“Old age ain’t no place for sissies” Bette Davis


 “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” 

Bette Davis

Beautiful Bette Davis as Margo Channing in All About Eve

I heard someone say once that the ‘beast’ known as Hollywood forgives everything from a small indiscretion, to a huge scandal even a month at a Betty Ford clinic but not birthdays. This resonates so well with a quote attributed to the great Miss Bette Davis, one of my favourite actresses of all time, who said that “Old age ain’t no place for sissies”. Assuming that those were indeed her words, it’s likely that she spoke while thinking of all the female Hollywood movie stars, including herself, who beyond the age of being able to pass for a smouldering temptress, a Femme Fatale, a daughter or a woman that men would leave their wives for, were simply left to play the part of being a reminder of times past, of Hollywood’s golden age.

Of course, not all of us are Hollywood movie stars but the one thing we do have in common is that we all have birthdays. In fact, mine was a couple of months ago and every year on this day, up until a few years ago, I would say in a very dramatic Greta Garbo-like fashion “I just want to be left alone” and really mean it. I went through a midlife crisis at the age of 24, convinced that my best years were behind me. I also lacked focus and was in a state of perpetual sorrow, always dissatisfied with everything, in particular, the way I looked. I didn’t like myself very much and I was definitely far from being happy.

Something changed for me 3 years ago when I finally refined my look, became more comfortable in my own body and started appreciating life and what I had rather than yearning for what I didn’t! Now that I’m older and perhaps a little bit wiser I know, that happiness is the key to ageing, a real miracle worker better than the most expensive anti-wrinkle cream. The trick, of course, is finding what makes you truly happy, in my case, it’s definitely writing, taking ballet lessons, going on a date with my husband and buying a 1930s dress at a bargain price. 🙂

The great Miss Davis said in an interview from 1983 “This, life begins at 40 is a perfect nonsense. It does not. 60 was pretty rough. I was given a very huge birthday party. On my 70th birthday, I put on blackface, an Afro black wig, all black clothes and had a black funeral wreath on the door for my guests. 70 is awesome. I love to work this is really what my survival is.”

Thank you to my amazing husband Gregory Michael King for the amazing pictures and for being so incredibly supportive of everything I do! Beautiful 1930s inspired dress from 1683 Atelier.


vintage fashion blog

“Old age ain’t no place for sissies” Bette Davis

Vintage fashion blog

“Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” In the picture by Gregory Michael King, I’m wearing a 1930s inspired gown from 1683 Atelier and couture hat-piece from Veroni Deco.

vintage fashion blogger


4 Responses
  • Avatar
    Agnes Czeiger
    August 1, 2020

    loved your article. I was looking for Bette Davis’ quote on OLD AGE (can never get it word perfect) about which I was writing as i am getting a lot of humorous material together with Covid. I heard her say something along those lines in an interview, in which she definitely said it is not for ‘sissies’. Then she was well into her later years and just recovering from the last bout of illness which made her look thin, little and very sadly far from the Margo Channing character in which she was simply brilliant. As for fashion, sorry, no help. Have been manufacturing ladies fashion for some 40 years, But out of it for 20 years and never followed it for my self. Always wore what i liked and/or what i thought suited me. And still do, although i have added a lot of comfort and hiding width elements into my taste. /although i must admit i love costume films and have been enjoying Downton Abbey for just that. And the setting. And the actors of course. enjoyed the chat. stay safe. ac

    • Dominique de Merteuil
      Dominique de Merteuil
      August 5, 2020

      Thank you!

      Bette Davis was fabulous till the very end. I LOVE watching old interviews with her as she had such a sense of humour!


  • Avatar
    August 25, 2018

    Love it!
    I also went through a midlife crisis in my mid-20s! I’m in my early 40s and much happier with who I am and how I look!

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