As I creep onward towards old age (which is always 10 years older than you currently are), I am cognizant of looking and acting my age. In other words, avoiding the embarrassment of either dressing and/or acting younger than I am (by wearing tight Pink brand t-shirts) or older than I am (by wearing baby blue polyester slacks). Just like with Goldilocks, it has to be just right.
It’s a never-ending struggle. I recently read an article about supposedly inappropriate attire for anyone over the age of 30 (which I guess to some marketers is ANCIENT). I agreed with some (skin-tight sparkly pants, crop tops), though I think someone, say 32, could get away with these things. However, I vehemently disagreed with others (You can’t wear hoop earrings after the age of 30? Seriously? I am hanging on to my hoop earrings until they pry them out of my cold, dead hands.) Who decides what’s appropriate for what age?
Having said all of the above, I do have a fear of not recognizing that, while I might think something is cute, it might not be appropriate for someone my age. I have instructed my daughters-in-law to gently tell me when I’m embarrassing my grandkids. Not that it would bother my grandkids one single bit to tell me I look silly. Grandkids keep us honest.
Bill and I have had several conversations about the way we see older people dressed, particularly in Arizona. Is there an age at which one suddenly starts thinking maroon polyester with white shoes looks good? Or do you just finally reach the age where you don’t care what looks good, but what you do care about is not having to iron or send clothes to the dry cleaner? Hence, polyester.
I confess what started me thinking about this all was perfume. I used to wear fragrance regularly. My favorite was Beautiful by Estee Lauder. In fact, a number of years ago, Bill bought me an entire fragrance ensemble that included scented body lotion, powder, and spray cologne. I would shower, put on the body lotion, and spray on the cologne. I’m pretty sure I didn’t smell like a French prostitute.
However, at some point, as part of the aging process, I started finding colognes problematic. To be more specific, they made me sneeze and caused my head to begin to ache. So I stopped wearing any fragrance stronger than Bath & Body Works body wash and matching lotion.
While cleaning my bedrooms in preparation for company, I came across a nearly full bottle of Beautiful spray cologne and body lotion. What the heck, I thought. I will wear it to church. So I put some lotion on my arms and legs. Hmmm. A bit strong, perhaps, but not too bad. I then applied the cologne. I even did it the way you’re supposed to in order to prevent too heavy an application – I sprayed it in the air and let it settle on me.
Bill and I got into the car to drive to church, and my head began to ache and my nose started tickling. Oh no, I thought. I smell like one of those old ladies that you sit next to at church and can barely refrain from sneezing. Or moving away. Only I couldn’t move away from myself. I fretted about it all throughout Mass, but no one seemed to mind. Perhaps it dissipated. Or people were being kind to the old lady. Me.
However, after Mass, as we were walking to our car, I noticed a woman about my age or older wearing bright pink six-inch stiletto high heels with a platform toe and ruffles up to her ankles. She honestly could barely walk. She couldn’t lift her feet. She had to sort of shuffle. It made me feel better about the way I smelled. I wish I could have sat next to her.
She apparently doesn’t have grandchildren.
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