They’re sprucing up the paper and I can’t figure out which section they should put me in—the regular Lifestyle or the new S (Seniors) section? What can my irresistible self sell that can earn me my keep? Jackets with a feathered swan on their back? An abbreviated vest with angel wings (detachable by request)? Senior cargo pants XL with oversize pockets of fake fur? Yes? No? Oh, sorry. Let me try again.
What about bone-enhancing vitamins disguised as chocolate bonbons to straighten old folks’ ugly, aging knobby knees? (Honestly, just eat gulay!) I’ll try once more. With hospitals as target market, what about wheelchairs decorated like a Sarao jeepney with lights blinking on and off to cheer up depressed elders being wheeled to the operating room? Great idea! No? Now, what about adult diapers? (If I had my say, just run!)
Wait! Wait! I got it finally! A friend once requested—makeup tips for seniors! Sus, me pa, walang paki, my lipstick is five years old! It is not true that lipsticks grow stale. My L’Occitaine is still moist and color-fast although the cap is beginning to rust. My daughter-in-law bought me a Revlon replacement—brilliant red, my favorite. I use it only for special occasions like awards or funerals. Looks like fresh blood on my lips.
My beauty routine (Ano daw?): I wash my face three or four times a day. I use Manila Water (formerly Nawasa). I splash it around, I gargle with it, I drink it, I bathe in it. (Shouldn’t that make a good sales pitch?) Don’t believe those formidable beauties who say they keep their skin glowing with only soap and water. My dear departed mother who had flawless peaches-and-cream complexion used to say, “Keep your skin moisturized all day and all night long. Even the toughest carabao hide will be supple if it’s lubricated all the time.”
My mama used Elizabeth Arden moisturizer, which is an English product, because she and dad lived in Singapore for a while. When they returned home for good, she still had a supply going. I grew up using it. But when she died, my source stopped. I was left marooned.
Then my crazy friend, Gigi, give me a sample of Nu Skin. I thought it was a local product. Being nationalistic, I used it to death. I got hooked before I realized it was a capitalistic US product. I shouldn’t say that? It’s politically incorrect? Sorry, I take it back.
Better yet, I will just tell the truth. Better than any beauty product is a product of the earth. Take a glass of lettuce juice nightly (romaine, arugula, local litsugas, whatever!) Juice, not osterize. Drink every day of your life. It will develop strength of character. Because, truly, it tastes aaargh! But all your toxins will be washed away. It is also the natural way to sweep out all cholesterol from your body. It is the natural way to good health and good skin, and the farmers will be happy.
Unmatch your wardrobe
I must give lifestyle advice to seniors, too? Hey, gals, take more time to dress, not just to go to a party. Old age is when you have the leisure to do so. (Even your yaya finds time to pedicure herself!) You never know when you’ll meet your still dashing old beau or an unforgiven rival. Take great care to unmatch your wardrobe. No terno-terno. And don’t be afraid to accessorize with a kikay thing or two.
Sorry I got waylaid by my BFF, Jetro Rafael. He is now 32. He has this resto called Van Gogh is Bipolar, a sought-after place. But sometimes Jetro just won’t cook and would rather go bumming around with Robert Alejandro, Avic Ilagan, Bodjie Pascua—and me!
So last night Jetro decided to give a party. Biglaan! Birthday daw ni Van Gogh. S’ya, ’di Gogh ako! I got so rattled when I surveyed the terrain—everyone was below 30! A young girl with a tiara tiptoed to me and said, I am your fan! Who can resist a fan if she is a cute little girl wearing diadems?
Rome Jorge, who had a hank of hair covering one eye, used to be the lifestyle editor of Manila Times. Beside me was Dagny who makes lip balm out of beeswax. Beside her, Toby, a documentary photographer who got so interested in brass-making from visiting the Tboli many times. Ella Martel is the BFF of Robert A.
In came four young people carrying musical instruments. They were MSO members, coming to gift Van Gogh with some night music. Wow! A Phil-Am gymnast and parkour expert named John Sapinoso stood on his head while the quartet played Bach. Cool.
Good practice ground
To my contemporaries: Make young friends now, before it’s too late. They will take the place of those who have gone to pasture.
A good practice ground is your own grown-up kids or grandkids. I like to take mine out one by one. Magastos (because voracious), but you can really bond. I learn so much from them—like, the open parking on the top floor of Trinoma is the kissing deck.
But don’t push it! Never try too hard to relate to the young. Relax, just be yourself. Don’t try to dress young if you feel like 80. Don’t dress like 80 if you feel like 30. It’s a matter of getting your looks and your outlook to match.
When you are with young people, or any age people, learn to listen (even if you can’t hear). Concentrate! Every person has something you can be interested in and you must be all there to catch it.
Learn to (or continue to be) generous. No one wants to be around somebody who’s old na, kuripot pa. Treat young friends out (as if you had any choice!) or invite them to your home (even if it’s just leftovers). Make very nice table settings to disguise such. Don’t always be a taker. That’s the route to a lonely old age.
All my life I’ve been working for pennies (like this Inquirer!) Once I tried to make money outside. Disastrous! Old age is for giving back. If someone likes to give you, take! If none, what’s the difference? Every art or culture thing I did never made money. But they were the most gratifying, most valuable stepping stones I’ve contributed to this world.
Well, dear editors, where does this nomad finally belong? I tried hard to fulfill the paper’s requirements. I gave a list of what products my presence could sell. I dropped names of products, also names of my friends. I told you where to eat, I covered a happening of young people, I gave advice to the aged. Sorry, I couldn’t stick to English. Everyone today speaks a patois of jejemon, Esperanto and Tagalog slang. The written word can only reflect it. By the way, the first use of Tagalog words inserted into English sentences was in Nick Joaquin’s Free Press articles, so there!
Please, if you have to classify me, give me a nice prison, a box, with a border around it, and a heading, just like a real column. But allow me to write only when I feel I have something to say. And let me be my usual long-winded self. What about a name like Forever 81? I love you all.