Boomer Girl: No red hat needed | CraigDailyPress.com
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Boomer Girl: No red hat needed

In 1998, the Red Hat Society was founded by a woman “of a certain age” who was inspired by a poem by Jenny Joseph titled “Warning.”

It begins: “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple,

With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.”



While I appreciate the “let’s thumb our nose at the world” spirit, I’ve never gotten into the Red Hats.

No offense to the legions of ladies who lunch in crimson-feathered chapeaus and aubergine pant suits, but, to me, going out in mismatched clothing isn’t much of a declaration of freedom.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



Heck, I’ve been doing that since I was 5.

Besides, there’s a certain comfort in numbers. You can get away with looking outrageous if those surrounding you look equally odd. Take Shriner conventions. Or, Lady GaGa concerts.

What takes verve, and nerve — the courage that comes with age — is going to the grocery store in sweaty workout clothes and no makeup.

Now that’s thumbing your nose at the world. And, this week, I thumbed, baby!

It’s not like I always dress up to go to market. I’ll occasionally wear ratty shorts or a paint-splattered T-shirt, especially to the natural foods store where people will stop in — covered with dirt from their arugula patches — for more flaxseed granola in bulk.

But, I do doll myself up, if only for the inevitable run-in with someone I know in the produce aisle. (Has anyone ever escaped a trip to the store without bumping into someone who wanted to chat? It’s the blessing and curse of living in a small town.)

The last time I darkened the supermarket’s door without a layer of mascara and lipstick was in 1982.

That is, until last week.

There I was, exercising at the gym after a long, sedentary day at the office when that nagging, pressing question popped into my brain for the 10,855th time (I did the math): What will we have for dinner?

It was 5:30 p.m., and I had a half-circuit to complete my workout. Perspiration had melted whatever makeup was left on my face.

The ring of sweat around the collar of my Carpe’ Mañana T-shirt was expanding by the second.

It would be so easy, I thought, to dash into the grocery across the street, grab a roaster chicken and hit the salad bar. Except for one thing: I looked like an old gray mare who was rode hard and put away wet!

Then, something happened. Maybe it was the pulsating of my thighs in the abductor/adductor machine. Maybe it was “Into the Groove” blaring on the stereo. Whatever it was, suddenly, I felt empowered. Like Madonna, but with jiggly bits.

Finishing my workout, I hopped in my car, threw caution out the window and drove to the store.

Sitting in the parking lot, I watched as customers came and went in stylish work clothes or coordinated leisurewear. Everyone was annoyingly perspiration-free.

“Should have gone to the natural foods store,” I admonished myself.

To heck with it, I thought. I sprinted inside — sunglasses on, heart pounding, chin tucked to my chest — and made a mad dash for the roaster chickens.

Bird in hand, I made a b-line for the salad bar, suddenly aware of a second line of sweat down the middle of the back. As I passed a man wearing khaki pants and a crisp blue polo, he laughed. Guffawed, really.

“Oh, God,” I said to myself. “Is he laughing at me or my T-shirt’s clever slogan? Surely he realizes I’ve been exercising. Workout sweat is more acceptable than flop sweat or hot flash sweat.”

The man continued to giggle under his breath, so I hurriedly built my salad and hit the “express” self-checkout machine.

“Place the item on the scanner,” the voice blared. “Do you have any coupons?

“Place the item in the bag.”

Could she be any more conspicuous?

I swiped my card and bolted for the car.

Back in the driver’s seat, exhausted and humiliated, I thought about the Red Hat ladies and the comfort in numbers.

Maybe I’ll start my own club, I thought. The Sweaty T-Shirt and No Makeup Society. We’ll meet every day after the gym and storm the grocery store together, thumbing our noses at a dolled-up, perspiration-free world.

Or, maybe it’d be easier just to go out. I’ve got a red ball cap and purple T-shirt I could wear …


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