We had lunch at an elderly ladies' restaurant a few days ago. Very plush carpets that muffle sound, bright light so that weak eyes can read the menu (I'm one to talk), menu straight out of a Good Housekeeping or Ladies' Home Journal in 1960. Predictably, we were surrounded by elderly ladies.
It had been a while since I'd seen so many older ladies out at once, and I don't think it's only because I don't get to their hangouts too often. I think that we're beginning to witness the disappearance of the Old Lady as we know her today, much as our parents and grandparents saw their old ladies (Victorian hair, dresses with crocheted collars, ever-present knitting needles) slowly disappear. Our Old Ladies are on the endangered list, and no preservation efforts are afoot. The baby boomers are the next old ladies, and they won't be caught dead in hair that's washed and set once a week, knit suits, matching bracelet, necklace, and earring combinations, and Easy Spirits. And God help us, too, because they're going to insist on looking like sexy undergraduates until they're 100. I'm only 41, but I'm smart enough to know that just because Hollister makes it in my size, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's OK for me to wear it. I'll miss the Old Lady when she disappears, because it's more than a change in style that's underway. I think that the current generation of Old Ladies (and Old Men, too, but to a lesser extent) are the last old people who will be permitted to allow themselves to be old. By the time I'm 75, I'm afraid that Botox will be covered by Medicare, as routine as a haircut (if not mandatory) and we'll all look like very surprised 50-year-olds, wearing the same thing our granddaughters are wearing (modified, of course, with strategically-placed elastic where needed). It's really too bad; I was kind of looking forward to being an old lady (especially the "I can say any damn thing I want with absolute impunity because LOOK AT ME...I'M AN OLD WOMAN" part).