Am I too old for long hair, Forever 21 clothes?
I remember some years back a very smart gentleman in our circle of friends named Tom penned a song for his beautiful wife, Paulette. If memory serves, the official title was “Is 40 Too Old for Pigtails?”
The song and couple were and remain, adorable.
As my husband, Kerry, celebrates his “something”-first birthday (it was yesterday, actually) and I also take a moment to honor one very special lady, Jean Ritchie, who turns 90 years young today, Tom’s song resonates in my mind. Not specifically for the respective birthday boy and girl, but just generally speaking.
How old is too old? Hmm. I guess that depends on many factors and variables, no?
For instance, as I knock, knock, knock on the door of the big 5-0 (not this year but next, ugh), I can’t help but wonder: From which things will I soon be banished according to traditional dictates?
Hair past my shoulders? Or that features bangs? Or that gleans its hue directly from a Revlon bottle? Or all of the aforementioned?
I mean, I’ve always had long hair. Well, except for a traumatic experience at 13 when I foolishly asked a stylist to give me the “Dorothy Hamill cut” and people thought I was a boy for four months. Seriously. Like, I faced a monsoon of sneers, jeers and laughs, except from my big bro Dan, who said: “Don’t listen to them. You look fine. Besides, I always wanted a little brother.”
Oh, I guess I almost blocked out that other time I had short hair, when I turned 22 and started going gray. I thought it would be cool to change up both the shape and color of my do. I went with a very short, very black look.
Do you remember Sluggo’s best friend Nancy Ritz from the comic strip “Nancy” by Guy Gilchrist? She is immediately recognizable for the way her hair resembles a big round Brillo pad if it was swallowed by a black porcupine. My cut was sort of like that.
I digress. What other things have I outlived? Clearly mini-skirts and short-shorts. For the love of all that is good, no one wants to see a middle-aged (or upwards) woman dressed in anything with a hemline above the ankle unless she’s Christie Brinkley, okay? Ditto plunging necklines — unless you’re Jennifer Lopez. J-Lo can literally wear anything and look fab.
What about Instagram? Am I OK to be posting to Instagram even though I’m from the latter rim of the Kodachrome generation?
How about the Netflix show “Stranger Things?” It’s only been out for a year, just one season. But, it IS set in the early 1980s and does star Winona Ryder. So, even though it’s super cool with the millennials (also known as Generation Y or the kids born between 1981 and 2007) and Generation Z (those who were born between 1996 and 2010), can I like it, too?
Because I do. A lot. Like, it’s my new obsession.
Am I still allowed to shop in Claire’s for earrings? How’s about Forever21? Yes, I realized I am more than double that age, but isn’t the point that you can dress like that forever? Maybe not.
It’s like my adorable niece Alexis (a millennial) always says, “Just because someone CAN wear something doesn’t mean she SHOULD.”
Point taken. I’ll return the Kylie Jenner leggings tomorrow. Whatevs.
And don’t tell me I can’t ride roller coasters anymore because I love Top Thrill Dragster way too much to hang up my harness just yet.
And there is one other area in which I refuse to budge (old people are stubborn that way) — it is my absolute adoration of the band Twenty One Pilots.
Recent Grammy-winners for their megahit song “Stressed Out,” these two Columbus natives, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dunn, have not only completely mesmerized one certain 17-year-old who lives in my house, but his over-the-hill mother, too.
I will not apologize. I rock out to them with reckless abandon in the car, or cleaning the house and even at my day job desk sometimes — with headphones on, of course. It irks Kyle but then again, turnabout is fair play; he jams to my beloved Def Leppard from time to time, so there!
So as I sit here bidding what is sure to be a tearful farewell to my long hair, I begrudgingly accept that I am, indeed, too old for a great many things. But counting my blessings sure isn’t one of them. Getting old is absolutely the best option going for humans and one that I’m thankful for every single day.
Even if I have to wear a chin-to-ankle old-lady suit at the amusement park.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who wishes her husband and the lovely Mrs. Ritchie many happy returns — just like the one she’s going to make at the mall tomorrow. Contact her via www.patriciakimerer.com