Are You, Perhaps, Too Old for Your Underwear?

You tend to see it in shopping malls on a Saturday afternoon on the west side of Los Angeles: mothers and daughters who look like they buy their clothes off the same rack in the same store.

If you’re two store lengths behind them, you might mistake them for girlfriends at first.  They’re about the same skinny size, for starters.  But if you’re walking right behind them, you’ll notice that the elbow skin on one of them is wrinkled like a Shar-Pei’s.  And you’ll notice how the daughter’s bare arms have a natural suppleness, while the mother’s highly toned arms look like the by-product of time and effort.

There’s no place for a Mrs. Robinson in this kind of scenario.  Mrs. Robinson’s allure was that she presented herself as Woman in contrast to her daughter’s youthfulness.  She looked like she knew a lot more and cared a lot less than older women do today.  Not that Mrs. Robinson is the quintessential mother figure, but she left no doubt about who wore the most expensive clothes in the family.

Because I live on the religiously thin west side of Los Angeles, I see a lot of halfway-to-dead women who perpetually dress like twenty-four-year-olds, highlighting the fact that they still have the figure of a very young woman, despite no longer having the metabolism to eat like one.  Hello, lettuce wraps.

A critical ingredient in this aspirational look is the thong underwear that old ma will inadvertently flash every time she bends over to pick up something.  Trust me, even though it’s never been medically documented, you do start dropping things more often once you cross over the fifty-yard-line.

My complaint is not that older women wear thong underwear.  Thongs are a completely brilliant invention.  Most women’s underwear eventually winds up in the exact same spot that defines thong underwear, but only thongs were designed for that destination.

My complaint, I suppose, is that once a woman is past fifty, it seems unseemly for her thong to be visible to the rest of us every time she bends down to pick up her water bottle.  They say fifty is the new forty, but forty is still not twenty.  That’s because ten is the new twenty.

The bottom line is that no matter how terrific you look once you are past fifty, you are still missing a critical ingredient that youth has and we lack:  an utterly carefree attitude toward life.  Who cares if everyone can see your thong underwear as long as your cell phone works!

I marvel at the mother/daughter teams I see here, where both females are dressed in their tank tops, flip-flops, low-slung jeans, and—as we will inevitably discover—both in their thong underwear.  The difference between mother and daughter, though, is that in spite of this oh-so-casual way of dressing, the mother has a palpable sense of purpose.  Her attire may be young at heart, but her attitude screams To Do lists.

“Come on, Katie!  We’re going to be late!  I still have to go to the dry cleaner’s!  Would you please just come on!” she barks from the store door she is holding open with her left foot, flashing her thong as she carefully bends over to pick up her car keys without dropping her purse or shopping bag on her newly pedicured toenails.

Meanwhile, the daughter exudes a laid-back Whatever…..Muther… disengagement that perfectly matches her thong/tank top/flip-flops/low-slung-jeans getup.

Dressing in the morning already involves a lot of decisions on personal style, but knowing that throughout the day your thong will be revealed to the world adds yet another layer of coordination to the process.  Because then you have to consider the issue of “Should my underwear match my tank top or my flip-flops?”  Unlike their daughters, most women past fifty don’t have time to ponder this question, and frequently it shows.

The more long-distance question that begs asking, however, is:  At what point in her life does a woman give up wearing a thong?  Are thong enthusiasts still going to be flashing that little underwear triangle when they bend over to pick up their Medicare cards?  Or to adjust the tennis balls on the front legs of their walker?

I do know, though, that at the rate we’re going, there will eventually be a viable consumer base for thong-cut adult diapers.  But please!  Think of our collective future!  The idea of changing a woman’s soiled thong-cut adult diaper may be the ultimate deterrent for young people to enter the home-health-care industry.