“That’s got to be the place.”. A vintage-gold French storefront welcomes women in athleisure wear and well-fitted jeans. Bouncy ponytails with bright Nikes; flowy curls with suede ankle boots. They all shop across a blonde hardwood floor. The scent of essential oils wafts through the h(air). This place is a martyr’s heaven. “Yup. This is it.”, I thought. There was so much to take in that I forgot what I was looking for. And that’s precisely when it found me. “O. M. G! Sir! You make that outfit work!”, sang a high-pitched voice from behind me. At first glance, I couldn’t tell if I was looking at an extremely pretty Ellen DeGeneres or a very handsome Peter Pan. I felt my armpits heat up. “Thanks.”, I replied.
Enter Chapter 214: Mirror Mirror
Wow! What a run we’ve had. With our full set of hair and ripped biceps. Our perky breast and cute giggle. We were lookers. Total babes. Complete hams. Nothing like how our kids draw us now; with pot bellies and long boobs. Kids will lie about anything, yet tell the absolute truth about our love handles. Wretched body-shamers is what they are. They don’t even have the decency to lie to us the way our spouses do. It’s always “Dad looks pregnant.”, and “Mommy has earthquake lines on her tummy.”. And our beloved wives…our dearest husbands…aren’t any better. “You’re not fat, Honey.”, and “It looks good on you.”. Lies slip off their tongues quicker than an edamame bean would a pair of metal chopsticks. The point is, compliments don’t often come our way. Nobody flirts with us anymore. That ship has set sailed way passed our receding hairlines. Don’t believe it? Try batting that mascaraed-covered-crows-feet-eye at the cute bag boy. Or take those grey chest hairs out for a shirtless run around the neighborhood. We’ll be called “ma’am” faster than the neighbors can draw their blinds shut. We’re not saying to go fishing for admiration. Or force a swagger. But we are saying…graciously accepting a well-intended form of flattery helps validate our worth as the aging hot dogs that we are. So go on and glow! As long as someone is turning on the heat lamps, we might as well give it another spin!
In another time and space, I’m sitting on a bench over looking a harbor. A sea of soft silver, pretty pewter, and platinum blonde gals approach like a slow moving fog. The one using a cane smiled big and waved. “Hello.”, said her nasally elbow holding friend. “Hi girls. Ya’ll looking spry today.”, I kidded. They probably haven’t felt spry since the Charleston was a popular dance move. But they laughed, and in between their ‘thank you’s’, the platinum blonde told me “Honey, you look like a model sitting there.”. I grinned so big; with all of my crooked teeth. It was the best compliment I’ve heard in a very long time. And it came from an honest lady in a wheeled-walker. I thanked her plenty. Because I know once I look in the mirror, and come home to another sorry portrait of my balding scalp entitled Dear Old Dad…that I’d be recalling on the power of her words. “I look like a model. I look like a model. I look like a model.”.