I have nothing against the colours or the poem or the fact those ladies who like the poem have created a society where they dress up in purple and red hats.
It’s very impressive that a single short poem has had such an impact. If you have never read the poem, it’s called WARNING and you can read it by clicking on the link. The Red Hat Society even has its own official website.
Occasionally I see these ladies on outings, last Saturday around a hundred or so of them visited my stall. I’ve met them before on the stall, and some of them were very nice. Yesterday however, the group visiting Norfolk let themselves down by being, well how shall I put it, a little bit rude and a little bit obnoxious. It isn’t just me being sensitive; other traders reported the same treatment. Besides, I grew a thick skin several years ago!
Now I can’t help but wonder if these ladies had been visiting individually and not dressed in their statutory uniform whether their attitude would have been the same. I pondered on whether the fact they were en masse and feeling rather special because of their attire brought out a certain aspect to their characters not usual to their individual personalities.
It’s an interesting question because how can such a large group of people all have a similar not altogether pleasant disposition?
The poem essentially says that when someone grows old they can do what they like and be a bit shocking, if not a little potty. Truly eccentric people are actual characters but when people try to emulate something like eccentricity it becomes (in my view) false and not clever. We are all individuals and however old we are should be free to be who we are, but if you do not suffer from dementia or some other illness that makes the individual unaware of what they say, why be rude for the sake of it? The ladies last week were far from demented, just brusque and to my mind ignorant, if not arrogant.
Being somewhat rude or direct in what you say can be funny if it is truly genuine. Affecting an attitude not truly your own, is somewhat sad. Why not be yourself, have a little charm and if you want to act a little potty, go ahead? Surely that is the true message of the poem. I personally don’t believe we should have to wait until we are old to behave or say what we want, who knows, we might never get there, but while we are conscious of how we treat others, do it with charm and respect, be kind.
And whether you are old, young or somewhere in between, for goodness sakes wear what you want! You are an INDIVIDUAL.