The Long and the Shorts of It All
Veronica Writes
When women get to be “of a certain age” questions of appropriateness inevitably rear their ugly heads. I think I have squarely hit that certain age. With a vengeance.

My questions of appropriateness have actually turned into a LIST of questions of appropriateness:

Should I stop wearing shorts?

What about sleeveless blouses?

Is my hair too long?

When should I stop dying it?

Should I do something about my wrinkles?

The shorts quandary is a tough one for me. It’s on the top of my list for good reason.

Lord knows I don’t have the legs I used to. Not even close. Somehow all of my beautiful taut thigh skin has loosened up and is now gathering all-wrinkley-elephant-like around my knees. The old buttocks isn’t riding as proudly as it used to. Cellulite is blooming in some very dishonorable places.

I can’t trust a mirror (or maybe it’s my perception of what I see in the mirror that I can’t trust). Sometimes the reflection is horrifying to me, other times I feel I’m pulling it off just fine. I should just toss the stupid looking glass and risk the seven years bad luck.

Here’s the problem with giving up shorts - I love hiking and biking. I adore feeling comfortable and I abhor being hot. I’m not so vain that I’ll start wearing a burqa while hiking, but I must admit there's some exhibition anxiety while standing in line at the post office after arriving by bike.

When does my loss of comfort become less imperative than the comfort of the leg-looking-at public? I try to use my own reaction to others' exposed skin as a barometer. But, again, I get mixed results. I admire the healthy sixty-something lady at Yellowstone in her cute khakis, shudder when I see someone with cut-off sweats riding high in the butt crack.

Short sleeves fall into this same category. A friend of mine calls those lovely gal-flaps under her arms “Hey Judys!” As a child, my friend spied a tourist lady in a large hat frantically flagging down her buddy, Judy, and bringing about quite a bit of upper arm wobbling. That kind of thing sticks with a kid.

In my not-so-trusty mirror I'm seeing some Hey Judy! action of my own happening. For some reason, my upper arm area is not so bad when I look directly at it, but photos can go either way. It really sucks. I’m torn between going all-out-Grandma-floral-muumuu and the trendier, more comfy summer tank.

Neither seems appropriate.

Must I have Michelle Obama arms to go sleeveless? I love that our First Lady has opened the door for women my age to wear the style, but maybe she could loosen up and go just a bit Hey Judy! for the masses? ;)

As for the too old for long hair predicament, ever since my mid-twenties I’ve been dreading the day that I’d have to cut my hair short. I‘ve always had long hair. The few times I‘ve cut it to shoulder length I immediately regretted it. I love the ease of throwing it into a ponytail and getting on my merry way without fuss.

David and I have a pact about the hair dye. He has promised me that when I start getting that pasty-face-and-shoe-polish-hair look, he will let me know. It took a lot to get that promise out of him since I’m sure he sees it as one of those “does this make my butt look big” traps. God love him.

Then there are the dreaded wrinkles. I absolutely HATE my “worry line.” The crease between my eyebrows looks more and more like the Grand Canyon everyday. I spend an increasing amount of time pulling up the skin on my forehead and admiring myself as I would look with a brow lift.

Let‘s face it, this is a two-faced dilemma for women of our generation if there ever was one. We, as a society, admire the youthful looking women we see, yet admonish them for the plastic surgery they’ve had. We need to be kinder to each other about our personal choices.

I’ve googled what a brow lift entails. It’s pretty scary. Until something is discovered that doesn’t involve facial detachment, I’m going to have to pass. Unless I change my mind. (BUT, I did end up trying Botox - don't judge me until you read this!)

The mirror being the liar that it is, I started asking around for advise. This, too, was conflicting and unhelpful.

My daughter, The Piglet: “I think it’s up to the woman and what she is personally comfortable with.” (Nice sentiment, but unhelpful to someone who has no idea WHAT she is comfy with).

My daughter, Decibel: “Why the hell do you care so much?” (Oh, just you wait missy!)

David: “I’ll be really pissed if you get plastic surgery. Other than that, I’ll love you no matter what.” (He’s really good at dodging does-this-make-my-butt-look-big traps, so his opinion doesn’t count in this matter, but it's sweet nonetheless.)

Even after Googling these various subjects, I find myself in very conflicted territory. Opinions range wildly - everywhere from the you've-come-a-long-way-baby / you-go-girl tribe condoning a let-it-all-hang-out lifestyle, to the more conservative clan that uses words like grace and class. Once again, I fall firmly into neither camp.

Maybe I should just chuck the mirror, stop harassing my loved ones, ditch Google and give up.

The stress of it all is giving me hot flashes.


YOUR TURN: Are you as conflicted as I am? Any advice?

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