Sartorial progressions …….

October 4, 2009

Did you ever notice how people age? As a woman ages, her chest appears to get closer to the ground. As a man ages, his chest slips behind his belly like a tectonic plate or leaves for Miami or something. Some, like me, at least according to my daughter, never had a chest in the first place, so claiming “it sank” tends to be a flat tire regarding the spare tire.

The minute the estrogen poops out, a woman goes from a 36-C to a Cross-Your-Heart Cargo Net. Similarly, as improved judgment and a fear of death increase in inverse proportion to the testosterone level, a man finds himself searching for longer shirts and shorter pants at first. Later, a pair of trouser legs and collar with sleeves would suffice quite nicely.

Men seem to shrink into their skivvies from the neck down after the age of seventy. All the hair on a man’s head migrates to his ears and his back, and he loses any semblance of hips he might have once had. During middle age, a man can wear his pants somewhere between his knees and his navel, leaving an exact replica of his belt buckle permanently embossed in reverse and upside down on his overhanging abdomen. As middle age becomes history, however, the belt buckle migrates north until it could easily be mistaken for one of those string tie medallions.

Women, on the other hand, become all hips. My grandmother went on an Elder Hostel trip once and visited a famous canal. It was nearly a disaster, because when she got out of the bus to walk over for a look, this klaxon horn started going off and warning lights started flashing……

I remember my grandfather. He was a pair of pants with a belt-line somewhere around where one would normally expect to find a shirt pocket full of cigars and a leaky fountain pen. He was short. I always expected him to waddle around the room singing “Hi Ho Hi Ho it’s off to work we go…”. I suspect he used to be about six feet tall, but the only thing left was about four feet of legs with a head and two arms propped on top.

In medical school, any prospective gerontologist surely must be warned that he or she must choose between having the ability to smile and laugh surgically removed or agree to be on Valium for life.


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