didn't lose a thing allowing them their chance to shine, because she knows she earned her place as main attraction.
You're not competing with the puppies in your office or on Match.com. You have nothing to prove. They do.
5) Show up.
It was an act of sheer bravery for Madonna to take that stage. She knew before she started, there would be snark.
NPR's Linda Holmes nailed it: "What was she supposed to be at this point? Invisible? Was she supposed to abandon the dance pop to which she so palpably loved shaking her shoulders... and start singing standards? Would that not have invited a different kind of criticism, that she had gone all cruise-ship on us?"
This is the biggie. There's a tangible undertow in our culture that sucks older women into invisibility. Don't go gently, girlfriends. Strike a pose.
That's how aging agelessly is done.
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