April is a month that seems to inspire poetry. However, Chaucer, who praised April in his prologue to the “Canterbury Tales” would certainly not have agreed with the opening line of T.S. Eliot’s famous poem, “The Wasteland,” quoted above. But then again, Chaucer was not a woman who had to face the terror and humiliation of shopping for a new bathing suit.
Neither, I recognize, was T. S. Eliot, who nevertheless, with these five words, revealed a remarkable empathy with older women confronting the reality of the coming beach season. It is highly doubtful that this application of Eliot’s words will be found in any serious literary criticism. This particular interpretation of their meaning is all mine.
I was in a doctor’s waiting room the other day catching up on my magazine reading (see “Death, Taxes, and the Annual Exam,” February 29, 2016), when the title of a particular article captured my attention: The Disappearance of Older Women.
Had this been the National Enquirer, I would have assumed that it was another story about alien abductions. But why aliens would want to kidnap post-menopausal females was indeed a mystery unto itself. Perhaps on some planet not yet discovered by NASA they had overbuilt their assisted living facilities? Even for the Enquirer, that seemed a little far-fetched.
By any chance, do you to remember an old movie called The Enchanted Cottage starring Robert Young and Dorothy McGuire? It was released a long time ago, 1945 to be exact. If you don’t remember it, please don’t lie and tell me it’s because you weren’t born yet. I happen to know how old you are!
Anyway, in this film, Robert Young plays a disfigured war veteran and Dorothy McGuire plays a homely maid. The two marry, and as time passes, fall more deeply in love. Within the confines of the cottage in which they live, they begin to appear beautiful to each other.
Well, apparently, I had been happily living in an enchanted cottage of my own. At least until the other day, when a terrorist disguised as an eye doctor blew the whole thing to smithereens!
Last evening, while engaging in the usual pre-sleep beauty ritual, I dipped my fingers into the jar of night face moisturizer only to discover that I was about to use the last dollop. While this is not quite as tragic as being unable to zip the cocktail dress you were planning to wear to the holiday party, or as inconvenient as a colonoscopy, it was still cause for consternation.
You noticed I specified night moisturizer. Needless to say, my vanity tray also holds a day moisturizer, under-and-over eye creams, and a lip smoother. Last time I looked, I think my ears were still sufficiently hydrated.
Having a Dorian Gray moment right before one goes to bed is not helpful in ensuring a peaceful rest. The jar of nocturnal face magic would have to be replaced, the sooner the better.
Has this ever happened to you?
You’re in a restaurant. In your line of vision is another table with, let’s say, three couples. You unconsciously absorb the physical details of the six well-dressed people who are about to eat their appetizers. You notice the gray hair on the partially bald men, the obviously chemically-treated hair of the women, the flashlights on the I-phones to help illuminate the menu when reading glasses aren’t enough. And yes, those are hearing aids snugly tucked behind at least three pairs of ears.
And your conclusion? Boy, there’s sure a lot of old people in this place!
Overheard at Saks:
Shopper No. 1:“Ooh, that’s such an adorable dress.”
Shopper No. 2: “So why don’t you try it on?
Shopper No. 1: “Are you crazy? It’s sleeveless!
As we approach the warmer weather, I am convinced that this scene will be replayed over and over again in boutiques and department stores across the country. I don’t know if this fixation transcends continents, but American women of a certain age have a thing about their arms.
Typically, it is not the entire arm. The arm between the elbow and the wrist may be entirely acceptable. It is the area that lies between the shoulder and the elbow, otherwise known as the upper arm, that is the offending body part.
If decisions I’ve made in my life were sorted into folders, this most recent choice would definitely be filed away under the heading “What Was I Thinking?” It certainly would not be the only item in that file, just the latest. In fact, if I reflect on many of the decisions I’ve made in the past, that would be one chubby file folder!
This most recent questionable decision had its origins in what is for me a religious activity. That is, getting a haircut. Those of you who know me, or who have read my blog about my tumultuous relationship with my crowning glory, know that I have a very short do. I get it cut once a month, without fail, and barely make it into the fourth week, when I swear I start to hear my hair growing.
In any event, on this particular day, which was a little shy of New Year’s Eve, I remarked to the stylist how, although it is trouble-free, I sometimes become bored with my look. There is not much you can do with hair that is less than a quarter-inch long. You can’t curl it. Not that I would want to. A pony tail is out of the question. And hair ornaments don’t stand a chance.