At the age of 58, I’m classified as old whether I like it or not. I don’t feel old, but when young twentysomethings eye my grey hair I know they’re thinking, ‘she’s old’. Such is life. I’ve also borne two children and struggle with a sweet tooth, so I weigh more than I should, in the company of at least 1/3 of the population. Being a woman in menopause, my estrogen production has declined and my body fat has migrated from my buttocks, hips and thighs to my waist. Nice, huh?
I wouldn’t mind all this ‘old and fat’ business if our fashion industry recognised this reality, too. But the fashion industry has been dominated by men for a long time, and more recently by skinny women. They just don’t get it. How many old, fat, female fashion designers can you name? Do you see my point? Hip, stylish clothing is made for the young and skinny. If you’re bigger than you should be, your only choice in the majority of retail stores is to buy ugly, shapeless stuff that makes you look even bigger and older.
I live near a big city in Canada, and the fashion I crave is almost non-existent. Shopping in the U.S. is much better, with more variety but still it’s difficult to find decent styles for OFBs (old, fat broads). If I had more sewing/designing talent, I would start a company called OFBs and make slimming, hip-looking clothing for REAL WOMEN that doesn’t end at size 10.
Listen up, Fashion Industry. You’re supposed to be the experts, you should know this already. Here are my pet peeves:
Bathing Suits – I’m tired of ugly bathing suits that make me look 88, not 58!! And enough with the stupid v-necks. Nobody wants to see 58-year-old cleavage, unless you look like Christie Brinkley. I sure don’t. But halters or simple scoop necks are very difficult to find where I usually shop. And here’s a news flash. When you’re big, your thighs rub together causing painful chaffing especially when your skin is wet. I finally found a pair of swimming ‘shorts’ in Florida, along with a swim top with a gathered neckline that minimizes the bulge at my waist. And guess what? It was the last one in the store. Trust me, I would have bought two or three otherwise. Clearly I’m not the only woman who recognizes good styling.
Tops – I waste a lot of my time searching for a top that not only covers up my flab but looks flattering. Lately my only choices have been tops that look like square table cloths with ugly patterns. And if the tops have too much of an a-line, or are too long, they can make you look pregnant. Yeah, pregnant in my 50’s, that’s the look I want. Please, let’s make a few more tops with an empire waist (just under the boobs) and a gentle flowing A-line down to the hips. Styling 101: Darts, pleats and gathering can work wonders in shaping a garment.
Fabric – clingly stretchy fabric is great for yoga pants, but for a top this fabric is a OFB’s nightmare, since it clings to flab. Please consider a little more poly cotton, which is also more breathable during hot flashes.
Dresses – same thing as tops. More darts, pleats, gathers, and empire waists. And no ruffles. Nobody over thirty should wear ruffles.
Shorts – For several years I couldn’t find bermuda length or mid-thigh length shorts in my hometown. Only capris or Daisy Dukes. Not sure what black hole these shorts styles fell into, but I finally found a nice pair — in the states, of course. My husband always complains when I shop in the states, since our dollar exchange now sucks (again). My reasoning is simple. More selection (still not enough, but more than I’m used to).
Patterns – I enjoy patterns as much as the next gal, but there’s a fine line a fifty-something woman must be aware of when choosing patterns. Is it an ‘old crone’ pattern? If you have to ask me what that is, sorry, I can’t describe it in words. Here are a few examples I came upon recently.
Be careful of Old Crone patterns. The Fashion Industry has it out for you, and wants you to look old before your time. Don’t do it! Always ask yourself, “Does this make me look old?
If enough OFBs complained we could pave the way for the younger generation coming up behind us. Because no matter how young you are now, someday you’ll be an OFB, too.
March is a mad month. College students party like crazy on a week-long break, usually on a beach, where they drink too much and indulge in general debauchery. The weather can’t decide if it’s winter or spring (at least this far north of the equator) and Mother Nature teases us with a few days of mild pseudo-spring temperatures, followed by bone-chilling Arctic winter air. On St. Patrick’s Day people of Irish descent (and everybody else) enjoy green beer in pubs decorated with shamrocks.
The Ides of March have become a metaphor for impending doom. What is an ‘ide’, anyway? Apparently it represents the middle of a month with 31 days on the Roman calendar– in other words, March 15th: the date Julius Cesar was back-stabbed 23 times on the street by people whom he trusted. Understandably, a very bad omen.
For this grumpy blogger, March also means that time of year where I escape this dreadful Canadian winter for a while and head south to Florida, along with thousands of other Snowbirds.
Wishing you all a crazy, mad March, in whichever way you choose to spend it.
I like dogs more than most people. They have their priorities in order, live in the moment and teach us what it means to be human.
In my former life I took care of people with heart disease. My job was important, all-consuming and never dull. Despite the incredible workload and stress, I knew I was giving back in a unique way and making a difference to the world around me, patients and co-workers alike.
Now I write novels, which has given me a chance to explore my creative side, a part of me I ignored for too long. But it’s a solitary activity, sitting on your ass in front of a monitor all day. You live inside your head with your characters, a self-absorbed practice that can make you anti-social. Add to that cold winter weather, and many days go by where I haven’t stepped outside in several days, except to have my evening cocktail and smoke the odd cigarette — gasp, yes, I even do that occasionally — and to throw some food at the birds and squirrels in my backyard.
But I’m aware something is missing in this empty nest of mine, so I’ve decided to become a volunteer foster parent to dogs from my local animal shelter. It’s a charity close to my heart. I have time on my hands, own a big house and fenced yard and I miss walking dogs.
Chewbacca will be with us for a few weeks. He is scary skinny, and needs some meat on his bones. Whereas, I’m on a perpetual diet. If only I could give him some of my fat. But alas, the universe doesn’t work that way.
There are lots of reasons to hate Valentine’s Day, especially if you’re single. Amidst all the hype of promised romance, heart-shaped chocolate boxes, flashy diamond rings, flowers and lingerie, this ‘holiday’ can make you feel lonelier than ever and excluded from The Love Club.
My daughter hated Valentine’s Day for years, because her rocky personal life always seemed to leave her without a boyfriend around the middle of February. Now that she’s happily involved with someone, she’s making up for lost time. God help her significant other if he doesn’t do The Valentine Thing up to expected standards.
Therein lies my problem with this holiday. Not only can it leave you gagging on all the contrived sentiment, but your partner’s best intentions could leave you feeling disappointed. I saw a commercial the other day that made me smile. A local pizzeria, in honor of Valentine’s Day, is offering heart-shaped pizza. I can’t figure out how I feel about this. Heart-shaped pizza? What does that say about a relationship? So your guy can pick up the phone and order out. Big deal. At least flowers are associated with love. Intrinsically speaking, there’s nothing about pizza that makes me think of love. Heartburn, maybe.
Usually my husband buys me a nice card plus flowers or chocolates (unless I’m on a diet, then he’s limited to flowers). I don’t think I’ve ever received jewellry for Valentine’s Day, simply because it seems a bit over the top, and if I’m going to get jewellry I get it at Christmas or on my birthday, which is at the end of February and therefore overshadows Valentine’s Day. I reciprocate by buying him a nice card and chocolates or maybe a single red rose. And we might go our for dinner.
So on the plus side, Valentine’s Day is a way for us to make a date to spend time together, and give each other reminders of how we feel. But that can happen any time of the year, not exclusively on one day in the middle of the winter.
In her article in The Huffington Post, Susan Kraus, a therapist and mediator, says, “Use Valentine’s Day to make your relationship stronger.” She suggests that Valentine’s Day can be a way to celebrate and acknowledge our commitment to our partners in life by taking time to ask some seldom asked questions (from a list of 10) instead of the usual, once-a-year flamboyant gestures or gifts. For example, “Tell me something that I did for you or with you this past year that made you really happy.”
I think it’s a good idea. And much more meaningful than heart-shaped pizza.
On this New Year’s Eve, I wish you these few small blessings:
Pens that work.
Photographers that understand the basket of toys next to their camera are there to try to elicit smiles from small children. Let’s face it, even a monkey can press a button on a camera.
Plum sauce for your take out egg rolls.
Glass that doesn’t break in the frame you are trying to put your favorite poster into.
And last but not least, don’t mistake an iphone for an ipad when trying to sync a song from iTunes.
May all your resolutions be successful!
Yours in Grumpiness,
Happy New Year xo
On this date 171 years ago Charles Dickens published his novella, A Christmas Carol, and introduced us to one of the most miserable, miserly grumps who ever lived–the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge. Hundreds of adaptations of this Christmas ghost story have been created since that time in every form imaginable, including film, television, opera, stage and animation. The book itself has never been out of print and remains popular almost two centuries later.
Last night on Turner’s Classic Movie channel (one of my favorites!) two Scrooge films were featured: 1935’s Scrooge starring Seymour Hicks and 1970’s Scrooge starring Albert Finney. I enjoyed Seymour Hicks performance as Scrooge, but the film itself lacked the emotional impact I was hoping for. Albert Finney is one of my favorite actors but his 1970 Scrooge film is actually a musical, which struck me as an odd way to interpret the story. I have to wonder if the success of Oliver!, the 1968 musical that garnered 14 Academy Awards the year before (including Best Picture) was the main reason the producers chose to jump on the musical bandwagon for this adaptation of Scrooge. Except I kept comparing it to Oliver! which I vividly remember seeing at the movie theatre when I was 12, and Finney’s film couldn’t compete.
Everyone has a ‘must see’ movie at Christmas; for Christmas isn’t Christmas without it. For my husband (and his three brothers and three sisters) it was The Sound of Music. For me, the movie is 1951’s A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim. My father and I would watch this movie every Christmas, and the first time I saw it I shivered in my slippers. Everything from Sim’s portrayal of Scrooge to the three ghosts to the soundtrack to the plot is absolutely mesmerizing. Ebenezer’s transformation on Christmas morning still brings me to tears.
Yes, the film is old, black and white and the special effects are dated … but if you are in the mood for Dickens at Christmas, dig up this old classic featuring the world’s most famous Grump. You won’t be disappointed.