I’m Taking It As A Compliment
I’m a late bloomer.
Like really late.
I was a cute kid, but in a weird-looking half-elf/half-orphan-from-Ellis-Island sort of cute.
No one would have wanted to cast me in a commercial, although I was hankering strongly to be in one.
“I can do that,” I said to my mother. “I can eat Wonder Bread. I can blow my nose in a Kleenex. I can scream when you pull off my Band-Aid.”
“You don’t live in Hollywood.” said my mother.
And I accepted my residence as the primary impediment to my acting career, and not the fact that I had a face with all my features grouped too close together in the middle, wispy hair and knobby limbs.
I figured I would blossom as a teenager. I remember seeing a well-endowed woman on TV – probably Ann-Margret –
and thought to myself: “Pretty soon I am going to look like that.” It never occurred to me to check out my mother, who is extremely well-endowed in the brain area, but not so much in the chest area.
But my hopes were raised in 1967 when Twiggy dominated the fashion magazines. You could be flat-chested and skinny, and still be pretty.
There was a problem with this concept though – the boys didn’t think so.
It didn’t matter that I cut my hair and drew on some eyelashes. I still looked eleven. And the boys who wanted to date eleven-year-olds were mostly in jail.
I was in college during the Woodstock years. And I tried my best to look the part. But I was trying too hard – I was too concerned with love beads and bell-bottoms as Fashion Statement to look natural as a hippie. I would be hanging out at a poetry reading (Yeah, I did that), wondering if my headband was just the right number of inches from my eyebrows. (And I still looked eleven.)
In my twenties and thirties I concentrated on my career. Power dressing was my specialty. I might have been able to pull it off if I had a power face too.
But my mother’s brain endowment (and my father’s too) did manage to get me ahead, despite the fact that I mostly looked like a little girl dressed as Joan Crawford for Halloween.
And my late-bloomerism continued – I got engaged on my fortieth birthday. And I got married the same year. The short engagement was not due to a pregnancy – it was due to the knowledge that I was going to be a forty-year-old bride. I was NOT going to be a forty-one-year-old bride. I was already seeing gray hair – and that is not a good accessory for a wedding gown.
So that’s when I finally hit my stride.
No, not really.
My career was going really well. I had lots of money for clothes and hair and makeup. So I tried everything. Sometimes pretty good. Sometimes (okay, often) pretty dreadful. And complete change with every season. My husband must have had a little trouble identifying me at times.
But eventually I turned sixty. And 61. And 62.
And guess what?
I got there!
I like my style. I like my hair. I like my makeup. I even like my weird elf-orphan face.
Today at breakfast I could feel my husband staring at me.
So I said in the sweet voice of the long-married:
And he said:
“I never would have guessed that you would become such a beautiful old lady.”