Humor Op/Ed Column: Traveling advice for old ladies


“As an older woman, retirement should be a wonderful time to do exciting things with your new-found freedom. A considerable part of your life may have involved taking care of your kids and spouse and focusing on your career, leaving very little ‘you’ time. Finally, that time is here. This is the next exciting chapter of your life.” That’s what the National Council on Aging Care says.

Really? I didn’t find any information about aging body bathroom parts. Hmmm. The following are my ideas for experiencing happy hygiene while traveling on vacation.

What about a compact port-o-potty for vehicles? The bums and bladders of older women tend to boss us around. I suggest a rolling toilet with wheels so we can push and pull it around places without bathrooms. I would share the potty power with other senior citizens.

What about disposable underwear that plays a tune when you laugh, cough, and accidentally wet your pants? Traveling can be musical. When grandkids hear the song, they can be on the lookout for the nearest exit.

What about a necklace with a voice-activated button? When you’re about to soil your underpants, just push the button and shout, “Urgent! Get this old woman to a bathroom ASAP!” Bring a box of buttons for your travel companions on the travel club tour. What a way to make new friends as you ride the low-budget bus to your discounted destination.

And what about comfortable, but affordable travel shoes? Fluffy slippers with rubber soles for traction, water resistant and waterproof (in case your plastic underpants leak), anti-bacterial (for the stinky feet crowd), extra cushioning, with special hidden pockets for your sunscreen and laxatives. And these slippers must double as evening dancing shoes—with safety features.

What about easy-care casual women’s pull on pants with elastic waist in a rainbow of neon colors? Lots of rump room for those of us that participate in old lady Zumba—without baggy butts showing. Include lots of pockets for prescription medication, reading glasses, and lip balm. You want to wear fashionable yet functional garments.

What about appropriate swimwear? I’m considering a swimdress with built-in shorts. More fabric to cover more skin. And less fear of a wardrobe malfunction when you bend over to pick up your dentures or fall into the hotel swimming pool.

What Not To Wear On Vacation
Britney Spears–inspired low-rise jeans are a no-no for seniors. Ditch the tube top. No explanation needed. Leave the housedress at home while traveling abroad. No leggings—they sag around old lady knees after 5 minutes.

Cheesy polyester is okay, but only in the right atmosphere. Elasticized waistlines have a bad rep, but I wear them anyway. Age earns you the right to wear tacky at times.

Traveling Fun

What about an oldster piñata? Instead of candy, it’s full of prunes and coupons for frugal females, penny-pinchers, and cheapskates. Grandmas will go wild!

And what about bargain bingo? The winners get anti-aging skin care creams, anti-gravity bras that prevent sagging, and anti-cellulite yoga pants. Count me in!

Old gals on a cruise can play Sip the Cocktail instead of Beer Pong. Talking about diets and weight loss is forbidden while on the open seas.

Advice for Widows and Singles
If you do not want to attract the attention of old men while traveling, I suggest you practice putting on a grumpy face when the gents make bedroom eyes at you. Avoid red lipstick. Wear blue glitter eyeshadow and bright orange lipstick.

If you are seeking a fling, I suggest you put the kibosh on comfortable clothing and go for sexy casual. Turn up the va-va-voom with a sleek scarf. Bring along your fake bling, false eyelashes, and breath mints.

Walk the other way when you spot elderly men in plaid shorts, knee socks with slippers, or 70s disco era outfits. Duck under the dinner table when you catch sight of an old gent in a 80s Don Johnson (Miami Vice TV show) t-shirt and cotton blazer. Look for a more mature man wearing casual cocktail attire.

Laughter eases the ache of aging—so chuckle, chortle, and haw-haw. And plan a vacation.

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”–George Bernard Shaw

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, and educator

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