Thursday, January 11, 2007

Little old ladies aren't what they used to be

Rachel laments the little old ladies of yore, in an ode to galoshes:

Still, galoshes were the province of children and little old ladies, whom I remember wearing galoshes like the ones on the left. They also wore plastic rain caps. But no one else did. My mother, for example, didn't. And now that she qualifies as a little old lady she still doesn't.

The styles for little old ladies change, just as the styles for everything else does. My grandmother wore her hair (grey) in a bun at the back of her head. She had three dresses and a cardigan sweater. On her feet were old lady shoes. They wouldn't sell them to anyone under the age of 60. They had sturdy 1 or 2 inch heels and laced up. No trousers, oh dear no. Makeup? Surely you jest. And no fancy uplift bras. Old ladies had busts like bolsters.

My mother, on the other hand, wore hats. They were small and perched on her head, and for some unknown reason, also had veils. No slacks. She always wore high heels and was inordinately proud of her small, shapely feet. She actually wore a girdle.

The old ladies of the present day--I wouldn't call them little, as some of them weigh over 200 lbs-- wear nothing but pants. Sweats, for preference. They have their hair done every week, and use enough hairspray to keep the hair in a rigid shape until the next hairdresser appointment. Hair is grey or dyed blond, never any other color. They wear sneakers, but who doesn't? No galoshes, however. No girdles. Sensible, industrial strength bras.

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