Unfashionable in Michigan

Author: Single. Approachable. Girl.
October 22, 2011


In my insecure twenties I loved going home to Michigan. This “approachably attractive” girl, by Los Angeles standards, felt down right hot in Michigan. As soon as the plane would touch down at DTW, my confidence level would bump up 3 points and I would strut my North Face vest all the way to baggage claim.


And it would only get better from there. I would go visit my extended family members and they would all say I looked like a movie star. Grandma would say, “Oh look at the movie star in from LA! You’re so fashionable.” (That’s a phrase I heard in LA, just not directed at me).


Then I would go to the local pub and high school crushes would sit down next to me and talk about how they always liked me, but just “never did anything about it.” I would smile and take the compliment, knowing full well that if they did have a crush on me, the reason they never did anything about it was because I wore a sports bra on a daily basis and a beret in the marching band.


Yes. Moving to Los Angeles really upped my status in my hometown and I assumed it would always be that way.


I came to learn a few weeks ago when I went home to be a bridesmaid in my 26-year-old cousin’s wedding, that I had made a poor assumption. Turns out, being single and 30 is extremely unfashionable in Michigan – especially to grandmothers and great aunts.


Full disclosure, my grandmother and her sister have never been accused of keeping their opinions to themselves. But they have always been well-intentioned, so I’ve grown accustomed to comments like, “Honey, you’re very beautiful and I just want to advise you to make fewer facial expressions. You’re starting to get wrinkles. That one between your eyebrows is particularly bad.”


S.A.G.: That’s a scar from when [brother] threw a Weeble at my face, but thanks for the heads-up. I’ll try to avoid facial expressions.


See, how she shows concern for my looks and cushions the blow with a compliment?


Well, on this trip – my first trip back since turning 30 – I realized that my well-intentioned grandmother had turned into the “Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger.” Almost 90 years old and she, apparently, “don’t give a shit.”

(Click on the picture to watch the reference video)


Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger


This time round,the conversations went a little more like this:


Grandma: Oh. Your hair is so dark. Why is it so dark?

__________


S.A.G.: Grandma, thank you for throwing this lovely bridesmaid brunch for us.


Grandma: I just hope I live long enough to throw you one…honestly I don’t think I will.

__________


Great Aunt: Your grandmother and I were talking about you on the way over here.


S.A.G.: Oh yeah? Good things I hope.


Great Aunt: Well…I explained to her why your hair is so dark. I told her that your hair stylist is trying to make you look more exotic to men. That’s it – isn’t it?


S.A.G.: I’m not sure. Did that help her to like it?


Great Aunt: Not really. I’m trying my best to sell her on it.

__________


(At the rehearsal dinner) I see Great Aunt chatting up one of the single groomsmen. She comes over immediately after to say she had been talking me up to him.


S.A.G.: That’s horrific. What did you say?


Great Aunt: Don’t worry. It was great. I told him about how you’re single and successful.


S.A.G.: Oh. Good. I was hoping to that information would circulate the party.


Great Aunt: Listen, [S.A.G.]. The men are getting scarcer and scarcer the older you get. You had better catch one before it’s too late. Now, did you know he lives in Brazil? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to take a trip to see him?? You know, I think the best man might be single too. I was speaking with him and that girl standing with him is not his girlfriend. She’s his sister!

__________


(Saying goodbye to my grandmother before going to the airport).


S.A.G.: I love you. It was great seeing you.


Grandma: I really dislike your hair color. It’s just that it makes you look old.

__________


So apparently, all Michigan niceties go out the window when you’re 30 and single. My theory is that my grandma and great aunt have gone into panic mode and feel the need to “break through” to me before my looks officially fade and single men shun me for good. While I appreciate that they don’t want me to end up alone, I’ll admit I was longing for the “you’re a movie star” comments by the time I arrived at the airport to go back to LA.


4 1/2 hours later, in an unexpected turn of events, my confidence level spiked 5 points as the plane touched down at LAX.


11 years and 2 heckling elders later, LA feels like home.




4 Responses to “Unfashionable in Michigan”

  1. Sierra Says:

    Wow, I can’t believe that you ALSO have the SAME honey badger grandma AND great aunt!! Who have even said EXACTLY the same thing about my hair. “Why’s it so dark? You look too ethnic, too Mexican.” Wow, tell us how you really feel kids! And don’t stop with the compliments, please, heap on the racial slurs while you’re at it!! Isn’t it nice to live far…. far away from some relatives? haha

  2. Rose Says:

    S.A.G, I’m on the same boat as you, felt the exact same way when I went home.It was pretty much like reading my own story, except that you’ve put it much better in words in your own witty,charming way ! :-)

  3. Ari Says:

    Amazing comparison to the honey badger! So true. The tag team is out in full force and I am just now realizing I will be next up on the chopping block. Oh joy! For the record, you’re always hip and trendy in MI :)

  4. Josh Says:

    “beret in the marching band.”….. hot… just hot.