Two days ago I was buying Aleve and some Emergen-C packets in a pharmacy, and I was waiting behind a 50ish woman who was having a couple of prescriptions filled. Except she wasn’t entirely certain or satisfied that the medicines she was getting were doing the job, and she was telling the pharmacist about all the aches and pains she’d been experiencing and asking for suggestions and yaddah yaddah. It went on and on and on. Eight, nine, ten minutes.

I’ve stood behind women like this before. She was apparently unmarried (no ring) and presumably a bit lonely, and here was a chance to have a nice nourishing session with the next best thing to the family doctor (which nobody sees any more because general practitioners don’t exist) — a pharmacist at a CVS store. And so I waited and waited and waited, as did the two people behind me. And this woman couldn’t have cared less. She needed counsel and advice, and she was a little worried and fretting and needed a friendly medical authority in her life, and she needed to talk about this and that and “are you sure because I tried this last week and if anything I felt worse,” etc.

On top of which the woman had one of those too-short quasi-pixie haircuts that so many hairdressers tell mid-50ish and 60ish women to try because longer hair doesn’t look good because their hair isn’t as thick or buoyant as when they were younger and looks raggedy if worn at a longer length and therefore emphasizes age. But this shorter cut has become so ubiquitous that if you’re a woman who’s reached that threshold (55 or beyond, let’s say) there’s nothing that makes you look older and says “timid and going downhill and planning to move into an assisted living facility ten years from now” than to wear your hair shorter.