Sometimes readers land on Leaf Stitch Word looking for answers. WordPress keeps track of the search strings that bring people to a particular blog, and I’ve noticed that what brings people to this one are sometimes in the form of questions. Here are 5 from the past month, with my authoritative replies.
1. What is the number one fear?
The idea of one’s own death or, if one is a parent, the idea of one’s child’s death has to be the number one fear. (It cannot be public speaking, even though a survey of 3,000 people in 1973 claimed so; one skeptical writer debunks that claim. Link.)
2. Who sings don’t you wish your girlfriend were hot like me?
The Pussycat Dolls
3. What is a sentence using the word natatorium?
Samuel, distraught over his mother’s death that winter, spent Sunday afternoons in the natatorium, swimming lap after lap after lap until his mind was as clean as an abandoned shell.
4. Can you get head lice from leaves?
5. How old is too old to wear sequin tank tops?
There is so much here in this question.
How old is too old? That’s my worry too, yet not about tank tops or, really, about sequins. For those of us whom I would call adult adults, much is behind us: We have done all the firsts. For those of us who are furthermore parents of teenagers, or even teachers of teenagers, we see children starting to do the firsts (driving lesson, job, kiss, vote), and this reminds us how far away our own beginnings are.
I feel often as though I’m on a ferry that has left the vacationland of youth. Although I am heading to the mainland, I keep looking back from whence I came, at a disappearing shore, and waving waving waving. I’ll keep looking until that shore disappears and then I’ll look some more, just to be sure.
Of course, I wasn’t obsessed with my own youth when I had it. In fact, early on I wanted to be an adult and mature. When I turned 25, my friend Joe teased me, “Aren’t you forty yet?” I didn’t stay in the vacationland of youth long enough to squeeze everything out of it that I could. Like mini skirts, for example, or the sequin tank tops that all the mid-priced stores (Gap and Ann Taylor) were showing during the holiday season. Perhaps that’s why you, anonymous reader, asked the question about too old for tank tops that landed you on my blog: You saw the sequins in the stores, dangling there for you on hangers, and you have the money. You’re an adult; you have a job; and you can buy things. If you were a teenager, you’d have to ask your mother for money to buy the sequin tank top. Now, you only have to ask yourself, or ask the Internet, an extension of our collective desires and disappointments.
I don’t know how old you are, oh reader who asked this question. I’m guessing you are over 40, and you’ve gathered from the women’s magazines that 36 is too old for mini skirts, as I have read. So you think some style maven out there has decreed an age too old for sequin tank tops? That may be.
But you don’t want to be too old. You want to wear one, and you are looking to the Internet for permission.
I, a proxy for the Internet, grant it. There aren’t that many firsts left. If the sequin tank top is a first for you, whether 40, 60, or 78, you should have it and enjoy it.
But no jeggings, please. Wear it with a nice, knee-length skirt, and carry a cardigan with you in case you get stage fright.