Some time ago, Leon West mentioned how he is shrinking. He noticed the inseam length of his pants has decreased over the years. At first I discounted this because my inseam has always stayed at 30 inches, and bones wouldn’t shrink anyway. Our spines shrink because of the spaces between the vertebrae, but not our legs. Then I thought, “Wait. My inseam used to always be 32 inches.” I first started buying a 30-inch length thinking the style had changed to favor less of a break on the shoe. Then 30-inch became the norm, and I never noticed the change was in me.
Recently, a friend mentioned shoe size increases as we age. The tendons between all of those little bones stretch over time and our feet spread out. Again, I did not think it pertained to me. Maybe someday, but not yet. I have always been a size 10.
Wait (again)! I was always a size 9 1/2, narrow. In high school, my mother had to search for shoes especially narrow, and they were only available in the more expensive lines. I looked like I was standing on two French baguettes. Then, probably in my 40s, the width was no longer a problem and I assumed shoe manufacturers were finally making them narrower. Probably in my 60s I switched to size 10, thinking athletic shoes, made in China, were metric and ran a little smaller. I was no longer buying dress shoes.
Last week, the sole of my hiking boots came loose as the glue dried up. These were expensive boots with a Gortex liner, and I told my wife I was thinking of complaining to the store. They had been size 10 to allow for thick wool socks.
“When did you get them?” she asked.
“About 30 years ago, now that I think about it. Maybe I should just get new ones.”
I did, and found size 10 1/2 now feels best, even with thinner acrylic socks.
We all know men’s ears grow as we age. Lyndon Johnson’s hung down to his shoulders. I suspect women’s ears grow, too, but they are more hidden. We never measure our ears, so I have nothing precise to go by, but looking in a mirror, the top of my ear is about at the level of my eyebrow and my earlobe hangs down to about halfway between my nose and upper lip. On my high school cap-and-gown photo, my ear starts at eye-level and the lobe, almost non-existent, ends at the bottom of my nose. The total gain is easily a half an inch. I can understand that the lobe would become droopy with age, but my ear growing upward was a surprise.
Most men will end up looking like George Burns. On YouTube you can hear that great old song, “You’re Bound To Look Like A Monkey When You Grow Old,” played by an old guy on a ukulele who is a living example. Another version of the same song by the country singer Eddie Bond, easier to understand, is “Look Like a Monkey.”
When you get old!
When you get old!
You’re gonna look like a monkey
When you get old.
Ladies, too, as I have observed.