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Eulogy for Pantyhose

I tossed an entire drawer full of pantyhose. I don’t know when that red-letter day was — This Is The Last Day I Wear Pantyhose — but it was some time four years ago when I still went to an office.

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Garter belts were required before pantyhose came along, and maybe we girls went on to girdles. Walking through junior high halls with a stocking around your ankle, attached to a garter that had loosened somehow was one of the many public ways puberty embarrassed you.

As a young lady, one had to learn how to manage cone-shaped bras and padding and garters and runs and all the accouterments post-childhood. I was sure that my inability to apply nail polish meant my social life was doomed, but I knew I had to carry clear nail polish for the inevitable runs in my stockings. Boys snapped the bra straps of girls in the hallway, snickering and pointing when there wasn’t one to snap.

I don’t remember exactly when pantyhose launched, but I have never forgotten President Lyndon Johnson’s comparison of certain economic actions being as helpful as “pantyhose was for finger-f***.” Johnson did have a certain way with words, but usually, he did not take us to soaring heights. However, it helps me date that pantyhose arrived sometime in the later ’60s, maybe along with mini-skirts.

I also remember the expensive jump from well-patched jeans for college to interview suits and business wear. It took me a while to have a wardrobe suitable for working. Now, of course, my well-patched jeans would be a step up from the business casual of pandemic work-from-home.

We need to adapt to new fashions and new trappings at different life stages. I wear a back-pack style purse so I can use walking sticks — sportier somehow than a cane, but qualifies as a walking aid if you need to sick it up in the airport or other large public space.

I know that there are many articles about staying young, which mostly relates to how we look — hair dyed or not, wrinkle cream, a little cosmetic work, clothes that are somehow current and not dated.

I’m giving it a rest, with the pantyhose. Each stage of life has its downside as well as its upside, and striving was not that much fun. My pandemic hair grew long and gray like yours probably did, and that ended my years of hair highlighting. One of my takeaways from other boomer bloggers is to relax and enjoy. So, like granddaughters singing full throat, we can “let it go.”

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