A humorous look at aging
I discovered I’m Wearing Tunics Now thanks to an essay that was flying around the interwebs among women of a certain age. The essay, also called “I’m Wearing Tunics Now,” was originally on McSweeney’s before taking on a life of its own.
The essay takes the idea of tunics — a fashion option that covers a multitude of sins, making it the top choice for many women whose bodies have begun to lose the battle of the bulge thanks to menopause or who have just decided they couldn’t care less about that skirmish — and uses it as a jumping off point for a commentary on aging.
It is laugh-out-loud funny. As in, I have not sent it to a single woman who didn’t write back quoting her guffaws from her reading. It’s that good.
When I learned it was a book, of course I had to get it. And I’m here to tell you that the book of essays, also called I’m Wearing Tunics Now, is just as funny and insightful as the essay that first grabbed the world of women who’ve had enough. I laughed out loud — something that heretofore only happened when I read David Sedaris — and I did it repeatedly, as in hardly a chapter passed without me chortling even as I nodded my head in recognition for the point author Wendi Aarons was making. I also repeatedly thought, Dammit, why didn’t I write this?
Aarons had already made her mark as a humorist before the publication of this book. In addition to McSweeney’s, her work has appeared on BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and in the Wall Street Journal and US Weekly Fashion Police. Her eponymous blog was named Funniest Parenting Blog by Parenting Magazine and she was named Most Entertaining Writer at the Mom 2.0 influencer conference.
The chapters all play off the “I’m Wearing …” idea. “I’m Wearing Fury,” for instance, recounts when Aarons joined protesters at the Texas Capitol — she lives in Austin — for the night State Senator Wendy Davis began her 13-hour filibuster about sweeping abortion restrictions. That night awakened her activist side, a common change for women who have, well, already experienced The Change.
In “I’m Wearing Ma’am Now,” Aarons explores that first moment she became a “ma’am” rather than a “Miss” or even “Ms.” Aarons was at her local Starbucks (soon to become her former local Starbucks) making casual chatter when the barista said, “Anything else I can get for you today, ma’am?”
“Uhhh, just give me whatever cookies have the most frosting because I’m obviously close to dying of elderly decrepitude. How much do I owe you for the bucket of cold water you just poured all over my ego, sir?”
Aarons then explores our generally sexist language — while admitting that, of course, the barista was just being polite and probably following whatever training he had been given. In other words, she follows her jokes with insights. Otherwise her book would just be a female version of a dad joke book, and who needs another one of those?
Interspersed between chapters are entertaining lists, such as Nine Ways I Wish I Could Boost My Metabolism. Number 5 is Grudges, causing me to wonder why I’m not thinner.
If you’re feeling a bit low about the inevitable decline that comes with aging no matter how cosmic and spiritual you try to be, or are just in need of a good laugh, get I’m Wearing Tunics Now. You’ll laugh all the way to the dressing room.
I’m Wearing Tunics Now, On Growing Older, Better and a Hell of a Lot Louder, by Wendi Aarons, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 239 pages, $26.99
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