The biggest difference between men and women improvisers has nothing to do with what they do on stage.
On the way to workshops on Sunday, Pete and I were discussing the great disparity in product usage between men and women. This is not a new discussion or a radical observation...but it's something I've thought about more often as I've zipped through my last couple of birthdays.
Improvisation is—especially in newer improv cities—a young person's game. If you haven't moved somewhere with the intent of making a living at it, having a life means moving rehearsals and shows down the priority list. So the great majority of folks on stage are in their 20s and early to mid-30s.
I don't consider myself particularly vain, and—beyond practicing my next age out loud long before the digits change just so it doesn't freak me out when I say it for the first time—I've never been age obsessed (or age appropriate). As girls go, I'm one of the low maintenance ones.
But lately, it's occurred to me that I have at least a few years on almost everyone I do scenes with. The last thing I want is for audiences to think, "Man. Must be weird for those guys to do improv with their mom." I don't know that men have the same concerns. Just as there tend to be more men in improv troupes, they also seem to stay longer.
It's the Hollywood cliche—men get distinguished, women get old.
It's just weird that I feel the same thing creeping into my consciousness. And I live in Kansas City, for criminy's sake.
So suddenly, moisturizer (specially formulated for different body parts) is a bigger part of my routine. I use five different volumizing products. Because of stupid rosacea, there are three different skin products (plus one for zits YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO FREAKIN' GET AT MY AGE), and no chance of going on stage without makeup. And the biggest benefit to working out besides my general health is that I look about 10 years younger than I did when I was heavier.
I hate being the kind of person who thinks about this kind of thing. It's relatively new to me, so I feel like I obsess about it a little. It's not that I'm ashamed of or uncomfortable with my age. I'm happier, more confident and more comfortable with myself than I've ever been.
But every now and then, I wonder how much longer I can get away with this life.