Coaching Blog 32: glass screens & bow ties

Driving my youngest daughter to one of her 1,000 after-school activities, I spotted a white haired old guy, walking upright, but slowly, wearing a bow-tie, black jacket and hat.


It wasn’t fancy dress – he was just well-dressed; so well-dressed I stared at him and missed the lights changing.

Normally, I get told off for commenting on the atitre of pedestrians that step out in front of me with no warning. (For good reason, I’m ashamed to admit as I do spend an awful lot of times muttering ‘Why ?’ when I pass someone who has fallen for the fallacy that EVERYONE can wear leggings ……….. they can’t.) But this time, before I could comment, my daughter whispered ……… ‘Cool’ and I had to agree.

The guy looked fantastic.

OK, it could be argued that he was caught in a time warp ………. had he bought that bow-tie or just not thrown away the one given to him when he turned 21  ? But that’s irrelevant – the point was, he didn’t look like an old man, there was something about him that seemed to say ‘Yep, I’ve got grey hair, I’m way older than you ……… but I look good’ and I had to agree.

As he crossed the road in front of me (and the car behind me honked his horn) 2 teenagers crossed in the opposite direction, wearing baggy jeans around their knees (OK, I’m exaggerating for effect, but they were looooowwwww) and swaggering with a misplaced sense of importance. (Basically guys, if you are THAT important, why aren’t you at work ?) And I was struck by the different clothes – but also the different body language.

Mr Bow Tie apparently had nothing to prove, and moved easily (slowed by age, but easily); the Low Jeans Boys seemed to take longer to cross the road and all I could think was ‘Swaying like that can’t be good for their knees.’

At a networking meeting this morning, someone mentioned the ‘invisible screen’ that appears in front of women when they hit a certain age or when their faces develop a certain amount of wrinkles – the screen that means their views, thoughts and aspirations become unimportant.

It was then that I remembered Mr Bow Tie ……. and felt guilty. Call myself a coach ? I only noticed him because he had done something to break the screen in front of him and all the other older guys that I don’t see.

I can’t expect everyone over 70 to rock a sharp suit, beautiful dress or a hat, but I could maybe pay more attention when I pass them in the street. 








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