Thursday, June 23, 2016
FRONT PORCH STORIES; AGING GRACEFULLY
“Hey, Nettie!” she said as she got out of the car. “What do you think?”
I took a deep breath trying to compose myself. Should I tell the truth or pretend like I don’t know what she is taking about. “About what?” I asked, ignorance was the better response.
“About these!” she said cupping her breast.
“They are noticeable!” I said. What I did not mention was the bright red hair she had on her head.
“Yes, ma’am! I flew to California and had them done by one of those celebrity plastic surgeons. Cost me more to get them done their than it would have here but,” cupping her breast again for emphasis, “I wanted them done right!”
“Boobs and a new car? What is this all about?” I asked.
“New car, new breast, new clothes, and new hair make a new me!”
I don’t know why people always start talking before they get on my front porch but they do. By the time she reached my porch she had sashayed up and down the sidewalk a couple of times as if she was the worlds top model. And then, Lord have mercy, she took a selfie of herself on her car before coming on the porch.
“Don’t bother getting me anything to drink, I am not staying long. I knew you would be on the porch this time of day so I couldn’t help but come by and show off.”
“And where are you off to?”
“I have a lunch date.” She said smiling.
“Oh? Has he seen all this?”
“No, we are just meeting for the first time today. I met him through one of those online dating sites.”
“You are to old for that foolishness.”
“I don’t want any of these hicks that live around here and this is the best way to find men with the same interest.”
“And you changed your entire appearance for a man you don’t know?”
“Listen Nettie you have a man, a good man and I want one. You don’t care what you look like.”
“When we get old our breast go flat, our hair gets thin, our butt gets saggy and our stomachs get flabby. No man wants that especially when all these young girls are out there looking for men our age. You are married and your husband likes you the way you are.”
“What about the car? What in the world you need a sports car for?”
“That’s my bait! I am going to get me a young man. I need some excitement in my life Nettie, and I ain't gettin’ it from sittin’ in the church choir!”
“Let me tell you this, and you don’t have to listen to what I say ‘cause it is just my opinion. It is a good thing to care about your body and keep it as healthy as possible; eat right, exercise, get plenty of rest. It is a good thing to want to stay busy, doing something that motivates you to wake up in the morning. What is not good is trying to reinvent the wheel.
“I can understand not wanting to spend the rest of your life alone and I can appreciate the fact that their may not be any men in your church that appeal to you. But this,” I spread my arms out palms up as if to present her car to her “this my dear is how to find trouble.
“If you like the car, keep the car. If a breast enlargement is what you want fine. BUT my dear a new car and bigger boobs is not going to change the fact that you are over fifty.
“It is hard for a woman sometimes to realize that a certain part of our lives is over: the hot flashes have stopped; some of us need to make it to the bathroom a little faster; with no more babies to nurse our breast deflate, cellulite takes over our thighs and we would rather wear tennis shoes than stilettos. But with age should come wisdom.
“I don’t focus on my receding hairline or my sagging boobs. I know it’s different for me because I have a husband however that can be a disadvantage as well as an advantage. The good news for us is we are past thinking physical appearance will lead to a lasting marriage.
“Let me ask you: what are you going to do with a young man? You just want sex all the time? Are you going to be around his friends or yours? Are the two of you going to visit your grandchildren on Saturday and his children, if he has any, on Sunday? Oh, perhaps you don’t want a longterm relationship maybe you just want someone to take you out to dinner from time to time; that is what men our age do not younger men.”
“Nettie I just want someone to be with me, someone to cook for besides myself.”
“Then get a job in a restaurant!”
“You know what I mean. I want to snuggle up at night with someone warm.”
“Then get a dog!”
“Nettie! You are being facetious and I am serious. I am lonely, I am tired of being by myself.”
“I am serious. You need to learn to like the skin you are in. You need to learn to appreciate who you are in this stage of your life. There is no law that says you cannot have fun. At the end of the day, even with a man, you have to come home to you.
“How long are you going to live to impress? How long are you going to ride around in a fast car and dress in clothes that are not comfortable? Are you going to get your breast done again in ten years? What kind of sports car does an 80 year old drive? In thirty years will the fifty year olds be appealing to you? What happens when your young man gets old?”
“Nettie, I just came by to show you my new car and my new look. I thought you would be happy for me.”
“If you are happy I am happy for you but I don’t believe you are happy. You may like how you look and you may like your car but unfortunately, you realize you spent over two hundred thousand dollars and nothing has really changed. And for the record,there are quite a few good men our age in this community, a few of them have their own sports car they just choose to drive a truck when working.”
She left without responding to my words. She will be back, they usually do after a month or two.
It is sad that so many people believe they have to change their appearance in order to receive acceptance. What is even sadder is people who look at appearance as a criteria for longterm a long term relationship.
A FRONT PORCH STORY- according to the world of NETTIE. All rights reserved; do not use without the permission of Marsha L F Randolph