01/22/2012 07:49 am ET Updated Mar 23, 2012

The New Post 50: Raquel Welch Vs. Aunt Bee

I'm officially wearing my grandmother's panties.

If you're a female, and you live long enough, it will happen to you.

I never thought, when I was very young and knew everything and had tight skin all over my body, I would one day wake up in the middle of the night starring down at a roll of belly fat and would find myself wearing white cotton panties the size of circus tents.

When I was just a little kid -- maybe back in the very, very late '50s -- I have memories of my sweet matronly grandmother (preparing to get dressed in the early morning) laying her panties on her bed alongside her soft cotton floral dress and roll-up hose. I remember staring at those panties thinking you could house a family of raccoons in there. The elastic alone could stretch to Montana.

When did I become my grandmother? She was barely 50 at the time, but in my child-like mind, my grandmother could have been 65 or 70 or whatever "old" was back then. She dressed her age (kind of like Aunt Bee from The Andy Griffith Show), and I never -- not once -- saw her wear slacks or jeans. She always wore a nicely pressed dress that fell well below her knees with an apron tied around her waist and those stockings (no garter needed) that she rolled up and tied around the top of her shins. She was the best grandmother in the whole world because she cared for me and protected me and loved me unconditionally. Her underwear was just big.

It's the year 2012, and I'm a grandmother now but times have changed. Grandmothers today certainly don't look or dress like Aunt Bee. They look more like Raquel Welch. Fifty is supposedly the new 30 and 60 is the new 40, but what gives a woman's real age away is the underwear she keeps. I had been wearing those uncomfortable bikini panties since my early 20's and -- sometime not long after I turned 50 -- I had my first serious encounter with wedgies. When you're out shopping, you try to ignore them. You begin walking like a model prancing down a runway being chased by a rabid dog hoping to un-wedge them, but it's hopeless. You make your way to the back of the store or somewhere between two racks of clothes so you can discretely tug at your jeans hoping to dislodge the cotton stuck between your "cheeks."

I'd had enough so I recently broke down and bought one of those eight-pack packages of white cotton "full-figured" women's panties in Walmart hoping the elastic would stay above my waist covering my belly button rather than the bikini type with the elastic that turns itself over four times and settles just above the vagina. I don't date so it clearly doesn't matter how these panties look on me. Who's gonna see them? My husband Buffoon hasn't seen me naked since shortly after the birth of our fourth child (who is over 25) so who do I have to impress?

It's the little things that remind us that we're not in our 40's anymore.

First it's the little subtle lines that show up around the eyes, then the cellulite crawls under your chin giving you the first signs of a turkey neck, then it makes its way to your hips, legs and arms while sneaking in around your mid-section showing off that attractive belly fat. Then it's the dry skin on your legs that make you look like your mother was an alligator.

And, oh yes, the jowls. Jowls are precious when you're three to six months old. Not so much after you start to eat solid foods... especially over the age of 50.

And, please, somebody destroy those hip-hugger jeans! I couldn't have been more thrilled when Jessica Simpson wore her "mom jeans" even though the media made fun of her. God bless you, Jessica! I was rooting for an adorable mom jean role model. After you have your precious baby, Miss Jessica, you can officially wear your mom jeans again with pride. I'm begging.

There are answers for some of these unfortunate signs of aging: moisturizer, Botox, facelifts, exercise, diets, liposuction, but there is one thing that all those tricks can't change. One day, young ladies -- somewhere between the age of 50 and 65 -- you will be wearing my grandmother's panties. I promise.

What we really need is an Aunt Bee's fashionable panty line. Put me down for five packs. Mercy!