Before and After Wedding Salt and Pepper Shakers
This pair of salt and pepper shakers embodies a negative stereotype of older married couples. And yet, with a twist of the wrist, I was able to use them to demonstrate another negative stereotype entirely. These were a gift from Kaycee, who has an excellent eye for tacky treasures, and tackiness in general.
The “Before” side of these shakers depict a bride and groom who are young and beautiful,with lovely clothes and fine figures. They seem unaware of the cruel fate that advancing age has in store for them. By turning the shakers around, we see what their creator wants to teach us about the realities of time.
The “After” side of these shakers show a pair of old, paunchy, sloppily-dressed people. I realize this is supposed to make me laugh at the youthful optimism of a young, about-to-be-married couple, and poke fun at the aging process. But of course, to pull off a gag like this, one has to make some general assumptions about weddings and marriage. And as usual, I find myself not thinking it’s so funny because my life hasn’t always followed the mainstream path. For one thing, when my husband and I got married only a few years ago, let’s just say we were already a bit older than the age the “Before” scenario represents. However, my husband doesn’t have a trace of the paunch that the man in the “After” shakers has, and he’s got a lot more hair on his head, to boot. As for me, you’ll never see me in a babushka, and I haven’t worn a skirt or dress since before I retired last year.
Of course, these shakers are tacky, and tackiness is never socially-conscious. But pointing out that older people can be beautiful, and can have rich love lives that are based on their inner qualities as well, just isn’t as funny as poking fun at stereotypes.
As I was photographing these, I realized that there were more than just two ways to pose these salt and pepper shakers. You can also use them to portray May-December romances of both types; one where the husband is significantly older than the wife, and the other where the wife is significantly older than the husband. The feminist in me is required to note that when the wife is significantly older, she is labeled a “cougar,” whereas there is no corresponding derogatory term for a husband who is significantly older than his wife. This drove me to do some ten-minute research on the Internet where I found this article, which states the issues rather clearly: Don’t Call Me a Cougar – Rejecting the Cougar Stereotype.
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