“I don’t plan to retire,” the singer said in a recent interview. “I just turned 74 and I plan to be on the cover of Playboy magazine again.”
Dolly Parton has always been quick with a quip.
When describing her childhood, growing up in East Tennessee’s East Smoky Mountains, Parton once said that the Parton family had “running water, if you were willing to run and get it”.
The New York Times called these lines “Dollyisms”, in reference to the world’s most successful country singer’s gift with the gab. Remember the quote “it takes a lot of money to look this cheap”? Or what about this: “I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes, because I know I’m not dumb. And I also know that I’m not blonde.”
This week, the singer trotted out one of her best “Dollyisms” in an interview with Australian television program 60 Minutes.
“I don’t plan to retire,” she said. “I just turned 74 and I plan to be on the cover of Playboy magazine again… See I did Playboy magazine years ago, and I thought it’d be such a hoot if they’ll go for it – I don’t know if they will – if I could be on the cover again when I’m 75.”
Parton’s cover of the men’s magazine is one of the most iconic in its history. She was the first country star to appear on the cover of the magazine, wearing a set of bunny ears and a bustier. (“I could probably use it,” she joked. “Boobs are still the same.”)
Later in the interview, the singer shared her philosophy on ageing however the hell she wants to age. “I’ve had about all the nips and tucks I can have,” she said. “The good part with me though, I have my own look. I look kind of cartoonish and cartoons don’t really age that much.”
She continued: “Even when I’m 90, I’ll still probably look about the same way. Just thicker make-up and bigger hair.”
Parton’s remarks are worth celebrating, a glorious middle finger thrown up to the notion of “ageing gracefully”.
They’re also a reminder of one of her most frequent “Dollyisms”. When asked how she hopes to be remembered 50 or 100 years from now, Parton has always said: “I want ‘em to say, ‘God, don’t she look good for her age!’”
We live in a world that wants to tell women that there’s a right and a wrong way to get older. This leads to conflicting messaging: grey hair is bad, but then plastic surgery is also bad. And so on, and so forth. Women just can’t win, can they?
Parton’s words remind us all that ageing is a multitude of things, different for us all. Parton’s way? With bon mots and big hair.