Yup, this is me. And Yes, I know I look kind of silly but I don't regret it one single bit. It was blisteringly hot out that day.
I needed to go to the grocery store for one thing. One lone, but absolutely essential item. I briefly considered driving, just for the AC in the car, but decided that I needed the exercise more and set out to walk. It's not unusual for me to walk an errand rather than drive, we already know that. And I've walked to the grocery store more times than I care to count. It's around a mile and a half, with no hills, not much traffic and sidewalks nearly the entire way. The streets are lined with trees for shade but the sun peeks through anyway so I lubed up with sunscreen, put my money and phone in one pocket and my mask in another and set out.
It was not my smartest move. Although I am, by now, accustomed to the heat, the end of summer is a special kind of miserable. It's not just the heat, it's not even just the humidity, it's the September in Florida phenomenon called, the "feels like". And that sunny day, mid afternoon, the "feels like" was 110 degrees. And that is just stupid.
The thing that was bothering me most was my hair. I had just gotten it cut so I couldn't really put it up until it grew out a bit more and that day it lay against my sweaty neck, adding an extra special layer of hot. Yuck.
By the time I got to the grocery store and began to bask in the glory of air conditioning, I thought to check out the hair notions section of the cosmetics aisle to see if there was something, anything, I could do about my hair.
There were hair bands and scrunchies and hair clips by the dozens. There were barrettes, large, small and painted with unicorns but I didn't really see anything that would help until, just before I was about to give up, I noticed a card of six tiny elastics that looked as if they were made out of ribbon but stretchy. My hair was certainly not long enough for a single ponytail but I was pretty sure that I could do two of them. I bought both the thing I originally went to the store to buy AND the card of tiny ponytail holders. (what are those actually called anyway?)
The instant I left the store I tore into the package. It turned out that the plastic covered cardboard holding the ponytail holders was harder to break into than expected. I had to pretty much destroy it. Only to then learn that the ponytail holders were also threaded onto a plastic circlet. Good Grief.
I tried pulling it apart. Nope. I tried standing on it while pulling to break it with zero results. I even tried biting it realllllly hard but nada. Dang! Then it dawned on me that the pillars in front of the building are covered in stucco which is a great rough surface! Aha! I rubbed the plastic against it over and over and over and finally Success! I had liberated the pontail holders!
Using my reflection in an empty store window as a guide, I haphazardly whipped my hair into two ridiculous looking little pony tails and continued my walk home feeling every so much cooler.
Part way home it occurred to me that I was breaking a rule. I was not "dressing my age". I'm not sure why that rule was such a big deal in my house growing up since most of rules were pooh-poohed, but it was. At various times there was a serious attempt to coerce me to cut my hair, lower my hemline, properly sew a hemline, not wear certain fabrics or shoe styles because I was not "dressing my age".
It wasn't just family who felt this way, it was teachers, occasional co-workers, a few friends and society as a whole. Even now I see articles about how women of a certain age should not wear certain hair styles, articles of clothing (like jeans! seriously), or they should either tone down (one article) or ramp up (a different article) their make-up solely based on which birthday had just been celebrated.
I say Balderdash!
Here is how I feel about it. This is my age. This is how I dress. Obviously, therefore, I am dressing my age. If you don't like it, don't look at me. It's very simple.
I think back to the days when Queen Victoria was the woman who dictated women's fashions. Women were covered from neck to wrist to feet in layer upon layer upon layer of clothing and those damned corsets that prevented proper breathing and misaligned internal organs. I am truly amazed that in those days with no electricity and therefore no fans or AC, any women survived summer.
Thank goodness I live in these times when I can wear shorts if I want to with my hair in two ponytails in public without fear of being arrested for public indecency. And while a few people may look askance at me, I will not be hauled before the magistrate. Not even by the fashion police.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.