It’s the most glamorous time of the year

Everyone is busting out their sparkles now for the various seasonal celebrations. There are office Christmas parties—his and hers, black tie charity fund-raisers, family get-togethers and of course, New Years’ Eve. I’m no longer a young party animal. I’m now enjoying retirement and prefer a quiet evening in my LaZ-Girl chair with my little dog in my lap and a nice cup of tea at my side, binge-watching the latest Netflix offerings. Since retiring I’ve passed most of my sparkles and evening dresses on to better causes, tossed the stiletto’s and said farewell once and for all to small talk with business associates and people I hardly know over lavish dinners under mirrored disco balls.

Despite entering this quieter phase of my life, I still can’t resist admiring the bling and excess that confronts us at this time of year whenever we enter a store or mall. I marvel at the gorgeous sequined cocktail dresses and evening bags displayed on the mannequins in store windows. Those strappy silver heels that would cripple this old boomer’s feet after one step still emit their siren’s call. I imagine my former twenty-something body in those shimmery mini party dresses, then sigh at the realization I’ll never look that great again. The upside of the current state of affairs is knowing that I was never as happy then as I am now, so all’s well.

Give me strength, for this too shall pass.

November and December are when the major cosmetics companies bring out their big marketing guns, the AK47’s of the beauty business. Promotions, gift sets and purchase-with-purchase collections abound and I’m a sucker for all of it. Forty or fifty years ago I got a ‘free’ Frosted Apricot lipstick as part of an Estée Lauder promotion at Eaton’s and I was hooked. Miraculously, they still make that colour and it’s my go-to lipstick for all occasions and outfits. Those freebies were so much fun and introduced me to products that I soon incorporated into my ‘beauty’ routine. That’s the genius in their marketing. My biggest weakness with the most potential for being sucked in are those giant makeup and treatment kits offered by Clinique, Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Elizabeth Arden and other cosmetics behemoths in the weeks leading up to Christmas. You know the ones—buy this incredible assortment of products valued at $450.00 for only $65.00 with any Estée Lauder purchase. A dizzying array of blushers, eye shadows, multiple lipsticks (in colours I would never wear), mascara, eye liners, full-size bottles and jars of skin care products are all seductively displayed in a faux-croc travel case (usually in red) for my greedy pleasure. And I love it all.

. . . and visions of sugar plums.

Several years ago I caved and bought one of those purchase-with-purchase combos. Most of the products didn’t suit me so it languished in the drawer for months before I finally tossed or gave away its contents. And the travel case turned out to be neither efficient or practical. Even now, I have an embarrassing inventory of makeup and skin care products in my bathroom that mostly collect dust. As we age, we find that less is better and I no longer need or use so much of what was once part of my regular routine. Smokey eyes, facial contouring and iridescent shadows are and will remain distant memories. Moisturizing eye drops, industrial strength retinol and biotin are now front and centre.

So, if you happen to spot me drooling in front of the Estée Lauder counter with my credit card quivering in my hand, give me a smack and tell me to get myself off to Tim Horton’s and cool my heels. But first, I have to pick up a new Colour Envy lipstick in Defiant Coral at Estée Lauder and a Lancôme Hypnôse mascara with the corresponding eye makeup remover. That should qualify me for the cute promotional bonus. How’s that for step one in my 12-step programme to correcting my wanton ways and creating a better me?

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It’s time for some Boomer backlash

Another Boomer favourite bites the dust.
Another Boomer favourite bites the dust.

My world is collapsing. Just like my hair on a humid day or my self-esteem when I try on a bathing suit. I was devastated to hear that my favourite women’s radio show, Whatever, hosted by Christine Bentley, Kate Wheeler and Sharon Caddy on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 167 is being cancelled. (Click here to read Sirius. . . we have a problem.) Then, while I was still licking my wounds from that episode I received an email that my favourite magazine, MORE will cease publishing with the current April issue. I’ve been a subscriber for more years than I can remember, back to when I still had a waistline. Targeted at mature, Boomer women, MORE is one of the more intelligent, relevant and enjoyable magazines I receive—and I subscribe to eighteen publications per month. The day it arrives in the mail, I sit down with my cup of tea and read it cover to cover. Even the ads are interesting. Meredith Corporation’s, male president said low advertising revenues could not support further publication.

We’ve all experienced that frustrating sense of loss when a favourite product is discontinued. Who hasn’t mourned Estée Lauder or Lancôme cancelling our favourite shade of lipstick. “But we’re introducing new and better colours/shades/flavours/styles they tell us” in an attempt at consolation. I’m now down to my last tube of Portofino Coral lipstick sourced by Googling every corner of the internet and finally finding a supplier who had two left. Surprisingly, Estée Lauder still produces Frosted Apricot which I was first introduced to in one of their gift-with-purchase promotions about forty years ago, and is still in rotation.

Hey! We're still here and we're still relevant.
Hey! We’re still here and we’re still relevant.

I’m convinced the entire world is determined to eliminate anything of interest or relevant to Baby Boomers. Despite our huge demographic, we can’t seem to convince “the establishment” that we’re a valued and financially valuable target market. They insist on focusing on the 18-45-year-olds. One by one commercial interests are chipping away at everything we like. My radio programs are being cancelled; movies almost completely ignore our generation; my magazines are now disappearing, and don’t even get me started on fashion.

Thank goodness books are still relatively free of purging by commercially-driven enterprises. While my choices in books may not always be best sellers, at least I can peruse the public library on-line and generally get what I want. Perhaps the 18-45 group doesn’t read books because they’re too busy texting what they had for lunch, and the library doesn’t know how old I really am.

At any rate, Boomers need to be more vocal in our support of what we like. I’ll continue to protest ridiculous fashion trends, zombie and other violent movies and poorly conceived accommodation for aging Boomers. They wouldn’t legalize marijuana when the Boomers were regularly smoking up in the sixties and seventies. However, now that Gen X’ers, Y’s and Millenials have demanded a place at the table, it’s acceptable and soon to be legal. What do Boomers get? Dying with dignity.

boomerbannerWe’re still paying taxes (plenty, in fact, probably too much), interacting and engaging in all kinds of media, dressing for fashion as best we can within our limited selection, and purchasing big-ticket consumer goods at unprecedented levels.  However, Boomers are ignored, disregarded, disrespected and generally dissed in the consumer market and it’s time we were acknowledged. What’s next to get axed? Sixties music radio stations? Pinot Grigio? Red Rose Tea?—at which time I will be forced to investigate the dying with dignity issue. Ban the Boomers is insidious but it is happening. Speak up and do not forever hold your peace.peace2

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