Saturday, January 2, 2010

Thoughts On Style

I’ve always worn my hair long. Well, except for one disastrous home “trim” my mother gave me in fourth grade, which required an emergency trip to a hairdresser for salvage work. Then I made a rash decision in the early 1980s which also involved a complete and equally disastrous dye job. Back in 1979, when I turned twenty-one, my mother told me it was time for me to get my hair cut. I was unaware of the you-must-get-a-short-haircut-at-age-twenty-one-rule and “declined”. Now I am 51, turning 52 in May. I continue to wear my hair long enough to pull it back in a braid. The older I get, the more I recognize that my female peers have short haircuts. And it seems that the older women get, the shorter their hair gets. Sitting at a large meeting several weeks ago, attended by many folks in their 70s and 80s, the vast majority of women around me had hair nearly as short as the men. No thank you.

As I grew up, my personal style was somewhere between preppie and hippie. When Midi-skirts made their appearance, I was an early adopter. As a result, some younger kids in my high school thought I was a student teacher! In college I wore farmer overalls with shitkickers, long skirts with Frye boots and business suits with pumps. As the years have gone by I now wear Birkenstocks and Smartwool striped socks whenever possible. I’m happy in quarter zip sweatshirts and henleys. I carry vintage purses by Walborg, JR and Margaret Smith or an L.L. Bean Healthy Back bag. And I always have a folding Asian fan in those purses. I wear the same gold jewelry nearly every single day, along with a mans Timex Expedition watch. But I sometimes like to add a vintage and over the top Eisenberg pin.

For many years, I have been taken with Jenny Joseph’s poem “Warning” which begins: “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple; With a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me.” However, I am decidedly not taken with its commercial corruption into the Red Hat Society and their over boa-ed tea parties. Ms. Joseph’s 1961 poem deserves better than that. Written when she was 29, published when she was 42, the poem imagines the freedom of the future compared to the responsibilities of the present. It ends on a wistful note of the possibility of being just a wee bit less sober now.

It is said that as we age we become more like ourselves. O.K. But I am committed to becoming more of the better parts of myself. I wish to become braver, kinder, freer, more generous, less worried. When I look ahead - ten, twenty years and beyond - I do not wish to look in the mirror only to find I have morphed into one of those cookie cutter women I sat with at that recent meeting. No thank you. I would rather grab onto the pendulum and fling myself out to the opposite side of the spectrum, to fall in among folks who look more like this - all verve and flair and most decidedly free!

Thanks to Ricë of the Voodoo Cafe for alerting me to “Advanced Style”.


Roo said...

I'm with you... when I'm old enough to get away with it, I'm having a stick, and I want one with a damn sword in it, black and silver topped! And I may adopt spats too!

Pink Granite said...

Hi Roo -
You might need a non-sword one for international travel!
I've decided if I ever need a cane/walking stick (or even think I need one) it's going to be as fabulous as the ones these folks make!
Spats? Absolutely!
- Lee

dancingmorganmouse said...

I'm getting an ivory (or bone anyway) scull topped can, the kind with a little emergency drink flask in it.
While my hair may no longer be long, it's not getting any shorter bebe, that was for me late teen, when I went all Annie Lennox!

Pink Granite said...

Hi DMM -
I love that the three of us have plans for fancy canes/walking sticks! But both you and Roo want to hide something in yours, so I need to think about that aspect...
Annie Lenox, eh? - yes I can see that!
- Lee

Sue said...

I so agree with you! Especially on getting to know yourself as you get older. The hell with what other people think about us... And I love long hair, so definitely with you on keeping your locks for as long as you want. Go girl!!