Fade to Pink

older-womenOver the summer, I watched my mother get ready to go out with friends. She stood in front of me, smoothing her top, and asked if she looked all right.

She looked fine.

(By fine I mean eh.)

“Come on,” I said. I pulled out a hot-pink blouse hanging in her closet. We dug out some chunky, turquoise jewelry, pulled out a pair of strappy sandals and voila. My mother recently let her hair grow out to a beautiful silvery white and it looked gorgeous against the pink.

“It’s not too…much?” she asked.

“Fuck it, Ma,” (how I love being an adult with my mother—which inevitably involves many four letter words–and booze), “you’re seventy-one. Now’s not the time to fade into the background.”

I wasn’t saying it to appease her, I really meant it. She smiled and then, in an act reminiscent of my kids, spilled something down the front of her blouse. Luckily we found a sunshine yellow one to take its place.

Women are expected, after a certain age, to gently fade into the background without muss or fuss. It’s generally assumed that somewhere between child bearing age and death we should gracefully make room for the next generation of young women who are, presumably, pea-cocking and preening in order to attract a mate.

whenn-im-an-old-woman

Screw that.

I shall not fade gently into that good wall. No thanks.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no desire, intention, or even capability of attracting attention of the sexual kind. Far from it. In fact, on a night out with a group of women recently, I realized with relief that I have reached an age where I could legitimately be the mother of some of those young men. And not like a teen mom either. Far from filling me with dread, I felt a tremendous sense of freedom, because even though I’ve never defined myself by my sexual attractiveness quotient, let’s face it–I live in the real world and I’m not a cyborg. But just because I’m not interested in attracting sexual attention doesn’t mean I am going to suddenly embrace beige and fade into wall-flower status.

(A note to the young women on the dance floor suspiciously eyeing a group of slightly drunk mothers happily grinding to Justin Timberlake: Rest assured, we’re not competing for the attention of your male peers. Most of us have kids up our asses all day long, the last thing we want is someone else hanging around near there. The idea that a group of mothers on a night out are after anything more than a few glasses of wine and not having to put their kids to bed is….well, hilarious, really.)

The older I get, the louder I get, in volume, opinion, and color. Over the past five or seven years, a swath of hot pink has insinuated itself into my wardrobe and lifestyle. My cell phone was pink. My Danish bike is bright, hot pink. Hell, I even dyed chunks of my hair hot pink last year.

Think about that for a moment. Instead of letting my hair fade to gray, I dyed it hot pink.

Hot pink is not ultra feminine or soft. It’s kind of in your face. I’m old enough to realize I am not ultra feminine though I gleefully embrace certain aspects of femininity. I’m not particularly soft either (unless it’s orphans, then marshmallow soft). I guess I am kind of in your face though.

If the maiden phase of a female is all about sexual attraction and the mother is about softness, then the path to crone is definitely paved with, Oh, hell no.

I’m not advocating if you’re over forty you should go out and drown yourself in hot pink. I’m not opining that you should march into your hairdresser and demand blue streaks in your hair. I’m saying don’t hide yourself away. Don’t assume you have reached a point in life where all you can do is fade away until you blend into the concrete.

I don’t know about you but I have a LOT left to say.

So buy the sequins if you love them. Buy the sparkle. Buy the stilettos or the mini-skirt if you want. Buy the bikini and the screaming orange scarf. Swathe yourself in color. Dye your hair fuchsia. Or don’t. Do what makes you feel good, not what some market researcher tells you you should be doing. Don’t be afraid to call attention to yourself. You still have a lot left to give and do and say.

Don’t buy into the fact that after a certain age we have nothing left to offer just because our breasts are headed south and our asses are starting to sag. Don’t fade into the background. Sing, dance to Justin Timberlake, wear bright colors. Live.

advanced-style-ladiesWhen my mother came home from her lunch I asked if anyone commented on her outfit.

“Oh, you wouldn’t believe how many compliments I got!” she beamed.

At seventy-one, my mother’s got plenty of brightness left.

At forty-six, I’m just starting to realize how much I have.

Screw fading to gray. I’m fading to pink.

 

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18 thoughts on “Fade to Pink

  1. Rachael Hill September 18, 2016 / 7:26 pm

    Totally agree. I am finding that since the age of 40 there is a lot of fake leopard skin items appearing in my wardrobe which I hope are saying “I don’t give a fuck anymore what anyone thinks of me”. It’s true about 80% of the time but I’m working on making that a higher mark. Screw fading away.

    Like

    • Dina Honour September 18, 2016 / 7:33 pm

      Huzzah! (I have a LOT of leopard print too ;-). ). Lately I’ve been branching out into zebra stripes too.

      Like

    • Melanie McNeil September 19, 2016 / 4:40 pm

      I was in a museum the other day (National Museum of Scotland.) There was a large panel photo of quills, maybe porcupine or maybe something else. It was a closeup of quills. A young woman was taking a picture of it and inspiration hit me. I told her “Now add that in heading another direction, and multiply it, and then have fabric made of the print!” She looked at me as if I were a little insane and she nodded and giggled. I still think it’s a good idea. 🙂

      Like

      • Dina Honour September 19, 2016 / 7:50 pm

        Not being afraid to be yourself is the biggest gift of aging, I find–crazy ideas or not!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. pinklightsabre September 18, 2016 / 7:37 pm

    “The last thing we want is somebody else up there,” that’s good. When they go up there now they’re often looking for lumps or bumps, and take on more of a plumber’s diagnostic quality, don’t they? Sorry to probe. And sorry again, for that. Nice post Dina. Spill on, fade not. Go not into that gray without a garish scream, the Punk rock kind. Bill

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous September 18, 2016 / 9:13 pm

    Nice job Dina, as always!

    Like

  4. A Simple Village Undertaker September 18, 2016 / 10:24 pm

    I enjoyed reading this story, as I do most of yours, Dina (alas, we are political, polar opposites). I remember when my father was my age (56) and he seemed so much older than I feel or occasionally act these days. Married to the same woman for almost 30 years, I go to concerts and pass bags of popcorn instead of joints. Yes, time flies, but growing old beats the alternative.

    Like

    • Dina Honour September 19, 2016 / 12:11 pm

      Exactly. And I do truly believe that with age comes wisdom. And experience. And relevance. And all sorts of other wonderful things that transcend the barriers we put into place to keep us all apart. And I personally want to thank you for reading despite the polar, political differences–I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I think that if we dig down deep enough, we will find that we all share more similarities than differences. That gets lost a lot in our speeches and our rants (raising my own hand) and our assumptions. I need to work on challenging my own assumptions–and I need to work on listening. Not just hearing, but actually listening. In fact, it’s my birthday wish this year that we all do a bit more listening and less assuming. Cheers!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Browneyedgalabroad September 19, 2016 / 3:21 am

    Love this – it’s a short life, we need to live it all!

    Like

    • Dina Honour September 19, 2016 / 7:51 pm

      Me too. The chin hairs? Not so much ;-). But knowing who you are and what you are capable of, as well as your limitations? As the ads used to say: Priceless.

      Like

  6. urbanmanusa September 19, 2016 / 8:43 pm

    I think someone is having a mid life crisis.

    Like

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