….on the wall. Who is the fairest of them all?
Snow White aka porcelain skin with ruby red lips NOT Snow White the pruney broad with white wirey hair.
Or so I thought….
Yes folks, this is a very accurate depiction of me (with more tears) on the momentous day of September 25, 2007. A day which will go down in infamy. The day when I discovered my first gray hair. Age 26. RIP brunette bombshell.
(p.s. That made-up date was totally pinpointed for dramatic effect)
Oh, that fateful day. That day when I thought: “This is it, Shelly. The beginning of the end. My youthful flame, beauty, vibrance – it’s all shattered. I must accept the inevitable downfall.”
I also thought: “Thanks ALOT for the premature graying genes, dad.” See below:
“White hair don’t care.” Speak for yourself daddio. Seriously though, the man was fully gray by age 30. Lucky for him he actually rocked it, and still does.
You might be thinking, “why would gray hairs bring her to tears if she loves seniors and all that is old?” Well, in that moment, I was a total hypocrite. Today, I see seniors with their gray hair and think “amazing; wisdom; experience”, but when it came to myself, I couldn’t handle the first sign that I was truly aging. I thought this meant my beauty was starting to fade *WAH*. Fast forward 10 years, I only have a few more rebellious gray hairs (thank you organic lifestyle) and I have realized so much about myself and Mr. Gray. Although things change in color and texture, aging can have it’s own type of beauty. And yes I do mean “on the outside.”
For a moment, I’m going to focus on my ladies here since men have this magical way of looking better and better as they age *EYE ROLL*. I see you Sean Connery.
While searching for “seniorspiration” (yep, made that word up) at a local shopping market, I looked up and saw this adonis before me.
Move over Golden Girls, this lady is the real deal. I mean, I literally had a mouth drop situation (my apologies for not getting a better pic, but clearly, she was onto my stalking). Her perfectly twisted hair (p.s. you should see the back with her fancy hair clips!), her posh yet weather appropriate outfit, her just right make-up. I was in awe. Besides that, she had such a grace about her which completed the package. Royalty. Senior Royalty she was.
THEN, yesterday, I arrive at a resort with my hubby and I nearly drop my tea & coffee cake when I spot this Mr. Gray all gussied up in black & gold (as a Steelers fan this was serious bonus points):
P Diddy can’t pull off that much bling.
Pretty sure I put the I LOVE SENIORS vibes out so HARD that it was like the power of attraction and she finally came up next to me (or it could have been that I was next to the food- but that’s neither here nor there). I thought: “This is your chance.” Like a lion spotting a gazelle that separated from the pack, I pounced: “HI! I LOVE YOUR OUTFIT!” Augh, Mr. Gray (also known as Jane) was a gem and her eyes lit up and there was no shame in her game. She was happy to take a photo with me and full of zest. Her granddaughter was also with her and told me that Jane is the talk of the town and always dresses like this. As in, every single day. Small world, turns out she lives, literally, 1 block from me. I felt robbed of all the outfits I could have seen.
Beyond showing that Mr. Gray can be a breathtaking species worthy of a Gawk’nStalk (wow I’m making up lots of fun terms today!), I want to note that it clearly took these ladies effort to look so put together– and maybe this effort was well spent!
I mean, Mr. Gray didn’t roll out of bed in these cases and head out for the day. No no. There was time and energy invested: outfit selection, hair twisting, accessorizing, make-up application. Heck, I mean Mr. Gray #1 should get bonus points ALONE for putting on stockings. You know what I mean ladies: stockings add at least 5 precious minutes into a dressing routine — the stretching them out, rolling them down, clipping your hang nail so it doesn’t snag them, pulling them up like at a slug’s pace, and then you inevitably have to pee. It’s an ordeal for anyone of any age. Mr. Gray #2- I mean dammmmnnn. She accessorized like Lady Gaga at the Grammy’s…or should I say “Grammies.” ;o)
Now the question, is, WHY would a senior spend so much time foofing? Isn’t it this Mr. Gray’s “golden years,” where he/she’s finally earned the right to roll out in those ripped up jeans, eat sweets for breakfast, and tell it like it is?! So why dress up?
Well, one might be inclined to think, wow *she’s so vaaaain, bet she thinks this blog is about herrrr*. Is it vain to put effort into looking your best? I think not! This reminds me of that TLC TVshow a from a few years ago: “What Not to Wear.”
What were you THINKING wearing and old tshirt, sequence sweatpants and crocs with rainbow-dyed hair?!?
Oh, the magical designer duo, Stacy & Clinton! They were always doing unbelievable makeovers. And they did seem at times a bit “judgey”, BUT if you noticed the huge smiles and the end of the makeovers, you knew they were onto something! They would always say that when you look your best, you feel your best — that it can affect the way you relate to the world and yourself. Essentially, that presenting yourself well on the outside can make you feel good on the inside. And you would definitely feel this truth from the formerly fashion faux-pas folks on the show (p.s. I dub myself the queen of alliteration.)
Why can’t this look good/feel good formula apply to seniors? Well, it can and it does. Perhaps it makes Mr. Gray feel a little better about his arthritis if he puts his favorite cap on to get coffee or her gold bow belt going to dinner?
My personal proof of this formula: Even when she was ill in the hospital, my nanny (aka wife of the original Mr. Gray/my Grandpa/blog inspiration in my “About Me”) loved to have her hair brushed and nails done. A few days before she died in 1997, I painted her nails pink with purple and yellow flowers. I was 15 and that’s all I knew I could do to help her. She died with that nail polish I painted on her fingers. I couldn’t make her well and I know a nice manicure is such a small thing, but I like to believe it helped. Actually, I know it did because it made her feel a bit more put together. She was beautiful and those things made her feel beautiful.
So, back to Stacy & Clinton who would always say, no matter where you go, if you are in public, be put together. Well, my nanny ROCKED that hospital bed, Queen Gray ROCKED that grocery store aisle, and Jane ROCKED that lobby.
Someone should tell that fairytale mirror that youthful beauty is so last year.
Cream of Wheat
If any of these look appealing to you, I’m sorrynotsorry to say, but you might have more in common with Mr. Gray than you think! Mr. Gray (most of the time) totally digs these softer delicacies— and shocker here– but I just happen to LOVE them too, the gloppier the better *fist pump*. Flan, yes ‘mon. Tapioca and Bread pudding, lay it on me. J to the ELLO.
My grandpa, the OG, (“original gangster” for you anti-slangers) hated al dente veggies, particularly asparagus and would constantly complain at restaurants and specify how he did not want them cooked. I was confused by this as a teen, but fast forward to today— I totally feel ya Gpa. I don’t know when barely cooked veggies became on trend, but if I wanted to be a panda eating bamboo, I would have let the server know.
Look, I get it, I’m probably in the minority here alongside me and my senior peeps; I know mushy food is not everyone’s cup of tea and you are likely one of those people who’s totally grossed out by weird or slimy textures, but maybe they are onto something here. Soft/well-cooked food is definitely easier on the digestive system. Convinced you yet to switch teams? No, okay fine fine….stay basic…it’s cool.
I don’t mean to generalize seniors, but they do gravitate towards soft food for an array of reasons: they simply like the texture/taste (like me), the food is nostalgic and elicits fond memories, and/or for those with dentures, sensitive teeth/jaws, it’s just plain easier to chew.
But the main takeaway here is, whether Mr. Gray fits the senior mold, or whether he’s a crunchy-food rebel, LET MY PEOPLE CHOOSE.
Tell ’em Moses.
Let them eat their food mushy if they want. Let them eat it al dente if they like it that way. Let them eat it on a train, or a plane, medium rare or well-done. As adults, we all have CHOICE. Sadly, due to skilled nursing facility (aka nursing home) constraints and other systematic issues, our society flops with food choice for Mr. Gray. Sadly, we treat seniors like children:
EAT THIS OR STARVE!!!
A few weeks ago I ran into Mr. Gray at a bar (no this is not the beginning of a joke). Ok, we didn’t “run into each other.” He was sitting next to me and after the football game ended, I started up a mildly forced conversation when he was about to leave. Lucky for meeeeee he stayed and we talked.
Oh heeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy cutie. Come here often?
We started chatting about about his mother who recently passed away and her experience in nursing homes. What struck me most about the conversation was how he focused on the meal she ate before she died — a very bittersweet story for me; he talked about how excited she was to have a lobster roll since she was often served rubbery chicken. Now, look, lobster rolls are melt in your mouth delish, but no wonder she was elated — this poor woman (and one of many thousands mind you) was STUCK EATING DRIED UP NASTY ASSSSS CHICKEN ON THE REGULAR (‘scuse my French).
Mr. Gray said his mom had so much trouble chewing it that he nicely asked the staff to fix it (yeah good luck with that one). So not only did she have to eat tasteless cardboard food, but then it was like passing a kidney stone to just to try to eat her darn dinner. Forget the food police, this should be plain illegal! Come on man—elderly folks have EARNED the right to eat what they want and to eat well….not the old rotisserie chicken scraps that I feed to my cat. If anything, seniors should be served more flavorful food to make up for desensitizing taste buds.
Look, all I can say is if after years of experiencing delicious cuisines – sushi, truffle pasta, etc., and I’m forced to eat that crap, this will 100% be me:
I’ll be starting a revolution up in dat assisted living- BELIEVE THAT.
You might be thinking, is this post really all about food? Yes, yes it is. Why? Because food is a big DEAL. We love food so much we post pictures of it, we blog about it, we plan dates around it. It’s something that matters a lot to most people- and not just because it sustains us or we try to use it to maintain our health, but because we just plain enjoy eating. It’s one of life’s most simple pleasures!
Mr. Gray is no exception. In fact, old age is the time to kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor (literally!). My nanny used to eat the you know what out of Nutty Buddies, and I didn’t get it till now. You know what? She was enjoying herself, and she earned it. I’m not proposing seniors eat junk all day, but I’m simply highlighting food choice. To force grown adults (extra grown) to regress to childhood roles where mom forces us to eat all of our brussel sprouts, well that’s just not cool. I’m def not okay with that and when you’re 85, you won’t be either.
So today’s moral of the story, kids, is this— mushy or not, Mr. Gray should be able to his peas (and anything else), just the way he PLEASE. SAME AS YA’LLLLL. *Drops Mic*
…With the sound of muuuusiiicc. Aww, doesn’t that film just make you feel ooey gooey good on the inside?!! Julie Andrews, Do Re Mi, clothes made out of curtains. One of the best movies of all time.
Now — since we’re on the topic — I’m just putting it out there….but ya know the song “I am 16, going on 17”? Huge hit, right? I mean, every teenage girl could relate to that song: teenage romance, first kiss, innocence, an older man who’s 17 going on 18. Except one little, itty, bitty, problem. My version was: “I am 16, going on 83.” (and if you could please be in your 90’s Mr. Soldier Boy, that would be bonus points).
Yeah, I’m a senior freak. This is nothing new. We’ve established this with my blog reveals. But, what might be new and fresh for you all is my epic music skills. Just watch my latest jam sesh:
Oh, you want more you say?! Encore?! Sorry, you’ll have to buy tickets to my next concert. And yes, that’s a shower cap. All granny wannabes wear them whilst playing instruments. You’d have to be one to understand.
Ok. Enough of that hubbub! I clearly stink at the harmonica (although in my defense that was the first day I tried it). I did, however, used to be pretty good at the flute and piano. Key words: “used to.” It’s too bad though because had I kept up with them I could be a virtuoso by now. And when I hit 80, I could have been the talk of the town. Like this dude:
Woof, someone grab me a fan and fainting couch. This silver-haired Santana is making me SWOON.
Knock knock. [Who’s there?]. Arthritis. [Arthritis who?] Arthri t’isn’t an issue for deez fingers!!!
Mmmmmhhhmm das right: Did ya’ll know.that musical talent does not decline with age — It RE-FINES. Oh yeah, this is fine wine material here. It’s simple logic- the more you do something, the better you get at it. I mean duh, right? Well, I don’t think it’s a duh thing actually. I don’t think we expect to see a Mr. Gray gone Gary Clark Jr. Quite the contrary; we are mouths-gaping WOWED by it. Most of us react this way to talented musicians of all ages, but when it’s a senior we go ape *shhhhh. We think “He’s so old, but look how he can still play!” I mean, hello, I’m one of them because I internet fainted when I saw this dude.
BUT, as we see with Mr. Gray in this video, talents ripen with time. If continued into old age, these talents enrich the lives of the elderly AND ours simultaneously. Mr. Gray might appear a bit pruney, but he is no wilting grape! And to speak strictly musically, it’s a darn good thing emotionally and physically. It’s a mood booster, provides hand exercise and brain stimulation, preserves memory, you name it.
Seniors with dementia often cannot remember names, places, or other words, but can remember every word to a song when they sing. Check out this video (*warning* get your happy tissues out!):
SHOT THROUGH THE HEART! This gets me deep in my soul. I feel that everything that is positive and hopeful about humanity is present in this video. I could write more here about my thoughts on this, but I mean, I already posted one embarrassing video in this entry, let’s go for 2:
Ok, sorry bout the waterworks, but MAN these videos bring us full circle: Look at what Mr. Gray can do for music and what music can do for Mr. Gray. So let’s all be rockstars.