To Bare or Not To Bare, That is the Question

With apologies to Shakespeare and Hamlet for distorting this notable quotation

For the past nine months this old, cold ager has been staying warm most days by layering long sleeved turtle necks and wearing warm pants and socks. Even then I went to bed with cool arms and legs and cold feet until the end of June.

This spring (even here in our marine climate), we’ve had a week here and there of abnormally high temperatures. Teasers or omens of things to come? The prediction is for a warmer and dryer summer. That means more (usually rare) days in the 90’s and more than usual in the 80’s.

Lore has it that summers here begin on the fifth of July so warm days are coming. I’m fine with days in the low 80’s in the house. But, if we’re going to have consecutively high 80’s and low 90’s days where the home itself warms up and stays warm, I’m going to need to give up even my intermediate weather wear. And this is where my dilemma lies. Long-sleeved turtle necks and slacks cover my wrinkled, droopy, mottled neck, arms and legs. Summer wear exposes them. I have no idea why exposing them seems more repulsive than inescapably exposing old hands and faces, but it does.

Nor have I any idea why I feel more concerned this year. Last year I wore sleeveless tank tops and skorts without much regret and I was out and about more than I am now. This year my neck and arms seem to me to be parts of me I’d rather keep covered. Admittedly, the skin is a bit more mottled, the muscles more shrunken and sagging, wrinkles more numerous and deeper. But at 97, even if I’d opted for plastic surgery, or exercised faithfully, I’d be abnormal if they weren’t like that.

Those of you who follow my blog notice that I try to include free images to enhance the writing. I tried hard to find images, even of just the bare arms or legs of old people let alone old people in clothing that showed them. Couldn’t find any!   Old folks walking on hot sunny beaches were all wearing long pants, tops with sleeves or dresses with sleeves.   Could it be that I’m not alone in not wanting to expose aging neck, arms and legs to others?

In the end I expect that I’ll be sensible and dress for summer with the summer clothes I‘ve worn for years. People seem to be very accepting of the old person I am in many other respects. So it’s probably more my problem than one anyone else will have about me.   People who drop in on me will find me as I am. But when I have planned visits, I wager I’ll be wearing lightweight pants and a top over my sleeveless tanks.


7 thoughts on “To Bare or Not To Bare, That is the Question

  1. Thank you for your blog!

    I’m nearing my 50th birthday and your insight to aging is invaluable, interesting and most of all inspiring. It’s a strange experience isn’t it – we still feel young as our bodies slowly but surely change on us. Much love you you, and thanks again for sharing your personal experiences.

    Corine Kuehlthau / Seattle



  2. Ah yes — we still have our egos, and sadly I admit that I suckered into some of the corporate BS about beauty and how they will sell me the eternal fountain of youth. At the time my hair started to gray I thought about coloring (ego) then looked at the long-term price of products and the time for all those color treatments and decided for efficiency (OK — laziness). So now those arm and leg wrinkles have become another wrinkle in my aging process — and thought I shudder because I was indoctrinated to buy stuff and be young — I will try to go for lazy days of summer. My wrinkles will have to be beautiful. Thank you for reminding me.


  3. I hear you! You are not alone, I see all degrees of cover up or bare it here at the retirement community. As long as it doesn’t impair heat loss on the hot, humid days does it make a difference?


  4. Oh dear, this made me spit my coffee out. I laughed so hard. I think it was because I could relate !!!! I worked at VMMC for about 20 plus years so remember you fondly. Pat Maguire and I still keep in touch.

    Cheryl McDaniel




  5. Please stay sensible cool and don’t care what other people think.The ones who like you, will like you in any state of dress.I so enjoy your blog. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is the first of your posts that I’ve read, and I liked it a lot. I’m 26 years younger than you, but still I feel self-conscious about baring my body, but if I’m hot, who cares? Better to be cool and comfortable.


  7. Is am 85 I love it when my three year old grandson kisses me on the cheek and then has to pinch the mole on my neck. Or squeezes the skin together on my hands. Doesn’t seem to bother him loves his grma Jane


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