You’re Never Too Old For a Little Vanity

I am ridiculous about going out in public. I don’t care if I just have to return a book at the library, or pick up cat food or poke my head outside to get the mail. I don’t feel right about going out unless I comb my hair, wash up, put on makeup, decent clothes and a minimum amount of jewelry. (Minimum amount of jewelry for me equals at least five pieces, maximum, 17.)

Really, who besides me cares? I believe that the Crankee Yankee (my husband) does, which is always a nice benefit. He always calls me gorgeous, even first thing in the morning when my hair sticks up in a turkey fan on one side of my head. I appreciate it, but I will say this: there’s a reason why couples our age think each other is beautiful: our eyesight isn’t what it used to be. He knows it, I know it, but it still works for us.

Back to the main point: I feel better when I take the time to “foo foo” up each day. It’s not as if Jeffrey Dean Morgan is going to show up on my doorstep any time soon; I just feel better about myself. When I was a lot younger, I’d look at an older woman dressed to the nines, hair just so, makeup perfect, and wearing nice jewelry. In my youth and ignorance I’d think, ‘why bother? She’s OLD!’ But I get it now. Looking good makes me feel good, and I have a better outlook on the day before me.

Does anyone remember their parents and grandparents talking about the Ziegfeld Follies? The Ziegfeld Follies were lavish revues, something between later Broadway shows and a more elaborate high class Vaudeville variety show. Many of the top entertainers of the era (including W. C. Fields, Eddie Cantor, Josephine Baker, Fanny Brice, Ann Pennington, Bert Williams, Eva Tanguay, Bob Hope, Will Rogers, Ruth Etting, Ray Bolger, Helen Morgan, Louise Brooks, Marilyn Miller, Ed Wynn, Gilda Gray, Nora Bayes, Sophie Tucker, and others) appeared in the shows. The Follies also were famous for many beautiful chorus girls commonly known as Ziegfeld girls, usually wearing elaborate costumes by designers such as Erté, Lady Duff Gordon or Ben Ali Haggin. The first Follies was produced in 1907 at the roof theatre Jardin de Paris.

What is not commonly known about the Ziegfeld girls is that Ziegfeld himself insisted on the very best quality in their costumes. This also included handmade underwear and petticoats, which were of course not seen when the Follies performed. When a friend of Zeigfeld’s pointed out how much money he would save if he let the girls wear their own underwear instead of the expensive handmade variety, he replied that the girls knew the difference. Just knowing that they were wearing exquisite clothing, right down to the underwear, made them perform like goddesses. They felt beautiful.

It’s the same thing with “foo-fooing” up each day for me. I walk out the door knowing that I look as good as I can (and age be damned!) each day. I do it to feel confident, and I enjoy the routine of getting ready for the day. I never kid myself that I look 20 again; that ship has sailed, but frankly, I don’t care. Today is today, and no matter what it brings, I’m going to look and feel as good as I can.

My routine may add a few extra minutes to my day, but trust me–the outcome is well worth it. Looking good makes you feel good. When you feel good, everything looks good. It makes it easier to smile at people, to talk, to reach out to others, to be engaged in the day.

I’m not saying that a little lipstick will change the world, but it might change your world.




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