November 5th, 2006

ozarque figure

Eldering; time management and the Flying Nun...

Old women need a strong support network, right? Somebody .... at least one somebody ... they can take their troubles to. Somebody who will be there for them with comfort and sympathy and a solution to their problems.

Take Sally Field [hereafter SF], for example -- a woman of 60 who looks maybe 42 -- and Sally Field's Girlfriend [hereafter SFGF] who, we are supposed to believe, have participated in a dialogue that goes like this:

SFGF: "Oh, Sally .... Sally .... I just don't know what to DO!" [Wipes tears from eyes]
SF: "Now, now, dear .... Surely it can't be that bad!"
SFGF: "But it IS! It IS! I just can't TAKE it any more!"
SF: [Leans forward; touches SFGF's hand tenderly] "Whatever it is, dear, we can deal with it .... together. Tell me what's wrong. You know you can tell me anything; you KNOW I'm always here for you. Tell me, dear; what is it that's tormenting you so?"
SFGF: [Bites lip; swallows hard; then raises her chin bravely and speaks] "Sally.... One day in every week -- every single week! -- I have to set aside time to take my osteoporosis medicine. One day every WEEK! I can't go ON like this! PLEASE, Sally, HELP me!"
SF: "Dear, would it be better if you only had to set that time aside once a month instead of once a week? Could you DO that, do you think?"
SFGF: "Omigod, that would be SO much better! I could DO that, Sally -- I KNOW I could!"
SF: "My dear: There IS an osteoporosis pill you only have to take once a month. There IS! It's called Boniva."

This is different from the commercial where a gorgeous teenager who can't tell a shark fin from a dolphin fin thinks it's sweet to get hit in the head with a Vonage box and knocked flat as she's running toward the water to "play" with the sharks. That one's repulsive, but it's about a child; if she isn't eaten by the sharks there's at least a chance that as she grows older she'll grow wiser. The Sally Field commercial is about women who have not only grown up but have grown old. And have not grown wiser. Have only grown so stupid that they have to "set aside time" for the major task of taking a single pill. This commercial is not intended to be funny.

Long ago, after writing in this journal about Ursula K. Le Guin's complaint [during a WisCon Guest of Honor speech] that since she had grown old she had become invisible, I wrote: "You have to wonder.... Suppose that Ursula K. Le Guin (or any other elderwoman of your choice) looked like Gandalf. The mane of glorious thick white hair. The superb white beard that covers the raddled neck and the jowls and the lines around the nose and mouth. The tall straight body in its beautiful robes. The strong white teeth and the wonderful hands. Even if you modernized the robes and eliminated the white horse, when she walked into a room she wouldn't be invisible. But she'd have to keep the beard, I'm afraid, or it wouldn't work..."

And shelly_rae commented:

"A friend of mine who is now in her late 80s noticed how people were beginning to not notice her when she walked into a room. Her solution, akin I think to wearing a long white beard, is to wear a hat. Sylvia's hats are marvelously stylish and impossible not to notice. She can glide into a room, nod and smile in a queenly fashion as all heads turn to check out the woman in the hat."

Maybe the hat would do it, even without a beard.

Where are the hat companies? Why aren't they doing commercials in which old women are helping one another pick out really spectacular hats?

I'm definitely going to need help from my "girlfriends" to pick out hats that will go with my Standard Public Dress Uniform of slacks and jacket and teeshirt and sandals.

Or maybe I'll just crochet them. [My hats, not my girlfriends.] I could DO that -- I KNOW I could!