Who Am I Now That I’m Old?
When is Someone Old? – Part 2: Medical

Red Hats Versus Blue Thongs

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Back in December, Mick Brady of Dancing of Tongues posted part 1 of a series, "Instant Karma Nearly Got Me" on his second blog, The Blog Brothers, about his personal sojourn through the dark days of the end of the 1960s. Part 2 has finally arrive and like the first, it is beautifully written, haunting and harrowing. If you don't have time to read it now, save it and savor it later. It is some of the best personal writing in in blogdom.]

It’s no secret around Time Goes By how I feel about The Red Hat Society and I had generally forgotten about it since posting two stories here and here some time ago. But this is just too funny not to comment upon. The Red Hatters and the Blue Thongers are having a spat:

BLUE THONG: “The Blue Thong Society encourages rebelling against the norm and emphasizes the importance of ‘staying hip, beautiful and chic forever'."

RED HAT: “I wish they had checked with us a little bit. We’re all about sisterhood,” said [Red Hat founder Sue Ellen Cooper]. “I don’t know why they’re doing this apart from us.”

dailybulletin.com, 11 March 2007

What, you’ve never heard of the Blue Thong Society? Get ready. You will.

“We think you should stay great looking as long as you can. Forget about this embracing (growing old) crap,” says 51-year-old [Blue Thong co-founder Jackie] Tushinsky. “I’ve already had some (plastic surgery) work and I’ll keep getting work as long as I can.”

“[Chapter founder Debi] McLain said the Blue Thong logo – an ambiguous icon that looks both like underwear and a flip flog – is a natural selector of group members.

“If someone looks at the logo and thinks of it as a [panty)thong, they’re probably right for the society,’ she explained. “If they have to have it be a flip flop, they’re probably not right for us.”

Whereas the Red Hatters limit membership to women older than 50 (younger members must wear pink hats), Blue Thong Society requires only that members be 21.

“’…so you can drink, of course,’ Tushinsky says. The drink of choice – blue thongatinis…

“Wearing a thong is not a requirement of the society but the Blue Thong ladies do ask: ‘Please, no visible panty lines.’”

Blue Thongers have a way to go to reach the 40,000 chapters of the Red Hat Society and Ms. Cooper, who sounds a bit petulant, sees rivalry between the two groups as inevitable:

“This will probably end up happening. I think they kind of took their ideas from us,” she said. “I’m confused why they didn’t join us. We’re all about sisterhood and friendship.”

This can only get funnier.


I don't know Ronni. When I see this kind of scuffle I just get sad. Now we have aging wars to add to mommy wars. It was a trick of European tyrants to create hostility among groups they dominated in order to keep them from uniting against the tyranny. As you so brilliantly illustrate, there are so many unifying issues like health care; seems we should find common ground whenever we can.

I don't mean to be melodramatic but Red Hats should be listening lovingly to the blueies and the blue folks reaching out with respect to those women choosing different ways to age.

As far as I can tell, Red Hats are in some ways less worldly, less sophisticated women than many who read this blog. They have found their own path to sisterhood and support. Not my cup of tea but, pardon the expression, hats off to them for finding their own cup and friends with whom to drink it.

Well said, Cynthia!

The blue thong logo looks like a gift-wrapped potato to me. What does that say about me..?

I am delighted that the Blue Thongers and the Red Hatters co-exist! Now there is definitely a future for all those involved in the Mommy Wars...

Each to his own, I suppose.

Did you say awhile back that you were tired? This makes me tired.

Whatever happened to the Sweet Potato Queens (and their Stud Spuds and Tator Tots)?

What's next?

Grannie Panties Society or their renegade counterparts, the Going Commando Society?

Ditto Cynthia on that comment up there. However, controversy gains attention and, in the for-profit media, controversy also sells.

Chic lit, (Cowtown Pattie should have thought about the YaYas, too)is also emblematic of the need to affirm oneself through friendships and experience/things/beliefs held in common.

I do think it is a little silly and echoes the mommy wars which take away the heat from the big issues, just like Anna Nicole Smith and Britney stories divert our attention away from the more significant and important stories.

As a culture, we're bred and trained to be entertained.

How incredibly inane this is! I'm into ageing gracefully and I don't miss my youth. It works for me. I look better in a red hat than a blue thong (as if I'd let anyone see the difference! lol) Life is about choices and I think both groups need to get a grip and live and let live. These are probably the same women who thought that I was insane to opt for being a mommy instead of climbing the corporate ladder. sigh

Put me down for the Granny Panties group...LOL.

Ronni, you might want to read/respond to this:


How about the People who are Comfortable in their Own Damn Skins Society?

I don't need a frickin' red hat OR blue thong to know who I am!

I am not one for red hats, but having tried thongs once a few years back, I don't know how anybody finds them comfortable-- no pantyline is that bad! Fortunately I am not a joiner; so am not tempted to be in either group.

I tend to think that the "Blue Thongs" thing originally was done for fun. I can't believe it is all being taken so seriously. Originally, the Red Hats were for fun. Now they so organized that they're boringly stodgy. I would never wear a Red Hat or a Blue Thong, although if I were forced to choose, I would probably choose the Thong. (I have always tended to be contrary.) But I do so like the Ya-Yas.

Oh, and if you look here at their Blue Page Directory, these smart chicks have found a way to make their fun idea pay. I'm sure they're making money on these ads: http://www.bluethongsociety.com/pages/friends.html

In my little town of 70,000 or so, I'm told there are 16 chapters of Red Hats. I had the same reaction you did, Ronni (reading your 2004 post), wondering how a poem about individuality spawned an organization of dues-paying bad dressers.

One of our local chapters wanted to volunteer at the theater, having heard we were having funding issues, etc. I was the person designated by the Theater Board to meet the Red Hat lady. She wanted a Board position in charge of rounding up funding. That's not exactly how things work at our theater, and when I tried to bring her in to a Board meeting, she couldn't find time in her schedule of Good Works.

Everyone needs something to do, I guess, and she could be sitting watching TV all day.

dear crabby lady....i'm with you totally on the red hat bidness. the blue thong stuff sounds even worse. eeek!!

In our region, the Red Hats are not just over 50 -- they're over 70 --and the ones I know are rebelling (if dressing alike can be called that) for the first time, having missed the sexual revolution, sat out the women's movement, kept quiet during Vietnam, voted for Reagan four times (twice for G. of California), etc. In making these choices, they also bypassed the intensity of female friendships that the rest of us had -- based as ours were on passionate commitments to social reform, ecological issues, etc. Now, they are forming these friendships, bonding to face down, as a group, their imminent mortality.

In Australia, flip flops are indeed called thongs...

Jackie TUSHinsky in a story about thongs? Are you sure the whole thing isn't just a joke?

(I enjoy your blog very much, by the way.)

Blue thongs, eh? Thanks but no thanks! When are we women gonna start thinking for ourselves and not run in packs all the damn time? I'm 4 years away from 50, and hopefully I won't be as self indulgent as these women who start up these silly groups...
Been there, done that with the red hatters, which is really more of a "business" than a women's group these days...the blue thongers probably will go the same direction when "green" gets involved! So as for all this stuff... I'm going to paraphrase that song by The Who "Won't Get Fooled Again."

I did not have problem with blue thong society untill I heard the comments mover over red hats & the word frump. I wonder which group will get thei first DUI's?
I did e-mail Jackie and asked her not to even mention the red hats at all just leave them be and call them nothing next thing you kown I get a letter in the mail from Santa Ana Ca no return address.. the add is " Want Perfect skin "charlene get it it works.signed J cost 89.00 for wrinkles.. Really nice co founder of the blue thong to do such a thing don't you think? Of course the J must be from Jackie, the only person I know from CA. Thanks Jackie for showing world just what kind of leader you are!

Well, I tried the RHS but it didnt' work out, but I don't think I'm a blue thong kind of person, either. I think I'll just be myself, wear any color I want and have real friends rather than the phony 'rent-a-friends' that such groups attract.

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