There are so many rules for everything. From Rules of the Road to Rules for Parenting. From Rules for Relationships to Rules for How to Dress for Success. I even wrote the Rutabaga Rules and got a Heartsong Award for my efforts.
Most rules are there to prevent unnecessary embarrassment. Or death. On the other hand, that old rule about not wearing white after Labor Day is pretty much toast. I remember feeling humiliated when I thought no one would notice my off white pumps in late September at a ladies' lunch and someone actually mentioned the "late" date to me. Yeah? Well, f**k your watercress sandwiches and the Volvo you rode in on.
Thankfully, other rules, like no sex on the first date, are no longer being enforced, Probably because everybody is more worried about their cell phones ringing in the middle of something.
I remember learning, way back in the early sixties, that there was a whole set of rules for how a woman should
properly exit and enter a car. I even went to a class so we could practice. This was an important maneuver, because unlike Britney, a woman went to great effort not to reveal her panties to the guy who opened the car door for her. It never occurred to us that underwear was optional. Of course, when was the last time any guy who didn't want a tip opened a door for you?
Speaking of which -- underwear, not guys, Oprah has even had shows about the rules for choosing the correct
bra. As a young flatchested eighth grader I recall that the idea was to buy at least a B cup and stuff it with stockings until you achieved the appearance of a round mound of rebound.
Over time and a couple of kids, I noticed that the mounds grew to an unflatteringly large size and unfortunate ICBM shape. Packed into a regulation brassiere they assumed the upright and locked position of a missile about to strike. So I opted for sports bras which, bless them, smushed my girls into youthful submission.
Now here's Oprah with someone on her show who has secret knowledge I never knew existed about the rules for loading your forty pound melons into a five pound bag.
I remember watching in fascination as all kinds of women in an endless variety of tat sizes stood around smiling in their underclothing on national television. One by one they let some "expert" fondle their breasts to point out what bra rules they were breaking. And nobody got arrested.
Which brings me to a rule which I have yet to find on any list. No doubt because it relates to women over fifty who live alone, an often overlooked demographic.
The rule is this -- don't forget to comb the back of your hair before you go out, you twit. I wish I had a picture of every woman I've seen who looks great from the front, but has a hole in her hairdo in the back. Not that it's EVER happened to me. I want to go up to her and ask whether she also eats her meals over the sink.
When you're young you never forget to comb the back of your hair before you go out. Because a young woman spends a lot of time looking in the mirror at her pretty self while holding a second mirror to reflect every single lovely side of her face and hairdo. I remember contorting myself into all kinds of positions to see each and every inch of my hair from every possible angle. For hours.
You don't do that so much when you're older. Especially when you live alone and nap a lot. First because there's no one to make fun of you for forgetting to comb the back of your hair. Second because your neck hurts. Third because your once and beautiful mane is getting thinner and thinner every day. Fourth because that view from the side is not pretty.
So you only look at the front. Because you really don't give a rip what you look like anymore as long as there's no crusty trail of drool down your cheek, no bagel poppy seeds in your teeth, no long hairs growing out of your chin, and your gray roots aren't showing yet.
Next time your over-fifty-live-alone mom walks in the house looking presentable from the front, turn her around to see if she remembered to do the back. You'll see what I mean.