Ask Marnie: Senior Savvy!by Marnie Macauley September 25, 2019
Shalom my dear San Diegans: It’s that time again. Seniors. I’ve no doubt that our dear publisher and editor deliberately plan this issue around my “advancing” birthdays to toy with my already fragile ego (never mind bones). When I was a mere stripling of 40 or so I asked a very “senior” actress what it was like to enter the “platinum years.” Expecting this petite, demure lady to lay on some pearls of wisdom, she stared at me and said: “Well, my dear it’s simply *^&RG()_Y&R&*(_!!!!!!” I’m sure you can translate. Thank heavens the new 66 is 35! (Like Pink is the new Puce.) But we can take heart. Back in the day, Andy Hardy’s mom looked 100. Everyone over 40 looked 100. Today, through the magic of yak urine, Keefer, and serum suffixes that end on “ox or “ex,” those of us advancing do look better than our parents did at our age and generally still get out for an airing now and then. If only we could get the Post Office to “spam” all those “offers” for “discreet” adult diaper … and cemetery plots. Shall we read on?
Dear Marnie: I am a woman in my late sixties who still looks great (yes, had the face lift), works out, and the rest. Several friends and I had a minor argument over telling our real age to the men we date. (We are a group of divorced and widowed ladies who met at our shul. We play cards, golf, and have lunch together.) I can “pass” for a woman in my early fifties. I have “exaggerated” a bit with men, even women for that matter. Some agree, others think I’m being vain. We were wondering what you think. — Still Sizzling in San Diego
MARNIE SAYS: How fortunate we women aren’t trees. The rings around my neck alone could assure me a place in the Petrified Forest National Park. Personally, I’ve always found female age a befuddlement. Like those obsessive bears, we’re perpetually seen as either “too young” or “too old.” I’m convinced there’s a three-week period (age 27 —April 21) when we’re “just right.” (Of course that’s when you get the zit.) Onto “youthening.” Much like a successful souffle, “youthening” requires good sense and timing
Getting It! Our Personal Strategy:
*Don’t do the line, if you can’t hide the time. (Who am I, Emily Dickinson?) If you say you’re 50, make sure your son doesn’t leave his Medicare card on your kitchen counter when
he visits. *If you have to cover your tail with more than one tale, you’ll fail. Between licenses, certificates, diplomas, your BFFs, he’ll find out eventually.
*Don’t malinger if you want a ring on your finger. (Slap me.) Sorry. I think somewhere before the “Hi! Wanna ride my Harley?” and “Wanna use my Senior Discount at Dentures ’R Us?” the fellow deserves the truth. And pssst … by now, he already knows anyway.
*Do shush. There’s no need to say to a perfectly charming stranger: “Love the toupee. By the way, I’m 109.” With all the ignoble things we’re required to reveal these days, a woman of valor is entitled to her privacy while in the “just getting to know you” stage.
*Do divert. Should “he” be so rude as to inquire, assume the basic look, wink, and say “How old do I look?” If he’s conscious, he’ll run from that line faster than a toxic waste dump.
*Do leave room for the truth, which you move toward as things progress. By that time, the fellow will be so enchanted, so deeply enamored, he’ll see you as a superior woman who not only shares his experience but can share his sunset–in beauty–at any age.
Dear Marnie: My great-bubbe is 94 and very active for a woman her age. For example, she’s constantly involved with all of us–calling, visiting, and advising. When a grandchild or great-grandchild has a birthday, or on holidays, she insists on giving each a check. She has enough money to keep her comfortable, but she’s on a fixed income (which our parents help subsidize). Giving us checks is just ridiculous! How do we get her to stop? She’s stubborn and refuses to listen to us when we tell her to enjoy her money and spend more on herself!–Bubbe’s Shayna Maidel.
MARNIE SAYS: That my Shayna, is because this is and should be about how she feels. She cares about your protests or uncashed checks? No. Let’s find out what busy Bubbe does care about.
Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:
Respect! Dignity! And Staying Put. She’s Grand Bubbe, the Macherette, the Empress of the Mishpuchah. She’d rather face down a pork loin than give up that exalted place as the Matriarch with the Mostess (even if your parents’ gelt is doing a U-turn back to you). Honey, the bubbe’s lived through Ellis Island, WWII, the Hoovers (Herbert and J. Edgar)– and those hideous poodle skirts. She knows her “job.” And in her book, grannies give gelt
*Quit worrying. Granny can’t afford not to “give.”
*Here’s what I’d do. Cash the checks, save them–and celebrate her. But do it in a way she can accept (read: don’t “oldlady” her). Hold a special Great Bubbe Gala! Make it a rip-roaring testimonial to her–with gifts. The challenge is to honor her as the matriarch while gifting her with things she doesn’t give herself to gelt you.
Finally, tell yourself that she is enjoying herself. Now all you need do is let her.