An older lady was finishing up at the nail station closest to the door.
When I say “older”, I mean that she looked older than me by more than just a few years. I’m not going to make any money as an age guesser at the carnival but I would have put her in the mid to late-sixties – maybe even older. I could be way off but, for this story, exactly how much older is not important.
Any hoooo . . .
This older lady stood up at the manicure table just as I was entering. And, with her nails beautifully done in a shiny, black polish, you simply could not NOT notice her.
Five-foot-two at the most; hair shaved on the sides; a tri-coloured Mohawk running down the middle of her head. Yup, you heard me. A Mohawk. Pink, blue and yellow.
She had no make-up on except for bright pink lipstick; she had a nose piercing and about 40 small hoop earrings in each ear (okay, maybe not 40 but they went from the lobe right up to the top of the ear; there were a lot!)
She was sporting black cargo shorts and a black tank top with some kind of design on it made of sparkly rhinestones.
A matching black studded choker and wristband rounded out the jewellery and bright pink hightops on her feet completed the look.
I stood there for what seemed minutes but was more likely just seconds; my gaze scanning her from top to bottom and back again. Just taking it all in.
Now, the punk look is familiar to me but we were much younger when we dared to wear it! If we dared! Growing up meant that we grew out of this kind of outrageous attire, didn’t it? You can’t dress like that at our age. And if this woman is even older than me then, most certainly, she can’t dress like that at her age!
She looked ridiculous!
With my scan complete, my gaze landed back on her face and she looked at me square in the eye and smiled.
Not a rebel grin; not a condescending smirk; not even an impertinent chortle. It was a big, beautiful, friendly smile. A smile that brightened all of the black she was wearing. A smile as bright as her pink lipstick. It was a smile that said
Here I am! Take me as I am because I’m happy and I really hope you’re happy too!”
I couldn’t help but smile back.
All of a sudden, this woman didn’t look ridiculous anymore. It was clear that a lot of time and effort went into putting this look together. It was also clear that she was happy with what she was wearing and how she looked. She wore her outfit with confidence and she was comfortable. All of a sudden, her chosen wardrobe fit her to a tee. It was as original as I now imagine that she probably is.
And that, my friend, is when I recognized one of the perks of getting older. We finally get to dress to express ourselves as we are (if we dare).
We aren’t teenagers anymore – we don’t have to dress to fit in.
We aren’t yuppies anymore – we don’t have to dress to impress.
And we aren’t up and coming anymore – we don’t have to dress for success.
There’s something freeing when you realize that you can just be who you are and dress to be happy. Your most comfortable, happy self. And if that means going back to what you loved to wear in the 1980″s – so be it! Let them call you eccentric, quirky, funky or out in left field. Who cares? This lovely, tiny lady certainly didn’t care.
I truly hope that I run into this woman again at the nail salon. And if I do, I will smile first and, this time, I will say “hello”.
Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net