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Why older folks look the way they do

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2011-08-21


Iíve always wondered about elderly people and the outrageous clothing combinations they come up with. You wonder if the men are colorblind (which isnít limited to age) and donít have any female companions to ask for fashion help. The women sometimes get a little too heavy-handed with the makeup. Itís fascinating to see swimming pool blue eye shadow in sharp contrast to deeply tanned (and wrinkled skin). Add to that a little too much mascara and sometimes I have to tell myself ďdonít laughĒ when helping customers that look a little too much like The Joker from Batman.

We all have our quirks I guess. As a teen, I wouldnít dare leave the house without full makeup, no matter where I was going. I remember once going to a function at the Embassy and going full bore with the makeup and hair, and thinking I looked nice, and not getting any compliments at all. In contrast, I was in traffic one day, no makeup, and someone was ďvery interestedĒ in me. It was a true WTF? moment, making me wonder why I bothered for years with grooming when it obviously didnít matter.

That was the younger me. And Iím here to tell you that youíll eventually get to the age where you donít give a shit. You too will wear track suits out in public, and sweats under the guise that you will eventually go to the gym later. Sometimes you will, but trust me, most of the time you wonít.

Iíve started wearing makeup to work, only because about a year ago I was moved to a department where I would sweat a little less and interact with more people. So as not to scare the clientele, I decided to gussy up a bit. But some days, I donít bother. I never know if Iím going to be writhing on someoneís kitchen floor, hooking up a refrigerator or a range, or moving a 240 pound front-loading washer down a flight of stairs. Makeup costs too much to be sweating it off.

And my hair is a topic Iíve written about before. After a stint of it being short, Iím growing it out again, and learning to go with the flow. Itís at an in-between stage where itís just not long enough but I donít want it short, unless I get a Mohawk. So far, Iíve been hit twice by customers at work, and my intention when it comes to appearances at my day job is positively bi-polar: either no makeup at all, or hair teased into a fright wig and lots of black eye shadow. Perhaps some temporary tattoos of the word ďpsychoĒ might keep the more aggressive consumers at bay.

Itís not that I donít like makeup. On the contrary, going down a makeup aisle (or worse, a trip to Ulta) triggers something scary. Itís like a part of my brain is saying, ďMust. Buy. Makeup.Ē I know this even though no foundation will make me look 20 again. That doesnít stop me from looking for bargains or scarfing up more eye shadow than I can possibly use in six monthsí time. I DO make an effort to do my hair and makeup sometimes, but more and more, Iím realizing that when I do things, I have to do them for me. So if I donít want to wear makeup or do my hair, I donít. In a way, itís liberating and less stressful than my teen years, but at the same time, I feel guilty. Like Iím slacking or something. I know how to dress for certain places and certain events, but I can see where the lack of effort creeps in. I wonder what Iíll be like as an elderly woman. Will I look like a Latin Barbara Cartland? Will I age gracefully and use just the right amount of makeup? Or will I care at all?

Any young whippersnappers who think they can screw with me might be confronted with a woman with a Mohawk (probably gray, unless I decide to go with Old Lady Blue hair coloring) wearing black eye shadow (which might look really freaky with crowís feet). I may even get a temporary tattoo which will read, ďAge and treachery will overcome youth and skill.Ē My orthopedic combat boots will allow for comfort plus sturdy stomping ability, and my velour track suit will keep me cozy and comfy.
But that time is a little ways off. Hopefully, by then, Iíll have made enough money to afford plastic surgery and end up looking 40 when Iím 60.

Hopefully, my two velour track suits will still fit me. We can only hope.

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