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Humor March 2015

The Old Gal

And Now I Never Will

By Anne Ashley

It’s blatantly obvious that once you’ve reached the age of 40, you are no longer meant to be inspired by the half‑naked manly man hypnotized by the fragrant nymph wafting perfume in his direction. You are no longer invited to smell alluring, sexy or provocative. At this age my perfumes have been relegated to room fresheners and fabric softeners.

One of the most beneficial aspects of getting older is the comforting recognition that there are things I now know I will never do, or become, or even like. Getting older means I can embrace my crotchety irritable self and shed any pretense that I enjoy the status quo just because it’s the status quo. Being this age means I am allowed to voice my displeasure with fashion trends, popular music (and I use the term music here lightly, very very lightly) and disregard self‑absorbed, overpaid, superstars without the least fear of condemnation. In fact, I’m pretty sure that at this age, condemnation is or should be the goal of all us oldies but goodies!

While watching the many, many specials on TV this past holiday season, I determined that I dislike the new trend for shaky cam scenes (evidently, this is the official name for this annoying effect, too). It’s meant to give the viewer a sense of authenticity and possibly an on‑the‑scene spontaneity. However, far from feeling as though I’m watching something live and unpolished, I’m left feeling nauseous! The jiggling camera, in‑and‑out of focus scenes, awkward camera angles, and half‑faced close‑ups of the performer leaves me too frustrated to enjoy whatever is I’m supposed to be enjoying. It’s like trying to watch TV on a bouncy house!

I have a similar aversion to audience participation while an entertainer sings, too. I don’t mind the odd, occasional, emotive lip syncing, I’m not a complete monster. But I don’t like the audience becoming part of the performance. At the first sign of the entertainer encouraging the audience to sing along, I’m done. If I wanted to listen to out‑of‑tune spectators instead of the celebrity, I’d haul my old bones to the nearest karaoke bar and suffer through a patron’s lousy interpretation of I Will Survive. By the way, karaoke bars are also on my list of things I now openly admit to disliking.

It used to be easy enough to avoid these places and escape the intrusion but now a juke box and a microphone is all it takes to turn a nice quiet meal into a front row seat to amateur hour! This annoyance is akin to birthday celebrations in restaurants. I’ve stated this before, if my meal is interrupted by your birthday noise, then I’m entitled to your cake! But I digress.    

Next, I hear you ask? Self‑help books. I spent many an hour perusing the bookshelves for new releases this last Yule season and I was stunned at the increasing number of so called do‑it‑yourself counseling tomes. What was even more absurd is that the most popular books (or, more accurately, the best hyped books) were written by some celebrity that found fame and fortune too challenging and wanted their public to benefit from their treacherous journey from rags to mega‑riches to oblivion.

All well and good. But a book written by a fellow sufferer, no matter how famous, popular or notorious they are, is an autobiography, not self help. Self help is when you muster up the courage to undergo a transformation or stop a bad habit by employing your own mettle. Period. Taking lifestyle advice from a washed up performer is like asking the captain of the Titanic for the shipping forecast!

Last on my list of clarity and understanding is perfume advertising. This is a particularly tetchy topic for me because it’s blatantly obvious that once you’ve reached the age of 40, you are no longer meant to be inspired by the half naked manly man hypnotized by the fragrant nymph wafting perfume in his direction. You are no longer invited to smell alluring, sexy or provocative. At this age my perfumes have been relegated to room fresheners and fabric softeners.

Anyway, despite that I’m not eligible, I’m still forced to watch these over the top, overly romantic, ridiculous commercials (albeit, muted) that promise to transform your life with their elixir of youth. So I’m entitled to pan them.

I don’t know what’s more offensive to my intelligence; the idea that by merely spritzing myself with Eau de Charade (if I was 30 years younger, mind you), I could transform myself into a mouthwateringly irresistible to anything with a pulse goddess, or the insinuation that I was ugly and unlovable when I merely reeked of well, me (me 30 years ago, of course).

However, here’s my bigger problem with the pompous fragrance industry and their delusions of grandeur. Surely if a woman’s life becomes excitingly, magically, strikingly more valuable, ludicrously more successful and makes you pretty with nothing more than a dab of Eau de Awesome, you’d think someone might have mentioned it to any one of the fame hungry and pointless Kardashians!


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