By MaryJo Kosisher-Demski
Recently, I had the chance to spend some time at a hotel in the middle of Lancaster County – the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country. I was able to see some sights I don’t normally witness at home. For instance, one morning as I breakfasted, I saw an Amish gentleman driving his horse-drawn buggy along the side of the road. Several minutes later, he was followed by three young girls garbed in traditional long dresses and bonnets, carrying their schoolbooks. After I finished eating, I was depositing my empty plate in a nearby trash can when my eyes spotted a rather surprising, laminated flier. “Nana’s Naughty Knickers,” it read. I was shocked. Why on earth was something about racy lingerie taking up residence in such an idyllic, old-fashioned setting?
My curiosity stoked, I reached for the flier. On it was a picture of a stereotypical grandma holding a pair of silky red, bikini panties. Beneath it was the synopsis of what turned out to be a comedic play. It read, in part, “[Bridget] soon discovers that her sweet Grandma is running an illegal boutique from her apartment, selling handmade naughty knickers to every senior citizen in the five borough area! Will Bridget be able to handle all the excitement? Will her Nana be arrested – or worse –evicted?”
My mind was swirling with questions. “Why would naughty knickers be illegal?” “What will happen to Bridget and her sweet Gram?” “Will I be able to buy tickets to attend this play?” But perhaps most importantly, “Who are our grandmothers today and would they even want a pair of “naughty knickers?”
I’ve decided that the answer to this last question is most undoubtedly “yes.” Let’s face it – the picture of the grandma (or at least of the woman eligible to join AARP) has changed quite dramatically over the past couple of decades. Gone are the days of the heavily-wrinkled, blue-haired, elderly lady hunched over her oven, baking dozens of chocolate-chip cookies for her grandkids. In its place is the sleekly glamorous image of a woman like Candice Bergen, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren , or Sophia Loren. Even former Playmate Jenny McCarthy recently entered the realm of step-grandmotherhood, and nobody for a moment would think she would want to own a drawer full of shapeless “granny panties.”
So what’s happened? Why is there such a difference between today’s G-Moms and yesterday’s Nanas? Some of it has to do with the social mores these Baby Boomers absorbed during their adolescence and young adulthood. Even the oldest members of this generation weren’t heavily corseted and girdled, and many of them entered their early adulthood in the turbulent 1960s when going braless was a popular (or at least acceptable) form of self-expression and rebellion. Another factor has been the growing realization that women don’t necessarily lose their sex appeal when they marry, have children, and age. Knowledge and life experience are indeed becoming very sexy attributes. But perhaps the biggest reason has been the change in attitudes of women towards their own bodies. With more women eating more healthfully, exercising daily, and taking better care of themselves overall, silver foxes aren’t losing muscle tone or strength any more. Women are finding they can remain sexy and vivacious for many decades. And they’re asking, “why not wear underwear to enhance that look?”
But what kinds of intimate apparel are today’s grandmas looking for? Well, women who’ve gone through several rounds of breastfeeding, for example, surely appreciate the importance of wearing well-made bras to support their assets and are willing to spend a bit more money to find that perfect fit. And women who’ve given birth to several children, but never quite bounced back to the shape of a Jane Seymour, might look for silky or lacy chemises, which expertly mask bits of belly and graze over thighs that may be on the rounded side. Other lingerie that can camouflage imperfections, or enhance a sexy senior’s assets, includes cinchers and bustiers, which can work wonders by nipping the waist and pushing forth the bosom. And for those G-Moms that don’t like thongs, or think they’re simply part of a younger woman’s terrain, boy shorts that emphasize the shape of the derriere are great options.
Of course, sexiness is all in the attitude. A strong, confident woman, who knows what she wants and how she wants to get it, will have men of all ages waiting at her feet, regardless of her chronological age.
As for this woman, I’m working on my calendar right now to see whether I’ll be able to fit in a viewing of “Nana’s Naughty Knickers” sometime during an upcoming weekend. I want to let those ladies know they’re definitely on to something that resonates with America’s silver belles!CC Image courtesy of Robbie1 on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/robbie1/ / CC BY 2.0 CC Image courtesy of Serge Melki on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/sergemelki/ / CC BY 2.0