notquiteold

Nancy Roman

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 –

ann marget

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.

twiggy2

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.

joan-crawford-mildred-pierce

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 bloomed!

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.

And staring.

So I said in the sweet voice of the long-married:

“WHAT?”

And he said:

“I never would have guessed that you would become such a beautiful old lady.”

hmmm.jpg

40 Comments

  1. Wow – talk about a “left-handed compliment”…!

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  2. Theonceandfutureemptynest

    How sweet!

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  3. Aw, give the guy a break. He’s a guy, right, and he’s trying. You have to give him a gold star for that. Am I not right?

    Anyway, you have come into your own and are happy? Fabulous. You’re the most fashionable 60-something I’ve come across. Congratulations and more power to ya.

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    • I thought as I got older my fashion obsession would fade – but no. I am more obsessed than ever.

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  4. I am so glad you finally bloomed, but I have a feeling you were always lovely and never knew it. Lovely and funny are a great combination too. And I would love it if my husband told me I was a beautiful old lady. The closest he has come is to say, “People pay money to have silver hair like that.” 🙂

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    • The weird thing was that he has always told me how young I look. So now I am wondering when I became an old lady? Was it sudden?

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  5. How sweet is that…..

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  6. I love it. I laughed so loud when I read the Joan Crawford at Halloween part I scared my dog.

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    • Power suits. What were we thinking? You’d have to aim six inches down to sock me in the shoulder.

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  7. I say, take the compliment and roll with it 🙂 MJ

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  8. I would take it as a compliment even with that “old” word in it. I think the last time someone called me beautiful was…um…never?

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    • I’m sure that’s not true. Unless you haven’t realized yet that you can make it a prerequisite for sex…

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  9. Made my nose tingle and my eyes water. Your husband is wonderful.
    I liked-
    So I said in the sweet voice of the long-married:

    “WHAT?”

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    • Yeah, we get so tender with each other as time goes by.

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  10. Hey, he was awake and not staring at the newspaper! It’s all good!

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  11. I’ve never been ‘pretty’ and definitely am not photogenic (which is why I have a ‘cartoon’ for a gravatar!) However, my husband constantly tells me I’m beautiful, and when I look at my wedding pictures (we got married shortly before my 50th birthday because I didn’t want to be a 50-year-old bride), I AM (so maybe he’s right). I love what your husband said because it clearly came from the heart. Here’s to all of us who ‘came into their own’ in our ‘golden years’. We ROCK!

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  12. Usually when He-Who says something like that (and he does) I say, “What did you do?”

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    • That’s a possibility, but I think he would have left off the ‘old’ part.

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      • No. No he wouldn’t. He would have left the ‘old’ part right there. Hanging there.

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  13. I was one of those elfish children, too…looking eleven when I was an adult. More than once, shopping with my two young daughters, I was asked where my mother was. Unfortunately for me, it’s one small step from “young elf” to “garden gnome”. That’s what I’m seeing lately when I look in the mirror! You look great!

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    • Ouch…elf to garden gnome…I hope my peak lasts a while.

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  14. I’m sure he meant “old lady” in the “my wife” sense, not in the “old lady” sense. Really. I’m positive. Not that he’d necessarily get the difference, but still. Go with it.

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  15. Your husband is GREAT. I love that compliment! Since I am very scared of getting old and the associated unattractive/invisible feelings women suffer as they age, I would be DELIGHTED to hear that. It would be like hearing, “The thing you are afraid of has come, and you had nothing to fear.”

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    • You’ve got a point. i am going to be an old person anyway, I might as well be a pretty old person.

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  16. My son recently told me, “You look good for a mom of three boys, but you sure have a squishy belly.” Um…too much information.

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    • I’m sure you pointed out that he was the main source of the squishiness.

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      • Yes indeed. I also pointed out he was the reason for the big crease in the middle of my forehead.

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  17. Comments of that sort from my man warm me up inside and bring a smile every time I think of them. You have to realize he just said, “I love you” in his own language. The correct answer, of course, is “You ain’t such a bad old fart yourself!”

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  18. So sweet….I love it. thank you!

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  19. “sweet voice of the long married.” yes. i know.

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  20. Talk about your back-handed compliment!

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  21. He has testosterone poisoning, it is not his fault. What he was really saying is I still find you horribly attractive and want to jump your bones every single time I look at you, who would have thought.

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  22. I laughed at this because it sounds like a compliment I would get from my man. The truth of the matter is that if they are still thinking your beautiful no matter how they say it is great. You made me laugh in my sleeplessness so thank you.

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