Thursday, September 13, 2007

middle age is a strange country

I was examining the $1 sale rack at Gail's Consignments shop the other day, and a couple of other women were in there trying on clothes.
"Ooh! Wait til you see this!" said the woman in the dressing room. She presented herself shortly thereafter.
"Oh girl, you wrong," said her friend. "It's cute, but you wrong. That dress makes you look like a ho."
The woman in the dress protested, insisting that the dress would be the Platonic ideal of Saturday night outfits once accessorized correctly. (I'm paraphrasing.) I pretended I wasn't paying attention to their conversation, but then her friend looked over and asked me what I thought.

It was indeed a cute as hell dress and she looked great in it, but it was an example of a dilemma I feel caught on the horns of myself here lately. The dress, a sleek, sleeveless black chiffon affair, came to about mid-thigh. The woman wearing it, though she had a great figure and good legs, looked to be in her forties, and I suspected she was somebody who looks younger than she is. And I'm just not sure of what the cutoff age for short dresses is.

Ageing boomers on daytime talk shows will rave on about how fifty is the new thirty or some such shit, and how women should wear what they want at whatever age they are. I agree. But I also think many of the short skirted, over-made up women who are getting their age on look vain and silly. They look like they are hanging on to youth with bleeding fingernails. Ageing gracefully does not mean managing to pass as young, in my mind, so I gave all my short skirts to Goodwill. I'm just not comfortable in them anymore. I'm not a rock star, so it's not appropriate for my social milleu.

I told them I liked the dress, but I asked the wearer if she was sucking in her gut at all. She admitted she was. I advised her to find something more comfortable, because sucking in your gut gets old. But she turned to look at herself in the mirror, without holding her gut in, and I couldn't see any difference. That woman and that dress looked like they belonged together. She did not look like an oldster who was trying too hard. I really hated to hear her friend talk her out of buying it. But I understood that the clash of the woman's age with the dress caught my eye, and it would the eyes of others too. And those folks might run their mouths, and who wants to deal with that while trying to have fun on a Saturday night?

And isn't it interesting how it's much more tactful for a friend to say "That dress makes you look like a ho" than it is to say "You're too old for that look."

Middle age is a strange country.


Wyatt and I went to Chattanooga over Labor Day weekend. This drought has turned Fall Creek Falls into Fall Creek Dribble, as evidenced in the above photo.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'am a young 55year old I appreciated that story being written; for life is truly in the eye of the beholder, male or female. bob