You Hate Us, We Get That.

We Baby Boomers have become one of society’s favorite piñatas, that much is obvious but why? Is it because we’ve always acted like our music was the best music? Is it because many of us still have all those heavy dark furniture ‘sets’ from the 70s and the kids are jealous haha?

Really I think it’s because we rode such a long wave of prosperity when we were young. We acted like it was just normal when, as soon as our school days were behind us, lots of us said say sayonara to the folks and set ourselves up in funky little walk-ups with candles stuck in empty rosé bottles and wooden-bead curtains to separate our sitting area from the so-called kitchen. In the apartment my cousin and I sublet the year I was 20 the fridge we inherited with the lease was found to have, in the 4-inch thick ice cave of its freezer, many jagged shards of a broken whiskey bottle and a lone human hair. Even so, it was all ours and what joy it was to do your underage drinking in a place where nobody ever yelled you to cut out the foolishness and go do your homework. Those were the days all right.

So if you guys coming along behind us envy that far more affordable life we had, well, I get that. I get why you’re sore, but I have to ask myself: Why do you have to go after our CLOTHES? A person can’t turn around these days without seeing list after list of Fashion Don’ts for us Ike-and-overs. (And, of course 90% of these lists are directed toward us women, since a man in this age group can go out looking like one of the Walking Dead and nobody thinks a thing about it.

It stings, kind of, in no small part because half the things on the list are things most of us ladies are still wearing.

I speak of sleeveless or cap-sleeved shirts. These we’re not supposed to wear because people will recoil in horror and be turned to stone by the sight of our upper arms.

Also, a pair of shoes with a matching bag is now a major no-no. But didn’t we used to pay people to have the bag and shoes dyed to match the dress?

And how about the fact that we’re told never, ever to wear a fleece outside the house? Instead, the list makers say, we should wrap ourselves in “cool, slouchy cardigans,” presumably over large loose ‘boyfriend shirts’ and never mind that this get-up is exactly what I wore in 8th grade while pacing the floor and trying to memorize The Quality of Mercy is Not Strained for Mrs. Meehan in Fourth Period.

To top it off there’s this most galling prohibition that makes it to every bossy list I have seen this season: We women over 55 aren’t supposed to ever, no matter what, wear “neutral” pantyhose, which I first thought meant the really pale kind that make your two legs like a pair of uncooked sausages, because surely they can’t mean those nicely tinted ‘Suntan’-hued L’Eggs that I have favored for the past 40 years?

Alas, they can and they do. Instead of wearing any type of translucent pantyhose we’re meant instead to pull on black or solid colored TIGHTS. Tights, like a babies wear over their diapers! Tights, like court jesters wear under their bloomers and inside their curly-toed shoes!  So now – what? – am I expected now to wear tights with a cocktail dress?

Oh no, they say, heavens no, certainly not. In these cases we are invited instead to – get this – go barelegged, which to me is truly insane since what if it’s freezing out? Or what if we have long walks or waits at a bus stop in our daily working life? And how, in the name of all that is holy, does it make sense for us ‘elders,’ who are asked to hide sight of our upper arms to then inflict on the world the veiny fireworks going off ON OUR LEGS?

I’m on to these youngsters though. I know they’re trying to make us all crazy so they can lock us up, or put us by our millions out on a giant ice floe off the coast of Antarctica. I know they’re just dying to take a big old bat to the piñata that is us.

Well, let ’em, I say. For revenge, we’ll die and leave them all our dark old room sets with the faux-carved wood – like this one I just found on the internet – and see how they like that haha!

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21 thoughts on “You Hate Us, We Get That.

  1. Great post Terry – I really identified with this blog post. Further, I am tired of hearing that 55 is described as a senior citizen. Young people have a warped perception of the word “older” these days. It sure does not align with my perception of “older” … what happened to the expression “you are only as old as you feel?”

      1. Terry – I try to walk four or five miles a day in good weather and that helps for exercise, but if I do a little gardening or deep cleaning housework I feel like a Mack truck ran over me. I am not limber at all! I was getting a few too many gray, … no make that white wiry strands in my dirty blonde hair, so I succumbed to highlights and lowlights this year. Sometimes you gotta go with the flow.

  2. Terry, you hit many realities with this post. It was very hot today, but still no excuse for going sleeveless for older women, as the young call us. (instead, I like saying experienced ladies). As for wearing tights. Baby Boomer girls would never leave wear house only wearing tights. Today girls call them “leggings” and ware them everywhere, as if they were approved by “Saint Spandex”.
    The young ones want us to stuff the “piñata” with ladies “puff sleeves”, knee length skirts, and penny loafers. Men, pack your shoe polish, comfortable fitting blue jeans, worn with high white socks and white “New Balance” sneakers. And don’t forget to put in the silverware polish.
    Terry, you’re right. There is a generation divide and for good reason.

  3. Hi Mrs. Marotta! I enjoyed this read. Some professions still do require regular panty hose. One of my daughters wears them everyday as an attorney. And yes, it is absolutely true that we had the best music! Those were the days when true talented artists made it to the top. I wear sleeveless tops. After all, as you had posted in an old blog, ” no one is looking at you, anyway.” So who cares?! Be comfortable!

    1. Thank you so much for commenting and I am cheered to hear that about your daughter and the expectation that she wear pantyhose! It is no surprise to hear that you wear sleeveless tops. You still look just as you did at 16 years old. And sitting in my English class in room 334! And please know that I am so sorry to have read about your mom’s passing. I have meant to reach out before now to you kids. It is very hard. My thoughts are with you all.

      1. Thank you for your kind words. I miss my mother so much. She is both my first and last thought each day. I wish I could be 16 again, and sitting in that English class in room 334! I enjoyed all those classic novels. I reread them when my daughters were in grade school. I’m always looking for a good read, but most of the current “best sellers” don’t have much substance. Oh, you also look good in your picture. I wish you would start the blog again. I really enjoyed it.

      2. I so enjoyed over the years seeing pictures on Facebook of you with your mom. I know you will continue to think of her on waking and on retiring for many a day to come . Losing my mother the way I did carved me out for sone 5 or 7 years before the miracle occurred and I began to feel her inside me. The wise ones in every culture tell us that this is the endpoint of grief , this sense of being ‘accompanied’ by the lost one. Still, what we wouldn’t do to see them once more framed in our doorways I know!

        I will try to post blogs more often. My life has changed so much since I stopped writing for pay. /I’m still feeling my way in this new world …

  4. You are so right about the panty hose dilemma. Definitely spot on. When you are banned from wearing them, you change your entire wardrobe. You wear slacks, jeans, boots, only dresses and skirts that look good with tights. I like the comment about the cocktail dress. 70 year old legs, no matter how toned are not what they used to be. And what about smelly feet ruining your shoes? I have kept a few pair of panty hose in their wrappers in the hope that this too will pass. But for some reason, I cannot make myself break this current fashion norm…yet.

  5. Oh, sooo funny. I am wondering what to wear. Actually, I could stroll down the street in my birthday suit whenever the Patriots are playing, and no one would see me. Absolutely, no traffic out there.
    By the way, have you seen men wearing rompers – the latest fashion tip for them? I can wear whatever I want, and say just about anything now, for I recently reached my 91st. birthday. So be warned!

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