Magazine by-lines generally tend to be made up purely to get the reader’s attention but I’ve seen that ‘40 is the new 30’ more times than ‘grey is the new black’. I have a theory that as the magazine journalists and editors age they write this kind of stuff to make themselves feel younger, simultaneously making their fashion and beauty product buying readers feel younger thus keeping their advertisers happy. But I’m a cynic. The other side is that in general women do seem to be ageing better these days what with botox, laser peels, face lifts, brow lifts, implants, support pants and that serum stuff they sell in Boots. In general a need to look younger than your years does appear to be the norm.
Cast your mind back to when your Mum was 40, if you remember it, I can’t remember any particular age but I do remember my little sister being a baby which would make my Mum around the late 30s mark. Was it the fashion then to dress old or do we just not have any sense of clear judgement because our parents always look old to us. Actually I can answer that question by saying categorically that there are stages in fashion where it is indeed hip to be old. The photos of my 18th birthday prove this point. Perm, shoulder pads, enormous gold clip on earrings. I honestly think I look younger now, if you don’t look at my face. If my Mum had dressed in the same fashions as me when I was 16 I would have been horrified but how many mother daughter combos out there wear skinny jeans, a tunic and a ‘statement’ necklace. I’d hazard a guess and say most. Case in point, my 24 year old babysitter and I often wear similar clothes although her shorts are definitely shorter than mine. In fact I foolishly consider myself to be a friend of hers which really is just downright delusional because I do clearly remember being 24 and I also remember how I viewed a 40 year old. Ah the luxury and arrogance of youth.
How often have you heard yourself say to some poor teenage offspring of a friend ‘when did you get so big?’, or words to that effect. Just recently I met an old neighbour’s son who I last saw before the summer and I actually heard myself say those excruciating words which immediately made me feel ridiculous, him feel ridiculous and achieved nothing but an awkward silence. Let’s face it, how do you answer that? When younger I am sure you also vowed never to say that kind of thing but it just slips out because we really mean it, like, really WHEN did you get so grown up because I am still 30 and you are still 6. I am really hoping that the other humiliating things our elders said to us when we were younger don’t slip out unintentionally; ‘I remember when I was your age’, ‘what do kids get up to these days?’, ‘you call this music?’ I really, really intend to be down with the kids (oops done it again), but I suspect I will be like every other embarrassing old codger.