License to Frump

I think it began the first time I misplaced my glasses.

See, no one tells you when you get into your forties and need bifocals that it is the beginning of your slide into to frumphood. But here’s how it goes:

First, if you are already near-sighted, your uncorrected vision is better up close than anything the optometrist can cook up. So you start taking your glasses off to read books and packages and instructions, etc, etc. But then you start misplacing them so you learn the under-the-bottom maneuver. This involves lifting your head and looking down your nose. Yeah, like Grandma.

Or you can go for the cranky librarian look and pull your glasses down to the end of your nose and look over the top. But the under maneuver is much easier.

Finally after trying all of this, plus putting your glasses on top of your head and ensuring a twenty minute search for them before you remember they are RIGHT THERE, you cave. You know it’s wrong and all that is youthful in you screams but you go ahead and buy…the glasses neckchain. It is so wrong but it solves the problem. And thus releases you to free your inner frump.

There she is! She’s been waiting ever since you turned thirty. Patiently. She probably got you first when you realized how much those cute heels hurt your feet and oh those Aerosoles are sooooo comfortable. You sit at a desk all day. No one sees your feet. Go ahead! Buy them in three colors.

Then she got to you through your back. You know that moan when you sit down or stand up? That’s the frump announcing her intent to take over. She also comes in popping/creaking joints and daily worry about bowel movements.

She sees her opening and says, “Life would be so much easier and more comfortable without having to pull on those Spanx.” She guides you to the pants with elastic waistbands. Oh, bliss!

Next up? Your social life. She needs sleep. She needs to watch NCIS and Criminal Minds. Forget going out on the weekends. It’s all about staying in.

Frumpy wants a companion though. She NEEDS a companion. It’s got to be a cat. Or a small yappy dog. That leaves hair all over her clothes.

Speaking of clothes, don’t think she’s satisfied with just taking your shoes and pants. Shes wants sweats. She wants cardigans! She’s cold all the time and by damn, no slinky cute dresses are going to keep her warm. She needs fleece. She needs a sweatshirt with a picture of a cat with huge eyes on it! Or a sequined holiday design.

It’s time to talk health now. Seriously, she wants to talk about health problems. Corns, hemorrhoids, joint pain, mammograms, colonoscopies. She is conversant in all of them!

The hair salon? Ha! Why waste money? Dye your hair at home! Make sure it’s a shade found nowhere in nature. Or is five shades darker than your natural color. Then promptly forget about maintaining your roots. Nothing is beloved more in frump-world than the skunk stripe running down your scalp.

Of course it would be silly to spend money on makeup with hair like that. Just forget it. Period. And speaking of periods, once those start to dry up, there is Frump’s best friend. The Change. But she deserves her own post. Just know they are in cahoots.

Best of all? Frump frees you from looking in the mirror on the way out the door. If you should accidentally catch a glimpse of yourself in a random reflective surface, you won’t know her. You’ll think your grandmother is saying hi from the other side.

Don’t despair, my lovelies. There is a time when your brain starts grasping for the names of things that you should know (like your family and celebrities and song titles) and fills the space that you used to use for worrying about your appearance.

All of this is just nature’s way of breaking you down and preparing you for what comes next. I haven’t gotten there yet but I’m looking forward to the next phase where I can start outfitting myself like I’m a five-year-old playing dress up and putting on two dots of rouge and a slash of lipstick somewhere in the vicinity of my mouth.

Now where are my glasses?


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