Friday, 30 January 2009

Revisiting An Age-old Problem

Put cotton in your ears and pebbles in your shoes
Pull on rubber gloves
Smear Vaseline on your glasses
And there you have it; instant old age
Quote from Malcolm Cowley

I'm currently revisiting a problem I only thought I had about 12 months ago when a friend told me that she had bought concessionary tickets for our imminent theatre visit. It turned out that she was winding me up, but I did get a bit worried about the whole thing, because I was 6 years short of 60 at the time and some people had said that I didn't look my true age. (No, they didn't mean I looked 74! Cheeky! Or did they? Hmm...)

Well, this time she's gone and accidentally done it. She was distracted whilst booking the tickets over the telephone and now, I suppose I have a choice. Pick up my ticket from my friend and ring the theatre to explain the mistake, or hope that no one asks me for proof of my age, when I finally present my ticket at the theatre.

I'm considering putting cotton in my ears and pebbles in my shoes, to make myself appear older, for my theatre visit, but my dilemma has also led to me thinking about a few other things, this week, that can generally emphasize the more mature woman's age, or make her look older. So far, I've come up with the following:

1. Listening to Mario Lanza or Russ Conway on her MP3.

2. A toy boy.

3. Clubbing with her daughter.

4. Sending her pocket-sized packet of Rennie soft chews flying across the dance floor, whilst rummaging in her handbag for her embroidered handkerchief.

5. Possessing an embroidered handkerchief.

6. Exposing decollete and cleavage, which would benefit from frequent basting with half a pound of goose fat.

7. A fat face, or fat knees, arising from displacement, caused by prolonged use of her vice-like, but super-slimming bodysuit.

8. Breathing in, but not out.

9. HRT patches accidentally transferred to her face.

10. Matt black hair on the over 65s.

11. A dark tan on wrinkled skin.

12. Lurid make up only usually seen on the ugly sisters during the panto season.

13. False talons varnished bright red.

14. A belly bar or an eyebrow ring.

15. Wearing so much bling-bling that the manager of the local H Samuel stands eagerly on the doorstep of his establishment, whenever she is in the high street.

16. Earrings better suited to hanging from high, drawing room ceilings, rather than ears, combined with large specs.

17. A leotard.

18. Skinny fit clothes designed for supermodels on a diet of cocaine and crumbs.

19. A headscarf.

20. A little scarf, worn under her coat, to keep her neck cosy.

Now, just a minute. Mario Lanza, Rennies, handkerchief, matt black hair, dry skin, lurid make up, bling-bling, headscarf, little scarf. Yay! I'm nearly there! The only thing I'm short of is a toy boy! Any offers?

Silence can be deafening, you know. ;0(

I'm sure that none of you 'more mature' lady bloggers are guilty of any of the above, but feel free to fess up, if you are. There's no one else to hear. I'll admit to listening to Mario Lanza and loving my cosy little neck scarves. Oh, and then there's the belly bar of course and a few of the other things.......

Does anyone want to give me any advice about my dilemma? What would you do? Cough up the extra money or take no notice? How would you choose to look older?


aims said...

I'd wait and see what they say when you present your ticket.

As for the rest?

I suggested to The Man just the other day that I was going to cut my hair at the 'grown out length' and forget about dyeing it ever again and trying to cover the gray.

The horrified look on his face had me with the dye bottle in my hand the next morning! He didn't even notice the difference that night when he came in from work - duh!

Mean Mom said...

aims - Yes, it's tempting.

I have my hair highlighted blonde and I'm going darker next time, because I think that it just looks a bit too bright, for me, now. I don't want to revert to my natural colour, because the roots seem to be quite dark and I know that I have some grey hair in there too. It is a dilemma, sometimes, isn't it? Not trying to look too young, but wanting to look 'good for your age'.

Maggie May said...

On Mean Mum...... you described me so well in that post! My cover is now broken, down to the last detail.LOL!

I don't suppose the ticket assistant will even look at you unless you are a child or a teenager. They seem in a dream most of the time.
You can always put on a funny hat...... no..... she'd notice that.
Lots of OAPs are very young looking these days in the lower range. The problem is that we are all lumped together after the age sixty and that includes people who are old enough to be my mum in their eighties. Maybe we should have young oldies and old oldies.
You can tell I am talking gibberish now, can't you? thats what oldies do, or rather young oldies!

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I would immediately get rid of all my funky clothes and start dressing like Hyacinth Bucket and coif my hair the same way too. I'd wear one of those little hats with a veil and Dame Edna glasses, but not over the top, of course. I'd wear a lavender smelling perfume and thick anti varicose veins stockings and sensible shoes. I'd carry a cane and lean heavily upon it and fake a limp. (put pebbles in one shoe)

Big hug,

Rose said...

A local department store gives discounts on Wednesday to "seniors" 55 and over. The first time I--reluctantly--asked for the senior discount, the young salesclerk looked at me and said, "Oh my, I never would have guessed!" Of course, that made me feel wonderful. The next time I was there, no one said a thing and just rang up the discount. That deflated my ego!

Put on some bright circles of rouge on your cheeks and wear lots of jewelry--the ticket taker will never notice!

Love the description of cleavage needing a basting of goosefat, LOL! I might try that...

Letty - A Little Girl With A Curl said...

ok, clever and interesting post!

Have to admit, like you I have been told I brush up well for my age. And have always taken pride in my appearance (Vain - husband says, he who waits endlessly for me to eventually appear immaculate even for the dog walk!)

So I would possibly not be happy to have to pretend to be over sixty! I would have to be honest. Although there would be more vanity than morals in this decision ;0D

I also would never choose to look older, it is hard enough trying to look younger everyday without going the opposite way.

Last week Eldest Daughter came here for her tea, and one of her older work mates, told her she recognised me on the dog walk. Although I do not know her. Eldest daughter tells me, that her friend said "I see your Funky Mother a lot walkng the dog, she looks really Funky".

I was unfeasibly pleased at this bizarre compliment. Not sure how I look Funky, however, as long as someone thinks I do, that is cool with me ;)D

To sum up (at last), even if it means paying extra for your ticket, always be true to your real age.

Also the pebbles and vaseline scenario would just be too uncomfortable.

Funky Letty signing off ;0)

Letty - A Little Girl With A Curl said...

ok, following on, if I was going to try to look old, I would always wear knee length, elastic waisted skirts, with American Tan coloured support tights, brown flat shoes, possibly brogues, a twin set, grey or white tightly permed short hair, pink scalp, beige twin set, with pearls, and a brooch, a beige mac, a large, grey handbag and a brolly. Also when it rained I would don a plastic rain bonnet over my permed hair.

I would smell of mints and lavender water, plus essence of mothballs. (poor moths, tortured so by our elderly relatives ;0) ), I would only read certain tabloid newspapers, read them from cover to cover, and believe everything within them.

I would recite the World According To Said Newspaper, in a loud voice, incessantly.

I would talk about "the young of today" in a disparaging tone, and I would hark back constantly to the old days, you know, when times were good.

Diptheria, Rickets, slum housing, bomb sites and ration books.

Letty Who Is Feeling Mischievious..........

Mean Mom said...

Maggie - LOL! In all seriousness, some of these things just can't be avoided, such as the dry skin, for example and other things just creep in. My lads mock me mercilessly, because I now wear a little scarf round my neck, under my coat, just like my mother does. Well, my neck gets cold!

You're right, of course, some 60 year olds look younger than others. I shall make sure that we don't get to the theatre too early this time, I think and then we'll just merge into the crowd, hopefully!

The Finely Tuned Woman - Hyacinth Bucket is my hero and I have to confess, I think that she wears some beautiful clothes! LOL! I wouldn't wear them, but they are wonderful, if you are into that sort of thing, if you see what I mean!

Do you know, I quite fancy a little hat with a veil and Dame Edna glasses! Might try it! LOL!

Rose - I find that young people have no clue about age. If you're over 30, you could easily be 60, as far as they know. If the attendants at the theatre were youngsters, it wouldn't bother me in the slightest. They are 'more mature' ladies, themselves, however and I just worry in case they take an interest. My friend tells me that I stick out like a sore thumb, anyway, because we go in the afternoon and I don't have grey hair!

My decollete is badly in need of some basting, but by the time I realised it, it was too late. Nothing makes much difference, once it's happened! Have no cleavage to worry about, really - not unless I sellotape them together, anyway! LOL!

auntiegwen said...

If it's like our local theatre all the ticket staff will be young students.

They have no clue if you are 35,45 or 55, everyone over 20 looks the same to them.

I think I'd stop dying my hair and wearing make up, that'd be enough.

Mean Mom said...

Letty - It's definitely a compliment to be told that you look funky! I've lost my confidence to a certain extent, nowadays and generally just wear jeans and t shirts or jumpers. I'm not dressing elderly, yet, but I could probably do better, with a little advice. I could do with a daughter, I think! My friend's daughters seem to pass out free advice to their mothers, even without being asked!

Oddly enough - I do have a bit of a thing about twin sets, pearls and brooches! LOL! I would be over the moon, if someone made them fashionable again!

Mean Mom said...

auntiegwen - That's interesting! Great minds think alike. I was typing something similar to your comment, in reply to rose, as you must have been typing the comment I've just read from you.

Yes, I agree entirely, if they were youngsters I wouldn't be at all bothered, but they are 'more mature' ladies and as I've said above, I do stand out a bit, at the matinees, because they're all silver haired! No, really, they are!

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Have to admit also to a liking for Mario Lanza and neck scarves (the one I favour is cravat style and a much younger acquaintance told me how much she admired it!). As I have not bothered for many years to get my hair coloured it is now a silvery grey, cut in the Judi Dench style, therefore, I hope, stylish! I am also quite happy to wave my bus pass at anyone who may be myopic enough to query my age. So, for me, not really a problem anymore.

Take a chance - you may be challenged - just cup your ear and pretend to be deaf. Do that for long enough and they will lose interest. A x

Mean Mom said...

Strawberry - I have just a few grey hairs, at the moment, which won't look good with my hair, as it seems to have gone quite dark. I have been having blonde hightlights, but I shall probably go light brown, next time. I don't want to go dark grey, but silver grey, all over would be very acceptable. Cheaper than highlights, too!

I think that I will probably take a chance, you know! Then again, what will I say? I'm not a quick thinker. ;0)

Robin said...

The way I see it unfortunately you can't win - either you get tagged for trying to sneak by or you don't get noticed which means you look years beyond your age.

I say you must dress the part (maybe a flowered house dress - no too old-- I know a velour sweat suit and a scarf over your hair) That way either you get in with no trouble confirming your acting skills or you get exposed confirming that you look so young that even in disguise you look very young. Win-Win!!

Letty - A Little Girl With A Curl said...

Hi Mean Mom - trouble is, when you reach an "age" when some personage says you look "funky" and you wonder, what are they actually meaning (ie mutton dressed as lamb, sad bloody female, I could go on!) (self confidence again!).....

Are they being sarcastic.......?

Are they having a laugh at your expense.........?

Do they actually know what FUNKY means.......? Do I know what FUNKY means???????

Do I know in my dodderieness what FUNKY really means?

Self doubt all the way it seems........

I have actually got to the age when I think to myself, who cares, I will just be myself and live each day to the utmost!

If I am Funky, well, whatever Funky means, I will take the positive meaning!

Love your blog! Makes me think!

Letty :0))))))))))))))))

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Take a walking stick and hunch your back a bit - that ages people by a good ten years!

Mean Mom said...

Robin - Ooh! You're so clever! The velour sweat suit and headscarf just makes me LOL! Maybe I could have some old fashioned rollers in the front of my hair, peeking out from under the scarf. (I don't know what your word is for 'rollers', but I'm sure you know what I mean - those tubular plastic things women used to put in their hair to make it curly.) The way this is all heading, my friend is going to refuse to walk with me.

Letty - I think it means cool and modern, but with some of your own style added in, so that you're not just slavishly following the latest fashion trend. Sounds good to me!

Yes, I know what you mean. The last thing a woman wants is to look like mutton dressed as lamb. It's a big dilemma, as you get older. I think that a lot of us (including me) play safe. I used to have so much fun with fashion, when I was younger. I laugh when I remember some of the stuff I wore, but it was great! I miss going out in outrageous outfits!

Mean Mom said...

MOB - Well, I'm willing to give it a go, but what if I can't straighten up again?

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Me again - you could plead ignorance - after all you didn't purchase the ticket!! A x

Jennysmith said...

It seems I don't need to do any of those things, MMM. The other day while queuing WH Smith, a nice lady asked me if i was buying those books for my Grandchildren. Grrr! So i would just swan in as if i owned the place! You should just do that anyway, they don't question someone who looks confident, no matter what age xxxxx

Mean Mom said...

Strawberry - You're right, if the worst comes to the worst, I can pretend I didn't know that there were any concessions.

Jen - Well! She had a cheek! I've always been a bit short on confidence, but I'll try not to look shifty!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

When you're 59 and the man on the gate at the market (concessions free, other 50p) waves you through,do you say you're not 60 yet or grimace but say nothing???

Mean Mom said...

I would be totally horrified, of course, if someone automatically assumed that I was 60 years old, when I was only 59. What could be worse? I would make an almighty fuss and insist on paying my 50p, whilst loudly pointing out to everyone within earshot, that I had plenty of time to go, yet, before reaching the ripe old age of 60. ;0)

Of course, if the entrance charge amounted to £1.00 or more, I would smile broadly and dash past, before anyone had time to change their mind.

Working mum said...

Yep, headscarves were my first thought.

I'd just use the ticket. Between being a student and being a pensioner, you get no concessions, so I'd just go for it.

blogthatmama said...

I'm sorry Mean Mom, I'm too young to know what a belly bar is - can you explain?!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

They probably won't even look at your ticket, sad to say. And to pimply-faced 18-year-olds, anyone over 40 is definitely an OAP. Having said that, nothing ages a woman more than trying to dress about thirty years younger than she is. Or so my daughter tells me.

Mean Mom said...

Working mum - Well, I think I am just going to use the ticket and hope for the best. How about my granny specs, combined with headscarf, or would that really look like a proper disguise?

blogthatmama - Well, get ready, I'll send you a photo of mine! (Or maybe not.)

wakeupandsmellthecoffee - I think I will just use the ticket and try to look confident. The thing which does worry me is that the theatre attendants are older women, like me and we go to the matinees. My friend has pointed out more than once, that I'm noticeable, because I don't have silvery hair!

Liz said...

When I was little and I was given a box of handkerchiefs (flowered in 3s, maybe with an embroidered E) I would toss them aside ungratefully. Now I would love to be given hankies!

As for dressing for your age, well, you've seen my photo on my blog, haven't you? Mini-skirted.