I’m getting old, make no mistake. If you are of a similar age and are even considering refuting that fact, allow me to remind you that those people who were born in the first third of 1997 are now legally able to drink in this country. Nineteen ninety SEVEN. I bet you’re no longer feeling like that spring chicken you aspire to be, after absorbing that little snippet of information! I recently rolled my eyes indulgently at a boy-child as he smugly brandished a shiny new provisional licence at me…”You can’t use that as ID, it says you were born in 1997….” Reality slowly dawned as he looked at me like I was senile and I sheepishly shuffled off to pour his Archers and lemonade. I haven’t made that mistake since.
This feeling of ancientness has been creeping up on me for a fair wee while now. In much the same manner that I have trouble remembering a time when every single menu in every single gastropub wasn’t littered with the seemingly compulsory pulled pork, sweet potato fries, chorizo, and salted caramel, I don’t know when I started grunting and groaning whenever I rose from a seated position.
I also can’t remember when I began vetoing pubs on the basis of their lack of comfortable seating, or their predilection for playing (bad) music too loudly, or their tendency to run out of ice. On a similar note, I am unable to pinpoint the exact year when hangovers started to extend beyond the morning after, sometimes in exceptional circumstances even lingering for a second painful day.
Another almost undetectable symptom of the aging process is my gradual change in spending habits. Once upon a time I spent all my readies on nights out, CDs, gig tickets and trashy magazines. Nowadays I’m far more likely to be found browsing the ‘For your Home’ section of John Lewis than in the crowd at a club. In recent years I have become the proud owner of: a wine decanter, a Dyson, a pair of walking sandals, and a food processor.
So, whilst it would it would appear I’ve been aging almost imperceptibly for the past decade or so, several specific instances have occurred lately that have made me feel unequivocally ancient.
- I looked at this year’s Reading Festival lineup and I had no desire whatsoever to see the vast majority of the bands. Actually, let’s be honest here; the phenomenon isn’t specific to this particular festival and I actually haven’t heard of most of the bands on the bills. How times have changed. Back in my day, etc, etc.
- I was amazed at how young the wee boy who came to door canvassing for the Labour Party was. Embarrassing story involving me throwing the door wide open and manically imploring him to “come in, come in!” (Whilst dressed in scabby mismatching jammies and sporting a dragged-through-a-hedge-backwards hair-do). Clearly, I’m not the type to answer the door to unannounced visitors willy-nilly (in my humble opinion, turning up at my door without prior arrangement is in on par with arriving brandishing a packed lunch when I invite you round for a tasty meal). Anyways, I was expecting the BF to be the perpetrator of the insistent knocking; knocking whilst simultaneously brandishing all-important breakfast ingredients and loo roll (I can’t be that grown up; I live in a household that runs out of Andrex)…Alas, by the time I realised my mistake, the political whippersnapper was looking rather scared. He also referred to me as MRS Bruce. Clearly in his naive little mind, all women over a certain age must be married. Thinking about it, I’m surprised he didn’t think to enquire as to whether I was thinking about kids yet (at your age being the implication…). Do I sound a little defensive? Surely not.
- The BF announced his, quite frankly, ridiculous intention to dye his slightly-greying hair… I am well-aware of the double standards I am perpetuating when I say this, but I do not think men should colour their hair. Ever. I also don’t believe that his reasoning (“Women eye me up from far away but then they get close and see my grey hairs…”) was ever going to garner my sympathy! As I whinged at length on the topic to a most patient friend, she made the following pertinent point: “Remember that man we used to call ‘The Guy Who Looks Hot From A Distance’… The one with the really obviously dyed hair? You’d be HIS girlfriend!” Quite. Regrettably, I took such a stand over his desire to dye that I have effectively shot myself in the foot… Should I ever fall victim to those most ageing greys, I will have to make a secret foray to the dreaded ‘dresser in order to remedy this. I’d never live it down if I DIY’d it. In retrospect, I perhaps didn’t think this one through as adequately as I should have done…
- Hashtags. I’ll admit it, I am becoming one of those rather annoying folks who posts pictures of their food on social media (get over it or un-friend me!) What I’m not so adept at, is understanding this oh-so-modern obsession with multiple #-ings of every post… ‘Here’s a picture of a most excellent Scotch egg I made with my own fair hands #food #delicious #naughtybutnice #my kitchennowsmellsofburntoil #yummyscrummy #lookhowrunnymyyolkis #mypredictivetextishatingthis #whatistheactualpoint?’… I asked a (far more youthful) friend to explain the phenomenon and she answered that it helped you to get more likes and follows (I was following her so far…) but, get this, you receive these additional commendations from strangers! I expressed the notion that I didn’t want weird strangers looking at my foodie photos and she accused me of ‘showing my age’! How very rude! This occurring in the very same week I kindly offered to lend her my Dyson, no less!
- I went to the Sunday Times Wine Festival. I should probably end here as surely that fact alone relegates me to the realms of Middle Age-dom? I feel duty-bound to point out that in the spirit of my younger years, it was the promise of ‘unlimited tastings’ and a ‘free glass’ (no need to drunkenly pilfer one as a souvenir) that sold it to me. I also want to make you aware that I gleefully worked out which wines were the most expensive and made a beeline towards them with the aim of ‘getting my money’s worth’… Oh, and I was that person on the last train offending everyone with her smelly food (do I need to mention it wasn’t a dirty burger, but a most delicious pongy unpasteurised cheese that I had only a very vague recollection of buying? I definitely got my money’s worth on that wine, it would appear…)
- I made the heinous mistake of going to a Drum and Bass night…(#oldestpersoninthegodforsakenroom). Enough said.
So yes, I thinks it’s a truth universally acknowledged that I am no longer a spring chicken. I will just have to console myself in the fact that as ancient as I am, I am still capable of learning new things. In this past week alone, the following knowledge was bestowed upon me: Bcc stands for Blind Carbon Copy (who’d’ve thunk it?!); it is still possible for me to get lost on my walk home from work if I choose to embark upon a ‘short-cut’; baconnaise is as vile as it sounds; expensive wine still gives you a hangover, regardless of the fact a bottle would set you back £300; I will never, ever get my hair to look so effortlessly good as when I shove it on top of my head before showering – it simply will not be recreated should I try to emulate this up-do before venturing outside; Easter egg chocolate tastes sooo much better than your everyday bog-standard chocolate due to the fact it contains extra fat to help it curve (I can’t bring myself to look this up to confirm as I will be tremendously disappointed if it isn’t true!)
So I shall continue to treat every day as a school day and I shall endeavour to cling to the last vestiges of my youth… No time soon will I stop eating crisps for breakfast, or leaving my crusts (curly hair is overrated anyway). I will not tire of looking up ’embarrassing tattoo’ websites or hoping to get ID’d every time I purchase a bottle of wine – hey, I can live in hope can’t I?