No Country for Old Hens

Your friend, Finley, just called you.  You love that she starts every call with a ‘hey.’

“Hey–do you have time for a mini-vent?”


“Well, I just put on fifty tiny dabs of that anti-age spot cream with my pinky, then five squirts of firming lotion on my problem areas, and then a half of a tube of medication for the dry itchy patches.”

You can hear her take a nervous sip of coffee.  “And then, I started in on the neck gel and eye cream.  Then moisturizer, then concealer, blush and all of that.  Then I looked in the mirror and thought, it’s never going to get any better.

“I know.  When we were seventeen we just had one bottle of Jergens.  DONE.”

“Well, and Sun-In and Baby Oil.”

“Whoa–streaked hair and sunburn.  But we looked really good.  And back then, hair was a breeze–long and parted down the middle.”

“Do we have to wear our hair short now that we’re old?”

“I hope not, wasn’t that more–late 1900’s?”

“My hair’s gotten so dry and wiry.  The last time I got a keratin treatment and then asked Lamar to style it like —you know, Heidi Klum–soft loose waves.  But I came out looking more like King Louie the fourteenth, with ringlets and stuff.”

“Aw, Finley,  I’m sure it didn’t–”

“And the time before that, I thought it looked pretty good, but you know how those lights and mirrors can be.  Once I got in the car and looked in the rear view mirror, I looked sort of like ‘Flo’ in that Progressive commercial–smushed down bangs with a huge pouf in the back.”

Smoke and mirrors, more like–”

“And I had told him specifically to use that fat round brush on the sides first, otherwise my hair collapses in a heap and I look like Mrs. Brady.”

We both sigh collectively.

“So, I wasn’t sure if that was a real improvement or not.”

“Well, Flo has a more updated hair-style than Louis XIV or Frances Henderson,” you reply encouragingly.  “And, next time you’re in the salon, read that Bazaar magazine.  They always have a section for “Looking Fabulous at Any Age,” and they go well up into the seventh decade.  The designer Carolina Herrera is like their poster child for septuagenarians.”

“She’s gorgeous–so elegant.  And Diane Sawyer looks great, doesn’t she?”

“Yep, she’s one of their faces for the sixty year-old set.”

“Okay, maybe I won’t end up an old hen, after all.  Just promise that you won’t ever let me wear a jean jacket with a gigantic TV GUIDE patch on the back?”

“That sounds a little bit random–”

“I saw a lady wearing one today at Best Buy.  She had to be seventy something.  Scared me to death.”

“Done.  If you don’t let me wear high-waisted, stone-washed, peg-leg Mom jeans.  Ever. Ever. Again.”



A freelance writer who revels in the 1970's...and today. Thoughts on being a baby baby boomer and empty nester. Welcome to the Saturday evening porch.
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11 Responses to No Country for Old Hens

  1. Tori Nelson says:

    I hope you take comfort in the fact that I have this same conversation at 23-years-old. Instead of eye gel it’s stretch mark cream, and I never can seem to get the hairstyle right! Great post!

  2. ryoko861 says:

    Oh, I know how she feels!

    I still keep my hair long. It’s styled, not just parted in the middle and hanging.
    Lots of moisturizer. Drinks tons of water, eat seafood, stay out of the sun if I’m caught without sunblock.

    What we have to do as women to keep from looking like old hens.

  3. leahsinger says:

    This is great! And keep in mind the reason Diane Sawyer and Carolina Herrera look amazing as they age is because they have the money and people to make sure they age well. They’re not real, like the rest of us.

  4. Great post, Reeling! I’ll be 50 this year…I’ve decided not to fight the aging process, although I’ll still get my grey hair covered regularly…

    “Friends don’t let friends wear TV Guide jean jackets.” That should be a bumper sticker!


  5. comingeast says:

    Hilarious! Your writing today reminded me of Fanny Flagg.

    • Thank you, comingeast, for such a kind compliment. “Fried Green Tomatoes” is one of my all-time favorites. I was young(er) when I first saw it and didn’t understand why Kathy Bates wanted to knock down that wall in her house. Now. I. Do!

  6. Sun-In and baby oil – what a flashback! I wish there were a magazine like Seventeen for middle-aged women like myself. I would pore over that magazine and had complete confidence that all of the products advertised or featured would deliver on their promises. I like More, but it just isn’t the same. Wow, you reminded me of henna, Baby Soft, and Lemon Up. Last night, I had a cut and a retouch. I had an allergic reaction to the color! Horror of horrors! If I can’t hide my grey anymore, I’m in big trouble!

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