First I have a few don’ts and they are emphatic!Do not succumb to the cauliflower perm syndrome ever. This is the one that very many ladies aspire to and has become a dreadful stereotypical look.It diminishes your look.
Likewise the beige anorak unless you intend to liven it with orange and purple flowing scarves. These scarves are ideal and can serve as a useful encumbrance to finding your purse, ticket, bus pass etc. do not be put off by the increasing irritation of those behind you in the queue. Stand your ground and relish all the aggro you are causing but never giggle,that is going too far. This tactic depends on the expectations of the public – that the aged are rather dim and dopey, you can of course vary the colours of the scarves but really I suggest beige is always a bad choice. It speaks of taking a back seat – disappearing – a mistake this.
Men should also avoid beige at all costs and try not to shuffle. Walk tall if at all possible otherwise develop a distinguished stoop – practise in front of a mirror and think “urbane fellow of the world”. Never wear sandals and socks. My advice for men is necessarily sketchy but attitude is universal and all important.
Never apologise for being old, rather use it as a weapon. When on public transport look for the disabled seats and their occupants then glare, make your glare as furious as possible but with a tiny bit of pathos. If this doesn’t work and they continue to be absorbed in their electrical devices you will have to go on to stage two: seek the softest target and demand their seat. You will rarely be refused but if you are, then play the disabled card – remember this is war. Usually at least two can be guilt tripped in this way so any companion can join you.
Purse fiddling is another tactic that works rather well and seems to come naturally to we oldies. When paying at the till insist on finding the exact money among your copiously change filled purse – it is advisable to keep a special purse for this one – you can mumble about the price of everything if you like and enjoy the angry murmurings in the queue. Try not to look too triumphant as you leave but it is permissible to have a quiet chuckle. They expect the old to be a bore, don’t disabuse them.
There are variations on this of course eg. every time I fill my car I tell the cashier that if I had envisioned putting in over forty pounds worth of petrol in the tank I should have thought I had a Jaguar. Remember, being a bit of a bore is part of our vital equipment. Never give up your place in a queue to somebody younger and fitter than you. I have witnessed old people stating that they have more time than the recipient of this favour. Not so. We have far less time to waste in queues and don’t you forget it. Even if your next engagement is a date on a seat in the sun with other ancients remember that you are as important – at least – as anybody.
I have found that certain stereotypes do come into play as I have aged –(like wine I hope…a coming to fruition rather than a decaying) I have become rather keen on babies. I still prefer dogs of course but there is a scarcity of them while babies are legion. I talk to them and admire them on public transport and my old heart warms at the sight of a young baby and I do not restrain myself I gurgle in an unseemly way – using exactly the same voice that I use for dogs. The cut off point comes once they reach out with sticky hands and are capable of independent motion. I indulge myself in this weakness because I enjoy it and conclude that it is a natural self preservation tactic.
Indulge in the things that give you pleasure – within limits of course. So remember that now is the time to please yourself at last, forget all the rules that your mother told you, you do not have to put other people first you don’t have time. And if none of my suggestions appeal to you I am sure that you can contrive some for yourself – we are a brilliant lot of people we ancients and very inventive.
WE ARE WORTH IT! you better believe it…