I admit it – I’m a judger. At the mall, or restaurants, or at work, I’ll watch with critical eyes as women walk by and I’ll silently judge their hair, makeup, and clothes. OK, I’ll be honest – sometimes the judgment is not so silent. I’ve been known to make snarky remarks to my friends, family, or coworkers – I’m really working on that.
I particularly had a problem with older women, who in their quest to clutch onto their disappearing youth with their wrinkly, age-spotted hands decide that all that was needed was a few more inches of makeup, a few less inches of skirt, some bleach or color for their graying hair, and/or a bit of a nip/tuck to firm up sagging breasts, stomachs, and faces. Why couldn’t these pitiful women be confident in who they were, with the hair, skin, and bodies God gave them?
I decided long ago that I was going to grow old gracefully. There were some practical reasons for this – I had been…let’s call it “Rubenesque” since my first baby was born and my body had been on the saggy side for so long, I figured it was just something I should accept. Plus, I couldn’t afford plastic surgery even if I wanted it. I was approaching a “certain age” and I decided that I was going to quit coloring my hair and cut it short (so I wouldn’t have months of bi-color as my roots grew out, and out, and out.) I was going to EMBRACE my age, dammit! I wasn’t going to be one of those sad, pathetic women who dressed like a teenager and slathered on makeup to hide my wrinkles!
So, I did it – I let my roots grow out a couple of inches and then visited a salon. When I told them I wanted to cut my shoulder-length hair VERY short – the stylists exchanged concerned looks. “Are you sure?” they asked, “Perhaps we should just layer it – cut a few inches to start.” I was adamant – I was starting a new job in just a few days – I wanted to start fresh and REAL. When they finished and I looked in the mirror, I almost didn’t recognize myself. I think my exact response when they asked if I liked it was, “That is…a LOT of gray!” I had thought that perhaps I would have a sassy streak of gray that would add pizzazz and personality – but instead it was just salt and pepper gray – with a lot more salt than pepper.
I reminded myself I wasn’t one of those shallow, youth-starved women. I was mature, but confident! So, a few days later, chanting my new mantra in my head (“I’m mature, but confident…dammit!) I went to orientation at my new job. We were all asked to sit at one of four large tables and I joined three other women and a very young man, Steve. He was shy, and the other women at the table made him blush as they flirted shamelessly with him (apparently they hadn’t paid much attention during the sexual harassment portion of the orientation).
During a break, the other women decided it would be fun to have Steve guess our ages. He obviously was uncomfortable with this, but they insisted. One of them pushed a square of paper to me and told me to write my age, and they did the same. Then they gave Steve the papers and told him to take his best guess. He unfolded the first paper – 52-years-old. He looked at each of us and then pushed the paper towards me. I’m assuming by his look of alarm that my eyes bugged out of my head as I shrilly responded, “What?? No – NO, that’s NOT me!” Steve then unfolded the next paper – 50-years-old – and he gave me that paper with a look of worry on his face. This time, I just shook my head slowly, narrowed my eyes, and pushed it back to him. He unfolded the third paper – 53-years-old. Steve should have known better from my earlier reactions, but he still pushed that damn paper my way. At least he had the grace to cringe a bit while he did so.
Meanwhile, the three other women – the OLDER women – were laughing hysterically. As I looked at them with more than just a bit of hatred in my heart, I had to admit that they all looked great. They had glossy hair with nary a gray strand to be seen. Their makeup and hair was impeccably styled. They obviously worked out and didn’t have nearly as many flabby bits as I did. They DID look younger than me!
I went home that night and colored my hair. I don’t plan to go gray again until…well, until I’m dead. In the meantime, I’m also saving my pennies for one of those Lifestyle Lifts…and maybe a boob job…and a tummy tuck…and has anyone tried Botox?