Mother had a way with words. She had an arsenal of put downs and was never shy about sharing them with whoever the audience was around her at the time. One of her so called friends liked to over indulge in makeup and when she got “all dolled up” for a night on the town, bar, tavern or dive, Mother would say how cheap she looked. When I was young, I thought that statement could possibly be a compliment since saving money was a good thing for people to do. Later on I learned that it was another of Mother’s insults and was used to demean the person.
Mother also said a person looked cheap if they wore their clothes too tight or too short or she didn’t like their outfit. Now when she was crowned the fashion maven, I do not know. Trust me, Mother’s appearance left a lot to be desired. Imagine two hundred plus pounds in short shorts, a sleeveless T-shirt and flip-flops. Whacked out hair, little or no makeup and a maniacal look on her face completed the fashionista package of crazy. But Mother’s confidence was through the roof, so she felt a duty to point out others miscues when it came to fashion, makeup and style.
Her words could be cutting and my sister and I always dreaded when she would turn on us, which of course she did quite often. From asking:
You’re going to wear that getup out in public?
You’ve got to be kidding! That looks awful on you!
What did you do to your hair? It looks like you used an egg beater instead of a comb!
Way to boost our self esteem. Let’s hear it for confidence building!
The good news is in my book of memories, I do not remember her ever calling us cheap. Thank goodness for a bit of self control!