Viewpoint: Makeup and other musings

December 19, 2011 

I’ve only been retired for a few months, and already I’m beginning to question the need for makeup. Is it really something that I need to spend time doing every day? I’ve found that my dogs don’t express concern if they see me without lip gloss, and the cat has only mentioned my lack of mascara once. Then again, I never know whom I’m going to run into at the drugstore.

I’ve met lots of people I know in the pharmacy, and they’ve all asked me what I’m doing now that I’m no longer working. A friend of mine, also retired, recently advised me never to answer truthfully about what I do all day — which, in my case, would be to drink coffee in my pajamas until noon and then watch reruns of Oprah. So I lie and say I’ve been working out at the gym, volunteering at the library and taking vigorous walks with my dogs. As people walk away, there’s often that ever-so-subtle lift of the eyebrow, and I know they’ve figured out that I’m there to pick up my Lipitor prescription. Speaking of which, aren’t you glad privacy rules entered the pharmacy picture? I used to dread going because I just knew some bozo behind the counter was going to announce over the loudspeaker, “MRS. DAVIS, YOUR PROZAC IS READY.” Now, at least, there is some semblance of decorum involved. But still, that cute blonde at the register — the very same youngster who used to feed our cats while we were on vacation — knows way too much!

The jury’s still out on “putting on my face” to go to the drugstore, but one place I am definitely going to wear makeup is the golf course. I think it’s important to look my best on the links. There are quite a few good-looking geezers out there, and I know they’re going to be glancing my way, ogling the new visor atop my head and my “Midnight in Paris” blush. The light is always at its most flattering because it’s twilight. The golf is cheaper at that time of day, and besides, we like the metaphor. Well, at least I do. Maybe the geezer guys aren’t thinking so much about their twilight years as they are about the Cal Poly women’s team teeing off just ahead.

Makeup or not, if you’re going to play golf, my advice is to do it with a bunch of elementary school teachers, and if you want an extraordinary experience, make sure one of them teaches kindergarten.

You won’t regret it. My K teacher friend has the unique ability to be perky and positive, swear like a longshoreman and drive the golf cart like a bat out of hell. Moxie-driven and reckless, she careens around in her cart, racing between trees and down slopes steep enough to make your average 17-year-old boy proud. I try not to ride with her. It’s not good for my heart.

Primary teachers are nothing if not encouraging. Just last week on the first hole, I swished the ball three times, hooked a 20-yarder into the bushes and uttered a shocking expletive under my breath. My calm, kinder teacher friend responded, “Wow, you made contact. I think you’re gonna like that!” It never would have occurred to me in a million years that I was going to like that shot, but what do you know? I managed to recover nicely and only take a 9 on the hole. It’s all about attitude, as teachers are wont to say. It also helps not to keep score — or if you feel you absolutely must write something down — lie. Whether it’s golf or cholesterol, a low score can do a lot for your attitude.

We see a whole lot of wildlife on the golf course. Canada geese, deer, bobcat, wild turkeys and coots (and by coots, I mean the avian variety, not the old guys in the foursome ahead of us). Wildlife, like people I suppose, have their images and reputations to protect. Coots definitely look like their names, but I think wild turkeys need a little sprucing up. Perhaps a bit of foundation and just a hint of shadow around the eyes?

One of these days, I think I may shake up my life a bit and start riding in the kindergarten cart, living life as a wild turkey instead of a coot. I’ll wear makeup too. Imagine me — lips aflame, hanging on for dear life and shouting, “I love this (expletive) game!”

I think I’m gonna like that.

Arroyo Grande resident Suzanne Davis recently retired after teaching in San Luis Obispo County for 27 years.

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