I was feeling puckish yesterday, up for some fun, ready for a good time, so with time on my hands I tossed a tiny bottle of pistachio-colored nail polish in my bag and went off to see Mai, my manicurist. Mai and I hang out maybe once every month or two, whenever I feel the need for a professional manicure. This was one of those days. School’s begun, the mornings are darker and I sense the coming of autumn. Few weeks remain to use fun, beachy-colored nail polish.
I showed her what I wanted and silently, she set to work. As she finished the first nail, I laughed. “It looks cute!” I said. She nodded and kept painting.
While my funky green French-manicured nails were drying, I asked if she had ever done ombre nails. She looked puzzled, sort of like when I told her we were going to India and she told me she’d lived in Indiana for five years. So I began to explain what ombre was. “You know, the first nail is dark, the second a little less dark, the third lighter still and on…”
For the first time, she perked up. ‘Yes,” she laughed. “The young girls want that.”
Memo received: I am not young, so why would I want it, or a pistachio-colored French manicure?
“Listen,” I wanted to tell her. “I’m young at heart. In my mind I’m 25 years old and just out of grad school. I wear tiny little skirts and heels higher than you are tall. My whole life is ahead of me and I’m going to live it up, so if I want a green manicure, by God, I’ll have one.”
Expectations. There are, of course, expectations of “senior citizens.” I don’t meet them. Of course, I’ve never worried about meeting anyone’s expectations but my own. Still, I definitely felt judged. It didn’t hurt my feelings, but it stung a bit and it did make me think.
Was this too young for me? Am I really a “senior citizen?” What’s today’s “senior” really like?
Well, let’s see. Besides getting fun manicures, they also go to Burning Man. In fact, if you’re my friend, S., you’ve packed up and towed an entire trailer full of fun stuff to make your week at Burning Man more fun. He is 61 and the only reason he isn’t at Burning Man now is that he was in a horrific accident en route and is lucky to be alive. The operative word is “alive.”
Seniors today are “alive” and we meet no one’s expectations but our own. And if Mai had a better command of English and our culture, I’d have that discussion.
So fellow seniors, live it up. At least till it’s time for the home. Or “Home.”
And, as I am fond of saying, “F uck ’em if they can’t take a joke.”
I remember being a mom with long hair and jeans thinking, “this isn’t how moms look”. Why our society feels the need to define and label people by age I will never understand. I refuse to label my age…or my actions. Yes, I sometimes feel the need to dress age-appropriate… but what about the black corset? Forbidden at age 59? The 64 year old who sees it isn’t acting like an old man…. I wear my hair long…another youthful trend!
You’re right to buck these trends. And, by the time you and I are in the HOME– who knows!
Love your closing line…right there with you!
Living it up as we speak! LOL
So is India in Indiana? Good one! I feel young at heart though not 25 mentally and that is ok with me.
New math? This is “new geography”
As I read this, I have bright turquoise toe nails and navy blue nails with an ankle bracelet and am seriously considering a pink streak or two in my hair. All ten of my nails are clapping and cheering you on! Stopping by from GenFab.
I didn’t mention the pink extension I had last month OR the two pink feathers this month. We’re sisters!
I say express yourself any way you want. Society thinks that just because we have had more birthdays that we still can’t be fun. BE FUN!!!! 🙂
A friend just threw a long-distance baby shower for my daughter (who made an appearance via Google Hangout), and I showed up in a short black leather skirt. Spare me the rocking chair!
Frig your nail tech. I had ombré nails in purple a couple of weeks ago. Right now? I’m rocking green toe polish. I’m 55. I can do whatever I want. No matter what she says.