Saturday, 15 March 2008

6 Years Older

Shortly after Christmas, one of my friends asked if I would like to go and see a play with her. She and her husband are both retired, so she normally goes to the theatre with her husband, but he didn't want to see this particular play. I hadn't been to the theatre for several months, so I jumped at the chance. She said that she would book the tickets the following day. I received an email from her the next day, confirming that she had done as she had promised, but I was horrified to read that she had bought 2 senior citizens' tickets! She said that she would lend me Crimplene trousers and a headscarf, if I needed them!

My eyes widened in horror. Did I look older than my years? Would I pass for 60? I was still a few months away from 55! I suddenly saw the humour in the situation and laughed aloud. My husband reacted in the same way - disbelief and then laughter. My friend had also said, in her email, that if I changed my mind about going to see the play, her husband would go instead, so I assumed that this was the reasoning behind my reduced rate ticket. If her husband had to go instead of me, they didn't want to have to pay the full price for the second ticket.

I told some of my other friends about my predicament, when we next met up for coffee, and they were dismayed for 5 seconds, before startling the other customers, in the local cafe, with their uncontrollable laughter. One friend was so amused, that she had to make a dash for the toilet, in order to avoid an unwelcome accident in her clean undergarments. She was rather unfortunate, in that the toilet on our floor was out of order, and she was forced to mince down a flight of stairs to the ground floor. She assured us that she got there in time and we assured her that we believed her.

I emailed another friend of mine, explaining about my little dilemma, thinking that she too would find it amusing, but she was quite indignant on my behalf. She couldn't understand what my other friend was thinking about and very kindly said that I would have more chance of passing for a student than a senior citizen. She is a friend indeed!

Privately, I was slightly worried about presenting a reduced rate ticket at the theatre. What would make me feel worse, to be challenged or not?

I tried to reassure myself that I didn't have to worry, but, as a middle-aged woman, I was more accustomed to trying to avoid looking older than my years, so I felt that I'd been presented with a bit of challenge. I considered my options and was forced to acknowledge, on reflection, that I had already given myself a weensy head start towards appearing older than my years, because I'd recently put on some weight, gained some unsightly facial hair and I had begun to groan each time I collapsed heavily into a comfy seat. Perhaps I didn't have too big a problem after all.

I tried to conjure up some mental images of older women, from television programmes. Should I go for the Nora Batty look, with the extra-wide-fitting, flat shoes and wrinkly stockings? I could buy a skirt with an elasticated waist, a baggy long cardigan and a shapeless, beige, knee-length showerproof mac'. I didn't have time to knit myself a hat, but I could commandeer the tea cosy, as long as I sewed up the holes for the spout and handle and I could make the time to knit myself a pair of mittens to match.

On the other hand, perhaps I could better achieve my aims by adopting the attitude of Marina, a supporting character in Last of the Summer Wine, who played the part of Howard's blowsy, blonde girlfriend. In the programme, her character succeeded admirably in highlighting her advancing years, by trying to dress as she had probably dressed 40 years before. She wore outsize earrings, low cut tops, micro mini skirts and tottered about in 6 inch stilettos. It would, no doubt, be tremendous fun to dress up like that, but I would probably catch my death of cold and break one of my arthritic hips. I reluctantly dismissed that thought from my head.

After much ridiculous deliberation, I decided that the only effort I was actually prepared to make, to try and appear the necessary 6 years older, was to perch my wire-framed reading glasses on the end of my nose. If anyone dared to challenge me, I would pretend that I hadn't heard what they had said, call them 'dear' and tell them to speak up and stop mumbling.

The day that we were to see the play finally arrived. We had lunch before the performance and, as we walked towards the theatre, I began to rummage in my handbag for my glasses. 'I'm just going to put my specs on, so that I look a bit older,' I said.

'What for?' asked my friend. My next words died on my lips, as my suspicions were finally aroused. She began to laugh silently, as she fumbled for the tickets in her handbag. 'I'd forgotten all about that,' she finally managed to gasp. 'It was just a wind-up. You didn't seriously think I would do that to you, did you?'

On reflection, the next day, I wondered why it had never occurred to me to ask my friend for the ticket, when I gave her the money for it. If I'd seen the ticket, I would perhaps have realised that it was a full price one, or, if it had occurred to me to ring the theatre, I would then have discovered that I didn't need to pay anything extra. I was so busy wondering how, or whether, I could pass as a senior citizen, that I never thought of it. To a certain extent, the whole episode brought back memories of my teenage years, when I was trying to look older to get into the cinema, or the pub'. I've obviously got a vaguely dishonest streak.

Incidentally, after sending for the wide-fitting shoes, the baggy cardigan, the elasticated skirt and the beige,knee-length, showerproof mac', I decided to keep them, as they are so wonderfully warm and comfortable. The hat and mittens are terribly 'cosy', too. Has anyone seen my plastic rainhat?


softinthehead said...

That was hilarious, I bet you found out some interesting things about yourself with this experience. I think I would just have to leave off the makeup - or maybe I could pass at the Joanna Lumley type OAP - in my dreams - I'd probably end up more like Patsy!

Mean Mom said...

softinthehead - Yes, I did. I am vain!

Maggie May said...

That was really very funny! A good read!
Its funny isn't it how when you are a kid, 5 years makes quite an age gap. The middle years it don't seem to matter & then in old age it suddenly does again!
Most of the ladies I know who are older than me are smarter than me by far! No crimplene or woolly hats!

Working mum said...

Thank you for the encouraging comment about the fairies!

Regarding '6 Years Older': when I was about 32 I was a mature student and, visiting a museum with friends, showed my NUS card and asked for a student ticket. They duly gave me a senior citizen ticket! My friends have never let me forget it! So it started early for me.

Personally I'm looking foward to it, I'm planning to grow old disgracefully and, like the poem, wear purple and spit!

Sweet Irene said...

We are roughly the same age and there is no way I would pass as a 60 year old and I am not planning to for a long time. Neither are you I am sure, so get it out of your head immediately and rejoin the young at heart. We have a lot of girlie living left to do!

Mean Mom said...

Maggie May - Most of my current friends are senior citizens. There was no point in looking to them for inspiration as to how to appear any older! It's a good thing that they all carry proof of their age. This was why I had to look to a tv programme. The traditional little old lady is becoming a rarity, these days, which has to be a good thing, in most ways, but in others is a bit sad. Most of them were so endearing. I just loved them.

Mean Mom said...

Working mum - This is the problem with officials. Some of them don't have a clue.

As for growing older - definitely do it disgracefully, most definitely wear purple and mind where you are spitting!

Mean Mom said...

Sweet Irene - Whilst I try not to be 'old before my time', I find myself unconsciously slipping into funny little habits associated with growing older. Actually, I may be able to stretch this idea into another blog!

Oooh! Girlie living! I like the sound of that!

Grit said...

sadly, i'd probably do most things for a price reduction... i got a holiday flat in western super mare at 20% discount after i persuaded the owner that dig was eligible for a saga deal. shamelessly, he wasn't staying with us and i turned up with three kids aged 3. 20% discount though!

Mean Mom said...

grit - Smart move! I do like a bargain!

Isadora said...

Hope you've had a wonderful time at the theater.

My mother gave me good advice - I think. She used to ADD 10 years to her age when asked and it seems to work well for me. Her reason? When someone chooses to stay 39 for too long people will look and say 'what a tough life she must have had to look so old for her years'. Instead, she wanted them to be amazed how great she looked for her 'age'. :) I like it. Having just turned 58 - I'm not at all bashful to say I'm almost 70. If you take a peek at me peeking at the bottom of the blog...whould you not agree? I look DARNED good for my age!

Mid-lifer said...

Yay - you're back - I was getting a bit fed up with looking at that picture of your bottom, but there you go.

I wonder if your mystery illness is what I've got (shameless attempt to get you to read my recent post).

aims said...

Just popped over from Brenda's blog when I noticed your comment. Your friend pulled a good one on you...and I have to agree with the above comments - you did learn lots of things about yourself didn't you.

As for age - it's all in the mind isn't it? Most of us want to appear younger than we are...but do we? I still think I'm

Mean Mom said...

mid-lifer - Sorry about my best backside. I finally found out how to get it on my profile. It was tempting, but I decided against it.

OK, I can take a hint. I'm on my way over!

aims - All in the mind? Yes, I see what you mean. Some people have been old forever and some never will be. I do have the odd day when I feel 100, however!

Isadora - I have been tempted to go along that road. My eldest son tells all of his friends that I am 60 and they all look suitably impressed.

I just dashed over to Hungary to check out your picture and, if the photo' is of you, I can confirm that you look DARNED good for your age!!

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

What a flurry of activity, and how funny your post was! I've given up either guessing or giving opinions on age - and I always lie about mine. I think Zsa Zsa Gabor said something like "What sane woman would tell the truth about her age?" M :)

Mean Mom said...

a mother's place is in the wrong - By the time you are over about 25, age becomes mostly irrelevant. I haven't had to bother about it for ages. I have a few friends that I know are younger, but not by how much, and quite a few friends who are older, but again, I don't know by how much. Age doesn't generally crop up in conversation and it doesn't matter. It's been a really long time since I have had to consider whether I either was, or appeared to be, old enough to do something or other. It certainly set me thinking!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

This is one very funny post, and has inspired me. Why not buy reduced-price tickets? Would they dare question your age? Although a man in his 70s was recently refused alcohol at our local Morrison's because he didn't have proof of ID!

And why didn't you think of going as someone from "Waiting for God?"

Mean Mom said...

wakeup - Yes, I'm beginning to feel brave, now! Who wants to question my age? Bring it on!

I haven't seen Waiting for God for ages. I'd forgotten about it. Last of the Summer Wine is either still running or being eternally repeated!