Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Earth Comfort Woman

Actual clothing worn by Earth Comfort Woman
on the day the title was bestowed
So much for fancying myself as a fashion icon for seventy-somethings. Yesterday I had an experience that wiped that possibility off the slate.

Fashion has never been my thing, but I strive for a well- groomed and coordinated look. After I retired, even though comfort took precedent as the essential factor in my clothing choices, I have continued trying to look—some days more successfully than others—“put together.”  At the very least, I imagine myself as a woman who curtsies to fashion, even if she doesn’t embrace it.

But after yesterday, any self-delusion must be put aside. I walked into the bank where I’m a regular customer, due to my role as Treasurer of my Homeowners’ Association.  The three middle-aged female tellers always look up to greet me, which is a pleasant change from the supermarket where I have shopped for dozens of years and spent thousands of dollars annually without a glimmer of recognition from a checkout clerk.

One of the tellers called out, “Hi, there! You look great today . . . so summery and comfortable.”

The second one echoed, “Yes, your clothes are always so nice and, uh . . . wholesome looking—so comfy.”

The third woman topped off this cozy welcome with, “You should probably know," she said as she nodded at the other two, "we refer to you as Earth Comfort Woman."

Outwardly smiling, I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or laugh on the inside. Self-image is one thing; conveyance of that image to others is an entirely different animal. Earth Comfort Woman is not a bad image, really . . . but one I never would  have tagged myself with. I finished up my banking as quickly as possible.

Maybe I shouldn’t complain about my anonymity at the supermarket.

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