I woke up in a panic this morning, something I swore I wouldn't do this year at Christmas. I guess the date – Dec. 15 – reminded me that there are a mere 10 days left until the big day. Two of those I don't consider shopping days, and one is my birthday, which is of course in my mind a national holiday. That leaves 7 days. So I panicked.
I rushed to get to a meeting first thing this morning and after the meeting, I made a bee-line to the mall. I had my list, I had my discount coupons (somehow they never seem to overlap, but I take them anyway), I had my triple-shot Starbucks jet fuel, and I had on my attitude. My "don't bother me and I won't bother you" attitude.
The shopping was going well, and I was congratulating myself about 2 hours into the venture. While I was standing in line at Macy's to pay for something or other, the woman in front of me turned to ask me a question. She had to ask it twice, as I am completely un-used to talking with complete strangers, especially when I'm on a mission.
"Ma'am? What do you think, is it too much?" I snapped back to the here-and-now and realized that she was talking to me. "Pardon me?" I asked. She asked again, "Is it too much?" She was holding a nose ring up to the side of her nose. What was she asking me anyway, did it cost too much or was it too much for someone's face? Answering my question, she added, "I've been wanting to go bigger for a while now and just haven't had the nerve. I saw this and thought, 'why not?'
Hmmm. This woman was 60 years old if she was a day. Now I'm a firm believer in "live and let live," as long as you don't bother me. But I'm also a firm believer in acting your age, dressing your age, behaving your age. I don't mean to say that she should have been in a wheelchair with an afghan on her lap, but a nose ring? And a big one at that? Usually, I'm also a firm believer in stark honesty. I just didn't have the heart to tell this woman that a nose ring, large or small, only made her look like an old chick trying to look younger than she is. I mean, it would look the same on me. I've always found it sad and sort of humorous at the same time to see an older woman sporting cleavage, fake tans, white lipstick, skintight shirts and miniskirts. They're brave, I have to give them that. A precious few can even pull it off, in a dimly lit room anyway. But for the most part, they just look like older women clinging desperately to their younger years, even though they're long gone.
So I did what any self-respecting woman would do in the same situation. "Oh, I think it really suits you!," I said, and she grinned from ear to ear. We have to look out for one another, no matter the situation, don't we? I imagine she took the small ring out and screwed the big one in as soon as she paid for it, glancing at herself in every mall mirror she passed this afternoon. The rest of her day was probably infinitely better than it began, and all because she stepped out of the "old chick" box and bought some face jewelry.
I just can't bring myself to do it. I lump all that – body jewelry and tattoos – into one category: "Something to do for young girls who consider the 'future' to be this weekend." I just picture that same stuff 30 or 40 years from now, tripping over a belly-button ring, or sporting a tattoo so stretched out by gravity that it looks like a Rorschach inkblot.
So lady, whoever and wherever you are, I salute you. Maybe when I reach your age (a short 10 or so years from now), I'll get something pierced or inked. I doubt it but if I do, I expect you to tell me how great it looks on me.