What price vanity?

Milo after many pats

Milo after many pats

My social life is not hectic. Our Jack Russell gets all the smiles and pats. I even told a nice lady who was patting Milo, “I never seem to get such attention.” She gave a quick answer “if you looked anything like him, you would too.” I never had the physical facial combination of a Jack Russell who, in the case of Milo, immediately attracts pats and belly strokes.

At parties (a long time ago) no one really looked much at me, even unattractive people would kind of look me over and quickly avert their eyes to the table with crackers and bits of gherkins pierced and clothed by sliced ham or prosciutto. I took notice of how people react to appearances. The loud thumping music at most parties does cover a lot of awkwardness between people. I think it acts like blotting paper soaking up difficulties in relating to others. It wasn’t unusual for people to walk away while I was still in mid-sentence about something as riveting as the local council and new parking laws, or the advantages of a particular paper shredder..

Of course through the decades, my concern about my exteriors in facial features such as nose, chin, lips etc. did wane and with a bit more nous, obtained through bitter experience and soul searching of the heart, overcame the frivolity of looks and charmed myself into relating to others on a more, if not substantial level, at least on a more sustainable plateau. It just took more effort and a repertoire of succinct one liners, nothing too obvious. The trick is to show interest in the other person without getting too personal.It’s the sage advice given to me during a stint in a George Gurdjieff group many years ago.

Even so, it is worrying that Milo seems to so effortlessly get all the attention. Are they my teeth? For years I have forgone wearing my ‘partials’. Partials, I just learnt, are partial false teeth embedded in a pink look alike jaw. I haven’t worn the contraption for years. I hated putting a combination of plastic and fish hooks in my mouth. In any case, I still did not get public pats, stroking or any, “oh, you are so cute.”

The double glazing now being put into a future action, I am now toying with teeth implants. Ideally I should get a complete facial re-build or at least a kind of fill-up. I have most of my teeth but foolishly had three teeth pulled by an over-enthusiastic dentist many years back. Some molars at the back disappeared as well. With my inexorable decline towards a coffin of one sort or another the remaining years might well get a boosting renewal with tooth implants. I will never reach the looks and charms of Milo but I am hopeful of more public attention in the future. Now, just notice the use of ‘future’. Isn’t that a positive sign? I have made an appointment with a local implant specialist.

I’ll keep you informed.

Tags: , , ,

19 Responses to “What price vanity?”

  1. Nick Ryan Says:

    Try wearing a sign that says “Pat me & I will pay you $5” & walk around Bowral on a Saturday morning, or any day for that matter.It could work out cheaper than teeth implants? Learn to smile with your mouth closed? You can bet your life someone is patting your dentist with what they charge !!!!!

    Or, maybe Helvi should slip a collar and leash onto you before you take the morning air around Bowral.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    You might be onto something there Nick. I often thought of putting a cap with a few coins and leave Milo and cap in front of Woolies. It would help put bread on the table. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brian Says:

    Hi Gerard, here I am at the monthly Moss Vale market morning.
    I was hoping to meet up with you ( I wrote a reply on one of your posts 2-3 weeks ago ) on one of my visits to see our daughter and family living at Sutton Forest, but alas we are flying home to NZ tomorrow. Might meet you at the local men’s shed sometime. I’m just setting up my own shed at Sutton Forest presently.
    I know from your musings , that we would get on we’ll together.
    Brian Sutton .


  4. Andrew Says:

    Its the same with Lulu. She gets al the attention and everybody ignores me. I am quite happy with this situation. I don’t wish to be leashed and wander round on Sai Kung on all fours. Way too kinky. Implants are horribly expensive. I had one done about 6 years ago. I struggle to see why people are not interested in paper shredders though. Incredibly interesting. Think of all the other things that must have been caught in a paper shredder over the years. I suspect you are secretly the life and soul of a party.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I haven’t tried things at parties for a long time. I think we would most likely find people at parties checking their message banks or busy texting while jigging about to rappers’ music wearing baseball caps and baggy pants. Have you been to any good parties lately?


  5. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Try wagging your tail. One advantage of aging is we can replace looks with character. Sounds like you may be blessed. 🙂 –Curt


  6. gerard oosterman Says:

    You are most kind. I’ll never reach the level of charm Milo exudes. Even yesterday, a mother with three children stopped me and asked if they could all pat Milo. Milo just stood there soaking it all up, not a care in the world.


  7. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I have a feeling that your wit and charm more than make up for any failings you feel that you might have in the looks department and I bet you are the life and soul of any gathering. Years ago when I was living in York, there was a rather dashing Indian lad who fancied me. He was quite shy so only felt able to approach me when I was out walking my dog. He’d make a big play at stroking the dog and commenting on her but really it was an excuse to chat me up. The problem was that my dog had serious racist tendencies, if any white male approached me she’d wag her tail and be all over them like a rash but african men and Indians she really disliked and growled at. Not only was this acutely embarrassing but it put paid to what might have been a lovely romance!
    As for the teeth, I do sympathise with you. Pete’s going to have to spend some serious money on his soon, the top lot are a bridge that he had put in about 10 years ago and they are literally about to fall out. Is this what they call a bridge too far?


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      No, exuding charm is not my forte unlike Milo who more than makes up for any shortcomings. I think I cancel my appointment with the teeth implants. I am tall and that makes most people look up and with my upper teeth still all present no one would even know.
      The gap lower down I’ll hide with my lower lip clamped over it, curling inwards with a kind of sardonic emphasis in whatever nonsense I have just spouted. It might just work!


  8. Patti Kuche Says:

    Milo, by extension, is your calling card – lap it up with your charm and all the silence you can muster! As for parties etc, I’d forgotten there are people out there with social lives . . .


  9. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, I remember party well. It was a sunny afternoon back in 1979 and Carly Simon was singing You’re so Vain


  10. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Here’s a thought. People pat Milo because it’s socially acceptable to pat babies and dogs, but they’d really rather pat you. They wouldn’t go near Milo if they didn’t like you.


  11. chris hunter Says:

    I have had a similar fate, three teeth, two lower molars. Yes, keep us informed re transplants.


  12. Tolga Says:

    Hi Gerard, here’s an email I received the other day from a friend:
    Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

    I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer.

    I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

    As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure as they felt that Shane might learn something from the experience.

    The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him.

    Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

    The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion.

    We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”

    Startled, we all turned to him.

    What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

    He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”

    The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

    Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
    •When loved ones come home, always run to greet them;
    •Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride;
    •Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy;
    •Take naps;
    •Stretch before rising;
    •Run, romp, and play daily;
    •Thrive on attention and let people touch you;
    •Avoid biting when a simple growl will do;
    •On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass;
    •On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree;
    •When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body;
    •Delight in the simple joy of a long walk;
    •Be loyal;
    •Never pretend to be something you’re not;
    •If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it;
    •When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

    There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it.
    You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good, so, love the people who treat you right.

    Think good thoughts for the ones who don’t ~ life is too short to be anything but happy.

    Falling down is part of LIFE…
    Getting back up is LIVING…




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: