Written by Rose Ridnor, September 1963
A real glamour gal, hair bottled blonde, lovely creamy white skin, daily cold-creamed, lotioned, manipulated and patted woman with a flair for clothes and figure to show them to advantage, all finished off with beads and bangles to charm the eye. Sound catty? You betcha’ I am.
I look at her, then look at me. Dumpy, blah, clothes that shriek homemade by a shaky-scissored, ten-thumbed, blurry-eyed seamstress. I sigh with pity for myself.
Now then, I was gossiping with a young woman of late twenty, and in course of conversation, I asked Miss Twenties how old she thought Madam Blondie was, and to my utter amazement, she guessed her age within two years.
Evidentially, the young see age with clearer eye than we oldsters. They know but two ages, young and ancient. Their eyes do not gloss over wrinkles, sags and pouches, whereas, we oldsters become so accustomed to them with the passing years we skip over them.
Of course, I didn’t ask Miss Young Smarty-pants to guess MY age. Think I’m nuts or something!
Which brings to mind, a night quite some years ago, a woman came to the door selling religion. We asked her in. She talked for a couple of hours, and at one point, asked Grandpa quite coquettishly, “How old do you think I am?”
He peered at her appraisingly. She had ghastly red hair, streaked with orange, sag lines on her face, but slim and trim in a full skirted black dress with large red flowers, girlish cut and gay.
Now when a woman like that asks a man to guess her age, she thinks she’s a spring chicken with a capital “S” for sexy.
Before I could pinch Grandpa in warning, he jumped in with both feet and opined she must be about sixty.
Well, that woman almost keeled over. When she recovered her composure, her lips parted in a sickly smile, but she was gracious enough to admit he had guessed right and complimented him on his astuteness. She put it down, however, as a lucky guess. For no one else, she finished, had ever guessed her to be more than forty-five.
If that makes her happy when she shuts her eyes and looks in the mirror, hurrah for her. But it seems to me, when you try too hard to fool other people, you focus more attention on what you’re trying to hide.
And guess who told who that he should take a course in etiquette and diplomacy. And if he ever volunteers the age of you-know-who, he better remember to lop off at least ten years!
After almost a year, Grandpa had an appointment with the doctor. The sign of the pretty young nurse reminded him that during his last visit, she’s mentioned getting engaged and was to be married shortly thereafter.
Now he offered her belated congratulations and good wishes. She thanked him, then added, “But I’m already divorced.”
Divorced! Engaged, married and divorced, all in less than a year. What a pity, what a waste.
As I sat there pondering the state of human affairs, while Grandpa expressed proper words of sympathy and understanding, the thought occurred to me: Whatever it was that tore them apart so quickly, must have been present even at the altar. It was not something that developed and grew in time with the stress of adjusting to each other, and to their own still evolving natures.
Not out of sheer curiosity, but rather to gain a little understanding I asked an asinine question, “Why could you not have discovered during courtship that you weren’t suited to each other?”
She provided a very sensitive answers, “Because then we were on our best behaviors.”
A rare bit of insight that comes too late to too many.