Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vanity or Self Confidence?

This is my contribution to the Accidental Knitter's ABC Meme
The Letter is V


The crowd of about 60 people, all in wheelchairs,  were being entertained by Donny and Marie.  No, not that Donny and Marie.   This was a husband and wife singing and dancing duo who made the rounds on the nursing home circuit.  They were probably in their late fifties.

Some members of the audience were clapping in time to the music.  Others were mouthing the words along with the singers.  Some were content to just watch and listen.

One woman stood apart, out in front, dancing while holding onto her walker.

I was visiting my aunt and we were also enjoying the show.

After a little while, my aunt and I  decided to move into the lounge.  We settled into a quiet corner so that we could have a conversation without shouting over the loud music.

A woman (who I shall refer to as Mom) and her two children were sitting not very far away from us.   I assume she was waiting for her mom or dad to finish watching the show.

Mom was in her early 40's.  She had long straight blond hair which she would frequently flick by tossing her head.

Her teenage daughter had her blond hair tied up neatly in a pony tail.

Mom's makeup, which was expertly applied, emphasized the brilliance of the blueness of her eyes.  Yet when she was handed a photograph to look at, she squinted and held the picture at arms length. She finally walked over to the window, perhaps thinking that the better lighting would help her to see the picture more clearly.  I heard her mention that her glasses were somewhere in her purse.

Her daughter, who wore no makeup, glanced at the photo without a hint of a squint.

Mom began to fuss over her son's sprained ankle.   She was telling him that he needed to rest his foot so that he wouldn't miss out on the rest of the football season.

The son, who was probably around 12 years old,  seemed more interested in the jig saw puzzle he was trying to complete.  He did not appear to be very concerned about the rest of the football season.

Mom  told her daughter that since her brother's football team was the only team that didn't have cheerleaders,  Mom had been leading the "crowd" in cheers.

Mom said she was going to bring along a little cheerleading outfit, complete with pom-poms to her son's next football game.  She said that she would go to the game in her regular clothes.  (Perhaps something similar to what she was wearing that day, tight fitting jeans and tank top?) and that after the first kickoff, she would changed into the cheerleading outfit.

"Your brother will be so surprised," she told her daughter.   "Wait until the crowd sees me in my outfit. They are going to love it."

I would venture a guess that on a good day the "crowd" numbered around 40 and consisted of mostly moms, dads, and grandparents.

The daughter said, not so under her breath..."how embarrassing."

After awhile another woman was wheeled into the lounge by an aide.   Her makeup was expertly applied.  I was drawn to her brilliant blue eyes.   She wore a purple sequined velvet jump suit.

Mom, her teenage daughter and son went over to the older woman and asked if she enjoyed the show.   The older woman  said, "Oh, yes!"  I was right out in front singing and dancing.
"The crowd loved it," exclaimed the older woman.

The day was full of stark contrasts of ages and aging.

When the teenage daughter faces her fortieth birthday, will she remember feeling embarrassed by her Mom's look and behavior?

When will the forty year old mom realize that she is forty?

The older woman reminded me of the poem "Warning" by Jenny Joseph.

It starts off:
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.
You can were terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes...
One definition of Vanity is:


1. Excessive pride in or admiration of one's own appearance or achievements.

I suppose it all depends on your point of view.

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