Every time I see a pair of high-rise jeans, a themed sweater or a couple wearing the same t-shirt, I ask, “When will I start dressing like a dork?” I’ve wondered what was going through my mother’s mind when she got dressed in the morning, and why my uncle would wear a tie that sings. There is an entire style of dress associated with being “old” that is not often defined as fashionable. If you still don’t understand the kind of dress I’m referencing, think of your first-grade school teacher.
It has always troubled me that as I grow older, the waist of my pants will rise, and the designs on my sweaters will multiply. Last night, while bobbing my head to reggae at the Pour House, I analyzed my surroundings over the rim of a Newcastle. To my left was a table of seven adults, ages ranging from 50 to 60-years-old. One of the men stood up to dance and moved his hips side-to-side while shaking his hands like a Vegas showgirl. I smiled and took a sip of my beer; then one of the women stood up and danced with him, equally as goofy. I stifled my laughter until I saw the entire table laughing with me. One woman had fluffy brown hair that stood about a foot tall on her head. The man next to her was wearing bifocals as thick as a magnifying glass. They laughed and danced and drank cocktails, the only people over 30 in a sea of jeans and tie-dye shirts.
Over the guitars and trumpets my friend said to me, “Do you think we’ll ever look like that?”
I scanned the dance floor, acknowledging the difference between young and old– the styles, the drinks, the dance moves and said, “I hope so.”
That group of seven was enjoying themselves more than anyone else in the bar. The drinks that fueled their dancing were probably made with top-shelf liquor, and their clothes looked remarkably comfortable. The men weren’t pulling up their jeans every few minutes and the women could dance freely, not restricted by tight pants or the fear that a boob might pop out. They all enjoyed each other’s company, no two separated from the circle to bump and grind or partake in a make-out session.
They stayed to have a chat with the band during the set break then left around midnight. I stayed for the second set, afraid to tell my friends that I was as tired as the “old” people and ordered a $1.50 PBR.
They didn’t know it, but that group of adults taught me more between the hours of 10 and 12 p.m. than the entire day in class. I realized that the “old” people have been cooler than me all along. They know their outfits and dance moves are outdated, and they don’t care. They’re not trying to pick up dudes or chicks at the bar; they’re just themselves, unaware that anyone is watching. I’m no longer afraid to grow old because I know that as my pants get higher, and my sweaters get uglier, I’m getting cooler.