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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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The Older Woman in America

One of the first realizations that jumped out at me and made me aware that I was old was how men no longer acknowledge my existence. At best, they simply ignore me, and at worst, they look at me and quickly glance away.

Never having been a striking beauty, but being young enough to attract attention from the male population, I felt abandoned when men no longer flirted with me or gave me a quick wink. That soon was followed by pats on the shoulder, or a quick hug, or even a handshake as some man addressed me as “Ma’am.”

These days, men acknowledge my husband and call him the “tall drink of water” or “shorty,” but pay very little attention to me. One man, after greeting my husband, insulted me by asking: “And how are you doing, Grandma?” I was not that man’s grandma, or would I ever want to be, but saying so would just have provoked him, so I chose to smile and shake my head instead, and politely answered, “Just fine, Grandpa.”

Men don’t look at me, but toddlers and babies check me out all the time. There is something really flattering when a youngster smiles or plays peek-a-boo with me, and that child and I are not even acquainted. On the other hand, dogs almost always growl and refuse to give me a friendly wag. I suppose that is because they are closer to men than women and sense that I am not much of a friend.

Women seem to generally like me and will speak even when we barely know each other. I have learned from all this that grandmothers are accepted by everyone, and other women do not see a granny as a threat. So, there is some compensation to being an old woman.

However, there is little or no compensation when it comes to purchasing clothing. Because I am overweight and average height, I do not look okay in anything form-fitting or slinky. Who am I kidding? I look horrible in anything form-fitting, and slinky comes off as lots of muffin top and love handles.

I would like to buy something bright red, but red clothing for grandmothers usually comes in the form of an apron or smock. Jeans are definitely out, as are tights and leggings. Loose slacks with elastic waists are comfortable, but sometimes I wish that I could be comfortable in something a little more stylish. Comfort I have found is synonymous with dowdy, but hips, tummy, and lack of waistline equals elastic camouflage.

I guess I can’t have everything. I am in decent health, have all my own teeth, can learn new material, and remember what I learned yesterday, so I may be an old woman, but I am vertical and still here. If men don’t give me much attention anymore, I need to be satisfied that I have excellent eyesight and can notice them.

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About the Contributor
Maryann Nunnally
Maryann Nunnally, Contributing Writer
Maryann Nunnally is a retired high school principal and professional comedienne. She writes the regular column Laughing through the Golden Years for Cape Fear Voices.

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