I usually don’t feel old. Am I getting old? Of course, because that’s part of the human experience. But I’ve reached the point in my, ahem, life journey where I sometimes get figuratively slapped in the face, like a hard open hand slap, that I’m o-l-d.
For instance, the other day I realized I’m so old that I not only remember traveler’s checks – I actually used them. If you want to have fun with your children try explaining to them the concept of traveler’s checks.
I started with the fact that you had to actually step foot inside an actual bank so you could purchase the checks. This had my daughter, who does everything on her phone, saying, “that’s scary.”
Smiling, I told her I wasn’t even to the good part which was the hand cramp inducing slog of signing each and every check in front of a bank teller. This led me to silently praying she didn’t ask what a bank teller was because then I would be scared.
I took great joy in waxing poetically about the thrill of vacationing with traveler’s checks where penmanship, specifically cursive, mattered because every time you used a check you had to sign it again so the recipient could compare the signatures.
My daughter pointed out that in one sentence I had mentioned two things that are now obsolete with her generation – cursive and any kind of paper currency. That right there was the whack upside the head that I’m old.
It doesn’t help that ever since I wrote a column a couple of months ago about being told a LED light bulb had a longer life expectancy than me (https://snarkyinthesuburbs.com/2021/12/14/elderly-adjacent-say-what/) I’ve been getting google ads about cremations, burial plots etc. Those I don’t mind so much. It’s all the listicles now bombarding my email inbox telling me the ten things I need to do to “not look so old” from how to style my hair to what clothes I should wear that I find aggravating.
I use the word aggravating because I can tell the lists are being written by interns who probably haven’t hit the legal drinking age yet and whose idea of fashion are yoga pants. Oh, and by the way wearing yoga pants is a no-no according to these lists because Lyrca is a younger woman’s domain or as one listicle said, “following youth trends just makes you look older.”
That right there is what makes me roll my eyes. These lists are a celebration of aging stereotypes. I mean, come on, one “article” mentioned how older women should “ditch the lace shawl.”
I don’t think in my lifetime I’ve seen any female wearing a lace shawl except at a wedding where the shawl was a vintage Gucci.
The hairstyle listicles are just as bad. You shouldn’t go gray, and you can’t have long hair. Basically, the style for a woman who remembers using traveler’s checks is a short, heavily dyed do or bleached out bob.
It’s totally ridiculous and yet I scan these lists because I feel duty bound to keep a check on stupidity. I also enjoy seeing that I’m hitting a lot of the aging “don’ts.” Yoga pants – yes because work from home means never having to use a zipper. Long hair – also yes due to the fact that the five seconds it takes to put my hair in a bun or ponytail means never having to pick up a styling brush.
In fact, I think I’m going to take my yoga pants clad, long hair swinging self and do something really scandalous like write a check and sign my name in cursive.