My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches from Just the Other Side of Young

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When men stop making lecherous catcalls and Spanx get comfortable in your lingerie drawer, when marketers target you for Activia instead of $200 premium denim, when you have to start wearing makeup to get that “I’m not wearing any makeup” glow and are “ma’amed” outside the Deep South, it may dawn on you that somehow you have crossed an invisible line: You are not the young, relevant, in-the-mix woman you used to be. But neither are you old, or even what you think of as middle-aged. You are no longer what you ...
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Overview

When men stop making lecherous catcalls and Spanx get comfortable in your lingerie drawer, when marketers target you for Activia instead of $200 premium denim, when you have to start wearing makeup to get that “I’m not wearing any makeup” glow and are “ma’amed” outside the Deep South, it may dawn on you that somehow you have crossed an invisible line: You are not the young, relevant, in-the-mix woman you used to be. But neither are you old, or even what you think of as middle-aged. You are no longer what you were, but not quite sure what you are. 

Stephanie Dolgoff calls this stage of a woman’s life “Formerly,” the state of mind and body she herself is in now: Her roaring twenties are behind her, but she’s not in hot flash territory, either. My Formerly Hot Life, showcasing Dolgoff’s wacky and wise observations about this little-discussed flux time, demonstrates that becoming a Formerly is intensely poignant if you’re paying attention, and hilarious even if you’re not. From fashion to friendship, beauty to body image, married sex to single searching, mothering to careering (or both), Dolgoff reveals the upside to not being forever 21—even as you watch the things you once thought were so essential to a happy life go the way of the cassette tape. You may be formerly thin, formerly cool, formerly (seemingly) carefree, formerly cutting-edge, but in reading My Formerly Hot Life you are reminded that you are finally more comfortable in your skin (formerly obsessed with your weight), finally following your instincts (formerly ruled by the opinions of others), and finally happy with where you are (formerly focused on the guy or job you thought would take you where you thought you should be). While you may no longer be as close to the media-machine-generated idea of fabulous, you can do many, many more things fabulously.

Wildly entertaining and inspiring, My Formerly Hot Life proves that once you let yourself laugh about that which is passing, life is richer, more fun, and more satisfying. Despite what you’re led to believe, growing older most certainly means growing better.
 

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  • Stephanie Dolgoff
    Stephanie Dolgoff  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A longtime New York journalist (Glamour, Self, Parenting) underscores in colloquial, self-congratulatory fashion the injustice--and salvation--of being considered over-the-hill. At what point does a woman formerly regarded as hot (i.e., "young, attractive, relevant, in-the-mix") stop getting the once-over by interested observers--and should she care? By her late 30s, early 40s, Dolgoff, a late-married mother of twins, recognized the signs telling her that she was in need of a new self-definition: her body's ability to stay fit had diminished; she was in danger of becoming one of "those women" who choose comfort over style in clothing; and she had lost patience with wasting time on "froth" and trying to please. Ambivalent about donning "shapewear" and undergoing plastic surgery, Dolgoff still professes a desire to look sleek and attractive, happy to have gained distance from her self-loathing as a teen and also nervous because she had to work among hip 20-somethings. In the end, Dolgoff fashions her tight, tongue-in-cheek memoir into a kind of humorous self-help manual to getting by in life.(Aug.)
From the Publisher
“Remember all those deep and important life transitions going on amongst a group of smart, beautiful women that the last, tepid Sex and  the City movie tried—and failed—to capture? Skip the film; Dolgoff’s got it all in her book, and in a far more genuine way....Dolgoff’s style is energetic, funny, highly engaging, and self-aware....Bottom Line: Whether you’re going through the Formerly transition yourself or looking back on it (or catching hints of it down the road), Dolgoff’s book is a wonderful take on the early 40s.” —Newsweek.com

"If you’ve ever hiked up your boobs just to remind yourself how they used to look, secretly hoped the wino on the corner would whistle at you like he used to, or recently realized that they are now making elevator music out of your favorite ‘classic’ tunes, you will love this book. It’s pee-in-your-pants funny and it’s all too true!"– Jenny McCarthy, author of Belly Laughs and Baby Laughs

"My Formerly Hot Life belongs right next to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love for the woman trying to understand and embrace her complicated contemporary life. At the same time as it is laugh-out-loud funny, it will help you discard the old notions and expectations of yourself that no longer fit. Reading it will help you access the hotness you thought was diminishing…but that might just be heating up." —Margo Maine, Ph.D., author The Body Myth: Adult Women and the Pressure to Be Perfect

"What Time has forced Stephanie Dolgoff to give up (pop culture savvy, the ability to easily pull overnighters and/or fit into skinny jeans), she has gained in wit, complexity and insight. Every woman on this side of a Cosabella thong will relate to her take on women’s friendships, plastic surgery, and how to find value in something bigger than your ever-sinking ass."—Wendy Shanker, author of Are You My Guru? How Medicine, Meditation & Madonna Saved My Life

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345521453
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/17/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie Dolgoff
Stephanie Dolgoff writes for many magazines, including Self, Health and Parenting, and blogs for More.com, as well as her own popular blog Formerlyhot.com. She has been a contributing editor at Real Simple and editor-at-large at Parenting, the features director at Self, and the executive editor at Glamour. Among other publications, she’s written for The New York Times, the New York Post, O: The Oprah Magazine, Fitness, Parents, Redbook, and Ladies’ Home Journal. Stephanie Dolgoff lives with her husband and twin girls in Manhattan.
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Read an Excerpt

My Formerly Hot Life

Dispatches from Just the Other Side of Young
By Stephanie Dolgoff

Ballantine Books

Copyright © 2010 Stephanie Dolgoff
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780345521453

Chapter One


Bitch-Slap Birthday


There were certainly signs that something momentous was taking place, but initially, I saw each as an isolated incident:

•Beginning a couple of years ago, salespeople in trendy boutiques, who used to swirl around me like bees over a puddle of orange soda, could no longer be bothered. Evidently they saw me as someone who wouldn’t (or plain shouldn’t) buy their skinny jeans, ?spiky heels or strappy little camis that are ideally worn without a bra.

•Friends arriving in New York City asked me—a lifetime Gotham denizen and supposedly glamorous member of the fashion and lifestyle media—which were the cool places to hang out. I couldn’t think of one that hadn’t been shuttered during the first 90210 era or that wasn’t now a Starbucks.

•I began to have to wear makeup, or at least a decent tinted moisturizer, to get that same “I’m not wearing makeup” look that I used to get by, well, not wearing makeup.

•One time, in a Pilates class, the instructor had us lying on our backs, pressing our shoulders into the mat. She then told us to raise our arms straight up, at a 90-degree angle from the floor, and then reach to the sky, lifting just our shoulders. ?We all did: The bones of my shoulders followed my arms vertically a full four inches toward the ceiling. But the flesh surrounding my shoulder bones remained splooged out on the mat. My skin and the thin layer of adipose tissue that normally traveled with my bones and muscles had clearly decided that Pilates was for losers.

•And the real piercing car alarm of a signal—why this didn’t catch my attention I have no idea—came one morning after too much coffee, as I was rocking out in the kitchen to “One Way or Another,” a Blondie song seared into my neuropathways since adolescence. I was horrified when I realized it was the sound track to a Swiffer commercial, blaring from the TV in the other room. I found it especially humiliating that there was a Swiffer, at that very moment, sitting in my broom closet. What’s more, I had recommended it to friends (!!!). I thought about that: I feel strongly enough about a cleaning implement to have recommended it to friends. It didn’t seem like that long ago I wasn’t spending enough time at my apartment to need to clean.

I began to feel vaguely uneasy, but the reason hadn’t yet gelled. Things were going quite well, and my life was more or less exactly as I’d set it up to be: I had lived my lunatic 20s, throwing myself into my career, scaled many magazines’ mastheads and then calmed the eff down and gotten married in my mid-30s. My husband and I had wonderful twin little girls, I had a great job, good friends, and we all were healthy and solvent. There was no crisis. And yet . . . something was off.

I just didn’t feel like me.

And then, finally, one day just after my 40th birthday, all became blindingly clear.

It was early in the morning and I was on the subway, on my way to work. A sexy stubbly man next to me leaned in and asked me for the time. I braced myself for the pickup attempt I felt sure was to follow. “Eight-forty,” I replied tersely, careful not to offer even a hint of encouragement in my tone.

And then . . . nothing. Nada. Bubkes. He may have said, “Thanks.” I don’t remember. I do remember that he went back to his book. Apparently, the sexy stubbly guy who asked me for the time simply needed to know the time. He wanted information, not to have sex with me. Imagine! I was shocked. Shocked! And internally embarrassed. ?Just who the hell did I think I was Well, I’ll tell you who I thought I was! I thought I was who I had always been: a hot chick, damn it! Big hair, big boobs, big personality, a young woman who (not so terribly long ago) had reason to adopt a slightly defensive posture when men asked her superficially innocent questions on public transportation. (In fact, I met the man who is now my husband on the subway.) I was hardly a supermodel, but hey, even if I wasn’t a particular person’s type, my general appeal was irrefutable. After a few decades of believing this about myself—and usually being reacted to as if it was so—being an attractive young woman simply became part of what I was and how I navigated the world.

But in that instant, an energy-saver bulb reluctantly flickered on over my head, and I got it. Boy, did I ever get it. I was no longer “all that,” perhaps no longer even a little of “that,” whatever “that” is. No wonder things didn’t feel right! I didn’t feel like me anymore because I wasn’t me, at least not the me I had always been.

I’m not talking about one guy’s opinion, of course. In retrospect, all the indications that my head-turner days were receding in the rear view were there (in addition to the aforementioned, fewer men who drink 40s on apartment stoops made vile sucking noises as I walked by; and I was ma’amed on several occasions when I was not in the Deep South). Together, along with all the other signs that had nothing to do with my looks, it made sense. Over the last few years, while I’d been busy working and having twins and not sleeping and getting peed on and eating and yelling at my husband and maybe not taking such good care of myself—and oh, yes, that pesky passage of time thing—I’d become a perfectly nice-looking 40-year-old working mom doing the best she can. Which is totally not the same as a hot chick. ?That in itself is not a problem. The problem was that my self-definition had yet to catch up with the reality of what the world saw when it looked at me.

Lucky for me, I had my then-4-year-old daughter, Vivian, at home to give my self-definition a good frog-march forward. That very same evening, ?she snuggled close to me on the chair-and-a-half in her bedroom while I brushed her hair after her bath. Abruptly, she turned to me.

“Mommy, what are those?” she asked, her face just millimeters from mine, ?so close that her eyes were crossing. She was fixated on my nose.

“What are what, honey?”

“Those. Those round things.” We’d been over this. That Japanese book, The Holes in Your Nose, about nostrils and boogers and which body orifices you might stick your fingers in and which you are firmly discouraged from sticking your fingers in, had long been a favorite in our house. I reminded her that they were my nostrils and that she had them, too.

“No, not those. Those smaller ones. Some of them have little hairs growing from them.”

Sigh. Vivian, of course, was referring to my pores, which in the last couple of years had been expanding like crop circles on my face. I’d hoped no one had noticed the little hairs. I can only see them in the 153 magnification mirror I masochistically keep in the bathroom.

I felt that familiar wave of . . . not shame, not humiliation, exactly—you can hardly be ashamed of your pores in front of your child—but of what I’d imagine a toad would feel if he were cognizant of being dissected: laid bare, with the cool, objective, curious eyes of a scientist seeking data. This same scenario had repeated itself many times in the last year with little variability, except regarding which of my previously unremarked-upon flaws was being scrutinized.

So I did what I did the time her sister, Sasha, pointed out—entirely without judgment—that my belly looked like a tushy on the front of my body, or the time she said that there were bumpy blue worms under the skin of my legs: I chuckled wisely and said something mature about how bodies are fascinating and change as they get older and went and got the 153 magnification mirror and showed Vivian her own (invisible to the naked eye) pores. I then explained the function of pores in cooling the body. Vivian was riveted. I was proud of myself for being such a good mommy, for recognizing and acting on one of those “teachable moments” you read about in the parenting magazines.

And then she asked this:

“But why would there be hairs in your pores?”

Yeah, you know, Vivian, I’d like to know the same *(^&(*$@*&^ thing!!! Maybe it’s because there is no God, Vivian. Maybe it’s because your mommy did something really, really naughty in a former life. Maybe because the body is just randomly gross for no reason and we’re all basically still monkeys and some things are simply better examined from a distance. “I just don’t know, sweetheart,” I answered. ?And then I put her to bed, and took the 153 magnification mirror with me to see what I could do with a tweezer.

That pair of entirely un-fun epiphanies indicated that there was a seismic, unacknowledged transition afoot. It felt like a smack upside the head and a relief at the same time. I didn’t know what I was turning into, exactly. I didn’t act, look or feel what I’d imagine a middle-aged person would look, act or feel like, and I certainly wasn’t old. I just knew that I wasn’t what I used to be. I had been unsubtly hot, and now, I supposed, I wasn’t. I began jokingly calling myself Formerly Hot. ?At least I had a name (albeit one I made up) for that strange, uneasy, dissonant feeling I was having, and why I was having it.

Formerly Hot. Yes, that felt right, and it made me laugh at myself, which seemed the better alternative to standing in front of the mirror scrutinizing my multiplying crow’s-feet. And although I didn’t yet grasp the extent of this new state of affairs, I had a feeling that there was much more going on than the blush falling off the rose, and that I couldn’t be the only one experiencing something like it. If years of writing and editing stories for women’s magazines has taught me anything, it’s that if you’re going through something, odds are excellent you’re not that special—quite often in a good, comforting way.

I began to carry my new self-definition—that of Formerly—tentatively around with me like a just-in-case sweater, and threw it over my shoulders whenever I had that chilly feeling of being an adult “tween”—i.e., too old to be young but too young to be the kind of person who asks about the availability of parking at her destination before agreeing to go. “Formerly” fit nicely, and now that I had a name for it, I found myself tripping over evidence of my transition everywhere I went and in every interaction I had.

It quickly became clear that no longer being hot was merely the most obvious Formerly I was experiencing. I was also Formerly Groovy, Formerly Relevant and Formerly In-the-Know. I noticed that marketers had stopped trying to sell me cutting-edge, exciting sparkly things and tried to get me to take my children on a Disney cruise or consider baking with Splenda. Physically I felt fit and well (if lumpy and misshapen from childbearing), but I had lost enough energy for it to be noticeable; I no longer felt like staying out all night, and the truth was, I really wasn’t sure I could party past 2:00 am these days even if I wanted to. I liked to get out and do things, but I needed a guarantee it was going to be more fun than staying home, or else why bother? I wasn’t crotchety, yet I was irked by things that I used to let roll off me, like rude people and having to sleep on a futon. I started a blog about this, formerlyhot.com, and it clearly struck a chord. I and my agemates were formerly a lot of things, a big bunch of Formerlies. It was a veritable groundswell.

Still, the transition to Formerly was, and is, a process, and for quite some time there were moments I’d forget that I was a Formerly entirely, or that any time had passed at all, really, only to be snapped back to reality. One time on the train (again on the train!) I saw Mike, a guy I knew 15 years ago. He was a bandmate of a guy I was dating at the time, and he looked precisely as he did when I’d last seen him, across a nasty basement club on Bleecker Street that no longer exists: thick-framed retro-nerd glasses, the kind that only the least nerdy among us can pull off. He was short but had a swagger, and always seemed to feel that he was more talented than the rest of his band and that no one realized how egregiously they were holding him back. He had his axe strapped to his back, which I took as a good sign—perhaps he’d made it as a working musician, despite the odds.

I snaked across the crowded car to say hi, but the closer I got, the clearer it became: It wasn’t Mike, but Mike 2.0, the 2009 model of Mike. It was the guy who is now playing the role of Mike—the short, somewhat arrogant guy in the band who is a friend of someone’s boyfriend. He was Mike’s replacement. The real Mike, wherever he was, probably no longer looked or acted like Mike. I just knew deep in my gut that the life this guy was living mirrored Mike’s in every way, except with a few new bells and whistles, like a nylon backpack contraption to hold his guitar (as opposed to those heavy hard cases they used to carry back in the ’90s) and an iPod instead of a Walkman. It was entirely possible that he was wearing Mike’s actual motorcycle jacket, as I imagined that Mike’s wife donated it to the Salvation Army when he was out of town selling bathroom fixtures or whatever he now does to pay for, say, his daughter’s speech therapy. It felt as if the real Mike and the real Stephanie, the ones we used to be, were abducted by aliens and simply replaced by the new Mikes and Stephanies who populate the F train just like we used to.

These kinds of old-friend sightings were truly startling to me, but I suppose I needed to learn, again and again, that after several decades, I was in a different life phase. How bizarre that I was excruciatingly aware of every droopy body part, every pucker, each stray hair and both nasal-labial folds on my own person, but I imagined somehow everyone else was frozen in time, going about their lives as if nothing had changed. I mean, I knew they were not, and yet when I saw these updated versions of people I used to know, and was reminded in such a Twilight Zone manner that time marches on, it was unsettling.

Once I realized Mike wasn’t Mike, I saw myself through new Mike’s eyes: He didn’t see the early ’90s hot Stephanie coming toward him through the throng, but some harmless lady in yoga pants and sneakers clearly chosen for function over fashion, carrying a child’s rolled-up collage with glitter and feathers peeking out of the top. He probably thought, I must be blocking the subway doors because I can’t imagine she’d have anything to say to me. ?And it turns out he was right.

The Formerly years hit me when they did because my late 30s were the first chance I had to look up from what I’d been doing and take a breather. I think this is true of many people like me who got on the hamster wheel in high school and kept running until career success or giving birth or something else made us want to (or have to) slow down. ?You don’t feel as if much has changed in some ways—you still look, dress and socialize as you always did, more or less. But you’ve slowly been taking on responsibilities and time has been passing and your parents have been getting creaky and you’ve likely even married and had kids (it’s nice that you’re a cool parent who appreciates the Killers, but time is still passing). I, for one, took each of these things in stride as I experienced them.

No, it wasn’t the milestones I?reached that made me feel older. For me it was when I began to not feel like the me I once was. In my case, my self-image as a young, attractive, relevant, in-the-mix woman started to feel wobbly, and probably affected the way I carried myself and behaved. Perhaps because I didn’t exude as many young, attractive, relevant, in-the mix woman vibes (and because I looked like the overwrought working mom with no time to tweeze her eyebrows that I was), people didn’t treat me as such, and so I didn’t behave as such. It was a self-perpetuating cycle and soon I didn’t recognize myself anymore. It made me feel a little cuckoo.

In actuality, most of the physical changes my body and my face had undergone over the last decade or so were gradual and fairly subtle. My ass, for example, which I’d never really paid attention to because, well, it was behind me, was all of a sudden crying out for a bra—I could literally feel it against the backs of my thighs, threatening to merge with them unless I found a way to lift and separate. ?The people who saw me every day (those would be the people I cared about most, the only ones who should matter) didn’t notice anything different. I looked fine. Each of these little changes (did I mention my upper arms have recently begun to flap in the breeze like Grand Opening flags on a car dealership and that I must daily scan my chin for guy-caliber whiskers or else grow a beard?) didn’t keep me up at night.

But in aggregate, and because they all added up to my being in a brand-new category of person—that of the not-young woman—they bothered me. A lot. Was I really so vain that I cared about what complete strangers thought?

Why, yes, yes I was! Which was yet another blow to my self-definition: After overcoming an eating disorder when I was a young adult, I’d been proud to be someone who didn’t dwell inordinately on my looks. I certainly cared, and I liked to look good, but especially compared to some of the fabulous folks I worked with at various women’s magazines, I didn’t get nuts about it. Now it seemed that this was only because I looked good without having to get nuts about it, not because I was so secure. Ouch.

I quickly learned that being Formerly Hot was not something it was wise to go around complaining about. ?Talking about losing your looks, especially when you’re the main person who notices, smacks of a fishing-for-compliments trip, which was not what I meant to be embarking on. I knew rationally that I looked fine, and if I didn’t, it wasn’t the end of the world. But I wanted to talk about why it sometimes felt as if it was, and about similar shifts in identity—the loss of a self-definition, be it the whiz kid, the wild girl, the people pleaser—I knew from my blog that many people were experiencing. ?The larger life changes (going off to college, getting married, becoming a parent) had been scrutinized, written about and researched to death in the hallowed halls of this country’s most esteemed institutions of higher learning. Not so the more subtle life shifts like the one I was experiencing, which are deceptively difficult to deal with, ?superficial though some of them may appear to be.

Now that I’m a few years into being a Formerly, I get that the phenomenon is about getting older in general and not as much about any specific aspect of it, such as how your looks change. Everyone gets older at the same rate, of course, but ten minutes seems like a squirmy, intolerable hour to my daughters, who are waiting for me to be done with work so I can pay attention to them; to me, it’s a millisecond. Things merely seem more accelerated as you age, and when I think of it that way, the transition to Formerly feels like any other, best dealt with one day at a time.

So I’m a Formerly. What of it? Most of the time, it’s kind of terrific over here on the other side of young. There are legions of us, and we’re an amazingly cool group of women (and men, by the by, with whom we may have even better relationships than when we were younger). By and large, we know our own minds, are done with caring too much about what other people think of our opinions, and can have a good laugh at our own expense. I love being a Formerly because I’m young enough to have fun, and old enough to know what fun really is, as opposed to tossing my head back in maniacal mirth in order to seem like I was having fun because I was young and hot and hence supposed to be having the time of my life. I also know that if I’m not having fun, I can just leave, something that never would have occurred to me when I felt as if I had so much to prove. I’m surrounded with friends who have my back, and the family I’ve built is the family I’ve always wanted. I even like the family I was born into now, because everyone’s had a chance to get over that whole episode with the Cuisinart, which I maintain wasn’t my fault. It’s a tremendous time of life, weird limbo transition between young and old notwithstanding.

I’m even coming to terms with leaving the hot girl behind. Except when I’m not. That would be when I’m venting about it on my blog, fantasizing about some magical way to restore my former fabulousness or whining to my husband, who, fortunately for me, is blind or deluded or smart enough to insist I’m as dewy as the day he met me (for this reason alone I will not divorce him). Clearly, I’m still adjusting, but having so many women around me going through the same thing makes it easier, as does, of course, having a bit of perspective. Conveniently, that comes with age.

Continues...

Excerpted from My Formerly Hot Life by Stephanie Dolgoff Copyright © 2010 by Stephanie Dolgoff. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 32 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 1, 2010

    I thought I was the only one out there...

    Who felt like I wasn't going through a "crisis" per se but a little bump in the road as I approached 40. This book made me realize that, alas, I am not alone! Whew! What a relief! Seriously, this book made me laugh out loud with stories I can definitely relate to. The author is spot-on with how "Formerlies" are feeling and gives the reader a humorous point of view. This is much needed for those of us who are starting to feel our age (or at least close to our age). I recommended this book to all my girlfriends. You WILL NOT be dissapointed!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2010

    Great writing, fun book!

    This is a great read. Stephanie Dolgoff is the fun, self-deprecating, intelligent, and witty friend we all hope to have - I felt this just a few pages in. So many parts of this book resonated with me, a 44-year old mom who can laugh at herself but also kind-of-sort-of wouldn't mind having that immediately apparent youthful glow, stamina, freedom, and general appeal like in the "olden days." I get what she's saying. It's not that we're whining about it. We're simply reflecting in a harmless cultural anthropological way. Is that so wrong? I've recommended the book to all my friends, most of whom discuss these very issues and think the same thoughts - but haven't articulated them quite in the same compelling, clever way the author has. She's a teriffic, seasoned writer and I look forward to reading more of her work.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2010

    Terrific writer with unique and original insights

    Dolgoff is one terrific writer with unique, thought provoking and original insights. I love how her prose sizzles and crackles, and she confronts important and sometimes uncomfortable issues with ease and wit.

    I don't always completely agree with Dolgoff's "formerly" premise -- I prefer to recall the insistence of my adorable Aunt Doris, who likes to say that the best years for a woman are when she's in her 60s. (My Aunt Doris by the way is now a vibrant 82.)

    So who's right, Dolgoff or Doris? Or does it matter anyway? Sometimes it's the dialogue that counts! And Dolgoff delivers this in a big way, with chapter after chapter that makes a woman look at her friends, marriage, career, and kids in novel and compelling ways. Plus she makes it fun on top of that! So, how great is that!

    All I can say: So Stephanie, when is the sequel?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2010

    Formerly yet still Fabulous!

    Stephanie Dolgoff coined the phrase "Formerly Hot" and uses it on her website and in her new book "Formerly Hot, Dispatches from Just the Other Side of Young", and has shown women (and some men) that we are all going through the same thing when we hit our 40's. We're not 25 anymore and we're being slapped in the face with it in little ways that all add up to one big laugh out loud read.
    Stephanie deals with the loss of certain things about her life, all the while keeping her sense of humor and by not taking herself too seriously. We should all take these life lessons from her. As "heartbreaking" as it is when you realize you can no longer wear a strapless bra, Stephanie realizes that being a Formerly is not so bad when know you don't need to drink yourself under the table and go to work with a hangover the next day to be cool. Stephanie finds the bright side to being "just" the other side of young and you'll laugh when you realize you've felt or done the exact same thing, which is when you realize that you really are a Formerly.
    If you're close to or over 40, you'll be amazed at how much this will book parallel your life or at least your thoughts about getting older. Read it, have a good cry, then laugh and just embrace your Formerly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2010

    Finally HOT!

    It is so wonderful to find someone who writes exactly how you think! I have a feeling Stephanie Dolgoff is used to hearing this. There is not one person I know between the ages of 35 and death who have not felt and experienced most of the things she writes about in this book. The fun part is she helps us laugh about it and feel like we're not alone.

    I was never a guy magnet in my 20s. Unlike Stephanie Dolgoff, I was never asked the time for any other reason other than guys wanted the time :( I was attractive enough and even at times beautiful, but not in the Sex in the City way that gets you a night out without having to pay for a single drink. I actually get much more attention today as a 43 yr old mother of 3 than I EVER got in my 20s. I attribute that to knowing myself and being ridiculously confident (something I NEVER was) and all of those other things related to being a 'Formerly' that Stephanie talks about in this book.

    Even though I am far happier with myself now than I ever was when I belonged to that ever so desirable 19-35 demographic, I still went through all of those painful, slow motion at times, "bxxch-slap" realizations that I was no longer the age I felt I was. You know, when you realize that all of the hot new actors (the ones that you respect and can actually act) being touted as the next Pacino or Meryl, could actually be your CHILDREN!!! - NO!!!....yes...sigh.

    Well, thank you Ms. Dolgoff, for saying it and for helping me laugh about it and for still looking pretty darn hot as a formerly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    Ok

    Mediocre. I thought it would be more insightful and longer.

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    Waste of time and money

    Not worth it

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  • Posted February 26, 2011

    Meh

    It was ok I guess. I am around the same age and have some of the same emotions. But this book just came off as whining. Yes she was formerly hot, now she is old. We get it. Read the sample and then move on.

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  • Posted January 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Enjoyable read for both sexes.

    Stephanie Dolgoff's MY FORMERLY HOT LIFE: DISPATCHES FROM JUST THE OTHER SIDE OF YOUNG is an enjoyable read for either men or women in their late thirties and early forties. While women may be able to relate a bit more to the specifics of what Dolgoff writes about, many men will also recognize the value of the author's message, best summed up by "You are getting older; it's ok. You are still you."

    The book is not laugh-out loud funny. It is more a mix of genuine emotion and irreverent personal reflection, but Dolgoff does a wonderful job of blending both so that the emotion is heartfelt and the humor doesn't feel forced. There's occasional profanity, but overall the book is entertaining and well written, with a good mix of long and short chapters mixed up so that there is always a decent breaking point.

    Guys, your wives and girlfriends will enjoy this if they are in the target age group. And when they are done, pick it up and give it a whirl.

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  • Posted August 18, 2010

    Funny and thoughtful-read it in one night

    I loved this book! It is a hilarious and honest take on this stage of my life. The author cleverly articulates and captures what so many of my friends and I are talking about and rather than feeling badly that I am no longer young I ended up feeling powerful and optimistic. I have already bought two more as gifts for my friends.

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  • Posted August 17, 2010

    Not just for Formerlies

    The beauty of Dolgoff's book is that while it speaks directly to the "formerly" demographic, its message applies and appeals to people of all ages trying to navigate the murky path between one clearly defined phase of life and the next. As someone in her mid-twenties, I continuously feel like a "tween" of sorts as well - no longer the fresh-faced recent college grad, but not quite the settled and satisfied adult I hope I'll someday be. Not only could I relate to this aspect of the My Formerly Hot Life, but I was also heartened by Dolgoff's assurances that life is so much more satisfying on the other side of young. In a youth obsessed culture that leads one to believe that life ends at the age of 35, My Formerly Hot Life highlights the upsides of aging, while still having a laugh (or 10) at the downsides.

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  • Posted August 15, 2010

    Eat Pray Pluck

    Dolgoff's book My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches from Just the Other Side of Young is like Eat. Pray. Love. for people who can't go on a year long "finding yourself" journey to cool places. Dolgoff explores with tongue-in-cheek the transition from young to not quite old. If you remember that there once was a Berlin Wall and also can't figure out how Ace of Bace was ever popular you're going to laugh.

    Chapter 9 will resonate with many our fellow dieters out there. The Big Metabolic F*** You, or TBMFU, addresses the issue of being Formerly Thin. There's no denying that as we age we have to do more and more just to maintain the weight we've always been unhappy with. It was comforting to find that nature is in fact flipping the bird at every woman in their forties. Not just us.

    The book is getting a bit of backlash right now because who knows, maybe a woman can't lament about her looks without getting backlash. But Formerly Hot isn't all that different than the wildly successful Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Both books are about women in their late thirties coming to terms with life.

    In Eat Pray Love Author Elizabeth Gilbert spent one whole year alone in exotic locations with gurus and stuff. The book is her quest to find out what the hell is up with carbohydrates, god, and relationships. It is so successful that now Julia Roberts plays Gilbert in the movie.

    But here's the thing. Most woman can't indulge in a year long journey of self discovery. Most women are like Dolgoff, navigating aging and the meaning of life while knee deep in Legos and permission slips. If Eat Pray Love is the inner journey of a woman going through major transitions My Formerly Hot Life is the outer journey of a woman at that the same point in life. Yes we're concerned about our soul's 'n junk, our purpose in the universe, and being in the moment but we're also concerned about the amount of time plucking stuff is suddently taking.

    Stephanie Dolgoff understands that "hotness" isn't the same as as searching for "the meaning of life." She treats hotness with a light touch. So go find your guru with Eat Pray Love and then have a little My Formerly Hot Life for dessert. The two books are nice companions to one another.

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  • Posted August 16, 2010

    Formerly hot? Nah, still smoking!

    This memoir/guidebook is a witty and wise companion to take with you over the hill--whether you feel you're headed up or down.
    Stephanie Dolgoff will not only make you laugh, but appreciate a new perspective on getting older, and better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 14, 2010

    Im a FORMERLY---who knew?

    Im the first to admit that INITIALLY I wasnt sure about this book. Im rocking my forties, happier than ever and pretty damn sure that the fact Im finally comfortable in my own skin makes me more attractive than ever. From the INSIDE out.
    That said, I love the author's humor (Im a big fan of her blog) so I gave the book a chance anyway.
    I laughed. I cried. It was better than my therapist.

    Stephanie writes about what so many are thinking and yet with far more humor than the majority of us could.

    I devoured her book and was (am?) ready for the second half.

    Dispatches from the definitely no longer young.
    Ill need the levity then Im sure.

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  • Posted August 14, 2010

    funny and insightful

    In her new book, Formerly Hot, author Stephanie Dolgoff vividly relates comic and poignant anecdotes from her life to pin-point a transitional phase in life that many of us felt, but have not put into words. The reader ends up feeling that they have had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with a hilarious, warm and smart friend.

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  • Posted August 12, 2010

    A Humorous Reality Check for Women

    Stephanie Dolgoff writes with outspoken certainty and brings a reality check to women who are denying their maturity. It's time to wake up and smell the roses, and she puts them right in the face! Stephanie knows just how it is to realize that aging has snuck up on a woman, and she gives encouragement to those who are scared to admit it has happened.

    Many women are still beautiful even though they feel their best years are behind them. Stephanie helps them see that they should appreciate their beauty, inside and out, and get comfortable in their new stage in life.

    As I read "My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches From just The Other Side of Young", I was thrilled to see that someone else had thought similar thoughts and felt similar emotions. It helped me relax about my own fears and gave me courage to accept myself in my new self.

    It's a fact of life that we are going to age, whether we have botox, tummy tucks, or whatever crazy ideas are out there to help women keep their youthful looks. Actually, some women would do better to accept their aging looks as aging has been known to even enhance looks. But life isn't all about looks, as much as it has been pounded into our psyche by the media. We can't stop the aging process simply by having cosmetic surgeries.

    There is a pride to being an older woman that can only come if aging is accepted and embraced. Stephanie does an excellent job of pointing this out with her humorous take on her own changes. Be the best of who you are and do it with a smile and a laugh at your own insecurities seems to be her message.

    This book was a good read and much appreciated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2010

    Review: My Formerly Hot Life

    At first glance of the title, you may believe that My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches From Just the Other Side of Young by Stephanie Dolgoff is a book packed with superficial notions about aging women, how age (and age alone) determines a "hot" life and that this book will only perpetuate the ageist and sexist societal ideologies towards women over the age of 40. I know that was my first impression without even reading the first page. However, as someone who should know better, I quickly learned something: don't judge a book by it's cover.

    Although you're going to find the cliched quips about aging sagging skin, slowing metabolisms, newly developed crows feet, and the trial and errors of clothing a middle-aged body, My Formerly Hot Life goes beyond skimming the superficial surface of growing older and explores the other side of young in much more in-depth way. Dolgoff tackles the important issues like parenting, marriage, "having it all," and healthy vs. unhealthy friendships with a good dose of wisdom and wit.

    As we age and take on other lifestyles and responsibilities we say goodbye to our old identities, hence we become what Dolgoff coins as a "Formerlie" - formerly hot, formerly wild, formerly single and childless, etc... But while many of us may look back at our former selves with bittersweet nostalgia and wonder what happened to our youth, Dolgoff reminds us that the best part of life is still to come. With age comes more confidence, more wisdom, and a more carefree attitude about the ridiculous things in life, like trying to mold ourselves to the ideal standards of our youth-obsessed culture. "Formerlies" are neither young nor old. Their priorities and values have shifted from their younger days and they have a much better sense of who they are and what kind of life they want to lead. They have discarded unhealthy relationships and have a close circle of beloved family and friends that brighten their days with love and laughter. Formerlies are women like me and probably like you, women trying to navigate our way through lives that are filled with countless responsibilities and pressures and just doing the best we can. You can longingly look back at the hot life you once had all you want. But, if you look back too often, you'll likely miss out on the fabulous life you lead today.

    Via Aimee @ www.aintyomamasblog.com

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2010

    Entertaining and Thought-Provoking!,

    I would highly recommend this book by Stephanie. It is funny, enlightening and really makes you think about different experiences as you age. The chapters are an easy read, and this book can be read in one sitting or easily picked up when you have free time. The author writes about her own experiences, but most of us can relate to so many of the stories as we blast through our twenties and finally settle into careers, marriages and families. The way she examines the reasons behind why we do certain things are funny, but also though provoking. There is always a touch of humor in each new chapter in the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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