SOME NO-NOs FOR SENIOR WOMEN

Dec 19th, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women

From Fashion to Language

At my 50th high school class reunion last June, a fellow-classman gave me and my sisters the penultimate compliment; he was introducing me as the featured speaker for the banquet, and he asked me what he should say about me.  I asked him what he remembered about me and my family; his response, “You and your sisters were the classiest girls in town!”

Classy, not cute.  No one ever referred to us as ‘cute’.  I must admit I have a pet-peeve about the word ‘cute’... My mother, grandmother and all my aunts made it clear, when I was a child, that ‘cute’ had negative connotations.  I was never told I was cute by any of them, because they sided with the notion that ‘cute’ bordered on the insulting, was a put-down to the extreme.

So when I hear someone refer to a senior citizen as cute, or something she has on is ‘cute’, I get nauseous.  It translates in my head, “You really look (or have some apparel you are wearing) at a minimum inappropriate or more likely, totally incapable of being well-groomed.”

The alpha-Dictionary.com reference to the word is interesting.  And you can find a gazillion references on the Internet to describe in boring detail what I am talking about.  Just search for ‘negative meaning of cute‘ and they will pop up in front of your eyes.

We need to be careful to distinguish between senior women who are cognitively impaired and are unable to identify appropriate language and behavior from those who are not impaired.  We’re talking about the latter here.

So ‘cute’ heads my list of No-Nos for senior women.  What are some others?

  • Those three-inch heels that make you look so wobbly that someone is always hanging on to you to keep you steady;
  • Above the knee dresses, even with leggings that cover your saggy-skin legs;
  • Poorly applied rough, bright red or pink and too thick as well as spread around too far;
  • Poorly applied eye liner, mascara and shadow that clumps, smears and runs down your face giving you the appearance of a clown;
  • You all can add more to this list, I’m sure!

What is understandable (and forgivable) is senior women wearing white slacks and tennis shoes all year round.  The tennis shoes are more likely to keep you from falling, and the white pants just won’t wear out. We all live on fixed incomes so it’s okay that you don’t throw out clothes that can still be worn.   AARP has a list of things senior women should not wear.  Worth taking a look-see.

Inappropriate Behavior in Senior Women

There is also some generally-accepted recognition of behavior in senior women that is inappropriate… at best.

  • dripping verbal ‘sugar’ around men to get their attention;
  • hanging on men in social situations to get their attention;
  • acting like you wish you were 21 again;
  • flirting with men because you cannot figure out how to carry on a meaningful conversation;
  • flaunting jewelry, particularly things that sparkle;

These lists could obviously go on for a long time.  There’s an old saying that’s been around for a long time that sums it up nicely:  “Taste is something you can buy.  Class is not.”  I must admit, I’d rather be classy than cute.



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