Ro and I fetched our meals (lasagne for him, chicken and potato salad for me) and sat down. We ate slowly, as we were quite early, but the bar was not particularly busy in any case.
I noticed one of the women first, because of her fabulous legs. She was tall and slim, a few years older than me, with a relaxed blonde bob. She wore brown trousers, a pale gold sweater and dark red sandals. She was looking around anxiously, and the two people with her said “Oh, here he is” and a man joined them.
My attention had been caught by the other man and I looked at Ro, to find his lip twitching. “Bet you’re not thinking what I am” I murmured. “What are you laughing at?” “Well, anyone would” he replied, his eyes indicating the newcomer.
I hadn’t even noticed him. In the traditional garb of the man in his early sixties who has not yet quite noticed that it is not still the early sixties and so thinks that blue jeans and a leather jacket are the outfit for any occasion, for they make him feel eternally young and trendy.
I indicated the other chap. He had quite a small head, close cropped hair, rather a sweet expression with a small beaky nose and not a whole lot of chin. His slightly scrawny neck poked forward from his jacket. “Doesn’t he remind you of a tortoise?”, I asked.
We continued to watch them out of the corners of our eyes. “Tortoiseman goes with the woman in clogs” I remarked. And we continued to poke fun at the leather jacket. “It isn’t good quality” I said. “Probably got it off eBay” said Ro, “a lot of people buy clothes on eBay.” “Whatever he paid, it was too much” I opined. “Well, it might – no, you’re right. I was going to say, might only have cost a tenner but then I thought, would I wear that? And decided, not at any price.”
The leather was poor quality, although the couple gave no impression of poverty. There were a couple of marks on the back where it had scuffed – good leather should improve with aging, but this just looked as if it had had the surface scraped off. He was becoming slightly round-shouldered and the jacket hunched awkwardly, lifting above his buttocks.
“Ew, he just clenched and unclenched his bum!” I hissed. “I saw it through his jeans” “So badly fitting, his clothes, you can’t help noticing” agreed Ro.
Our attention turned towards a rather glamorous woman, in her mid-sixties I should think. I noticed her first because of the rather lovely shawl that was becomingly draped – though, personally, I’d prefer to get the drape to work without needing to pin it, she looked elegant. Her dark blonde hair fell in soft waves below her shoulders, held with a clip. Attractive though she was, to be honest there was a touch of 1661 about her. “I realised in my early thirties that I’d look better if I cut my long loose hair” I pointed out. She could, I guess, get away with it, just, but it was starting to look like denial. The rule is, of course, that if you ever look in the mirror and think, hopefully, you can get away with it for a bit longer, you can’t. You’re too old, too fat, too flabby or too thin.
Ten minutes later, she walked past again. Ro and I both recoiled with a faint hiss of dismay. The shawl had slipped from one shoulder, showing the strap of her sundress and her skinnny upper arm.
Thinking about them today, I feel rather sympathetic. It was easier when it was all right to grow old. When one fights valiantly and achieves some success, it’s so easy to be just a little over-confident.
But I’m not sympathetic enough not to poke fun, you notice.