Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Grouchy old woman

Since yesterday was a holiday, and Addison didn't have school, he spent the night with us on Monday night. That gave his mom and dad an evening together, and meant that I didn't have to get up and get dressed quite so early. Besides, we love having him here.

So, what do to on a dreary, wet Portland day? We went to the mall, of course! Some of the Christmas light are already up and there's lots of stuff to see and do, including our favorite - a visit to the bookstore and a mid-morning vanilla steamer for him and a latte for me!

For years, I colored and curled my hair, put makeup on every morning, and tried to present an attractive and professional appearance when I went out the door. But I'm 61 years old and retired now. Comfort is a priority, and while I don't go out looking slovenly, I don't spend a lot of time getting ready to go to the store! I shower, use deodorant, brush my teeth, comb my hair, put moisturizer on my face, and wear clean clothes. Yes, I know it's a minimalist approach. Yes, I know my hair is 90% grey and tucked behind my ears. Yes, I know my nails are ratty-looking. But I never have to tell Addison to be careful of Gran's hair or Gran's makeup. I never have to worry about getting dirty or smudged if he's overly enthusiastic with his affection. And I like it that way!

I was approached by no fewer than FIVE young people working in kiosks and selling everything from hair products to skin and nail products as we cruised the stores yesterday! All had a variation on the same line: "Ma'am, may I ask you a question?" Or, "Ma'am could I see your (hands, skin, etc.)?" "Sure," I said, showing them the offending body part as I continued to walk past, following my young perpetual motion machine. Did they really think that they could sell me anything, that they would have even a nano-second's worth of my attention?

Yes, I know. They're just doing what they've been told to do: Look for the woman who looks as if she jumped out of the shower and into her clothes. Ask if you can ask her a question. That's your target - the woman who needs HELP! And they're bored and trying to earn a buck. So you can't really blame them, I guess. But it is offensive to me. I'm being singled out because I don't fit someone else's idea of what I should look like. They didn't go after any of the women who looked "put together," just us plain-jane folks.

And, I guess, that's as far as it goes. I don't care that I'm not acceptable to them; I'm pretty darned comfortable with who I am. But I do just want to be left alone when I'm mall-surfing with my cutie. If I want your product, I know where to find you!


  1. Suggest you take the "plain-jane" classification as a compliment. At LEAST the kioskers are looking at you. When I walk by them (and I am so NOT "put together" & more like falling apart with age) they take one glance in my direction and immediately look away to avoid eye contact, simultaneously chatting into their cell phones. Guess I must look like a grouchy old man.

  2. Suggest you take the "plain-jane" classification as a compliment. I am so NOT "put together" and now I suppose not "plain-joe" either. When I walk by the kioskers I am awarded one quick glance followed by a rapid eye movement diverted toward the ground. Then they talk into their cell phones, probably describing the "grouchy old man" walking by.

  3. I am one of those people who rarely goes to the mall without being at least a little "put together." Not like the 16-yr-old girl-gang version of put together, but I definitely go out of my way to look better than I usually do.

    One of them got me with the grab-the-hand-while-asking-if-I-can-ask-a-question thing and asked if my nails were natural. They were a pretty lengthy French manicure at the time. I took my hand back and told her, "Nope! They're fake! Have a blessed day!" The look on her face was priceless.

  4. Good for you, Cheryle! How much more time and money would people have if they just went "au naturale" (sp) rather than dyeing, caking on makeup, manicuring, etc. just to walk out the door. One of the unheralded beauties of growing mature is we care less about appearance and more about substance. Carry on, my beautiful friend!

  5. Grrr, I cannot stand those pushy salespeople! That would make me grouchy too. Besides, you're beautiful just as you are and you have more important things to do than fuss around with most of the junk those folks are selling.

  6. Oh Cheryle, I love your approach, and I look forward to the day when I don't care anymore. It is a lot of work to even put basic makeup on and straighten my hair and try to find an outfit that is comfortable and stylish. Somedays I just want to throw my hands up and say never mind! And I do, on the weekends when I can be anonymous. But, for the other 4-5 days of the week, it is what it is. :)