50 is a Biggie!

cindyCindy Crawford is 50.  I remember when Cindy was — OMG! — she still is.  To say the gods have been good to Cindy Crawford is like sayin’ John Dillinger robbed banks.  Yeah, she’s had some work done — big deal!  In an age when image is everything, this woman is the poster child for Wow!  And, to seal the deal, she’s worth north of 100 million dollars.  Anyway, Cindy Crawford is 50, and she’s decided to retire — or at least not model for money anymore.

Despite all the age-is-only-a-number bullshit that old people try to pull to feel good about themselves, 50 is still The Biggie.  It marks a distinct change in life and attitude.  I would not presume to give aging advice to Cindy Crawford, but for mere mortals, here are a few things you can expect when you hit the big Five-O.  (For those of us who are looking at 50 in the rear-view mirror, think of this as a stroll down memory lane.)

1 — You rediscover all the stuff you thought you couldn’t live without in your 20s and 30s and get rid of it.  Things like the soup tureen, that brass thing from Mexico, 24/7 house cleaning, punitive underwear, the whiny kid who thinks parent is spelt s-l-a-v-e and sometimes even that old thing on the sofa that’s been making your life miserable for years.

2 — Your clothes start to shrink.

3 — You start to make noises like your parents.  These aren’t words or opinions — just noises — like when you get up in the morning or bend down.

4 — Your body hair begins to resemble the fur on a badger.  The hair in your nose, ears, eyebrows and other places starts to regenerate overnight and have a wiry will of its own, sproinging off in all directions.

5 — The people on TV all start to look the same.

6 — Sex is way simpler.  First of all, you don’t have to wear uncomfortable clothes to get laid — sweats will do.  There are no Consent Forms (in triplicate) no medical history, no Vaccination Certificates, no birth control paraphernalia.  It’s all very straightforward.
“I’m horny.”
“Me too.”
“Ya wanna?”
“Meet ya behind the salad bar.”

7 — The six second delay between your mind and your mouth disappears.

8 — Everything under three feet tall appears to be unbelievably cute — kittens, pandas, Disney Princesses, ugly babies, — even those stupid little dogs with the kicked-in faces.

9 — Your body begins to betray you at the most inappropriate times, threatening to exude gases and fluids when it’s not supposed to or developing that unholy itch in a personal area just when you’re about to meet the new boss — or Kevin, from Accounting, behind the salad bar.

And finally:

10 — Even though you’ve been telling yourself this since you were 21, at 50, you finally realize that, in fact, you DON’T actually give a shit what people think.

Happy Birthday, Cindy!  Come on over; we’re having cake — and Pepsi!

Fashion: Listening to Your Inner Child

slope3There’s a slippery slope that happens in this life, and it doesn’t end unless you find yourself chasing the garbage man down the alley in nothing but your Buzz Lightyear boxers and a beltless bathrobe.  You might do this ‘cause it’s important; that trash is going to smell like dead hobbits the day after tomorrow.  And you may even rationalize it by saying, “That trash is going to smell like dead hobbits the day after tomorrow.”  But, you still know you’ve just stepped through the looking glass.  What was once an intimate detail, known only to your mother and a few significant others, is now available to the general viewing public.  More importantly, you hope none of your neighbours caught your Batman imitation on their cell phones.

We don’t all end up on Pinterest as “Meanwhile at WalMart” memes — but we could.  There’s a charming little voice in everybody’s inner adult that whispers “What the hell?  It’s only the Drive-thru.  This shirt’s good enough.”  So we grab the keys instead of listening to our inner child, who would scold us into, at the very least, changing our underwear.  (I was nearly 10 before I realized clean underwear didn’t actually prevent traffic accidents.)  It’s that same voice that urges us to wear pink with plaid and refuses to part with the UCLA T-shirt that was printed when Zorro was a boy.  We all have it.  Our parents warned us about it, but all of us still listen.  Bad mistake!

Back in the day, mostly mom (and sometimes dad) taught us that going out in public was a sacred trust.  People were looking at us, and we needed to show some respect.  Neat was important, but clean was essential.  As we got older, that sage bit of advice translated into sex, straight up and down.  You need to look your best because nobody is going to sleep with a slob.  Unfortunately, adulthood and cohabitation dulls the echoes of our parents, and more and more we end up relying on our own resources.

At first, it’s okay.  We dress for work, go out with our friends, flirt with the cashiers at the grocery store and leave our private face at home where it belongs.  However, eventually, those sweatpants are just too damn comfy not to get trotted out to mow the lawn.  But that’s okay too: we’re in our own yard, they’re clean, and they still kinda fit in the crotch.  Besides, they cover up that extra 10 lbs that’s been hanging around all summer.  Oops!  This is where it gets problematical.

As we get older, we tend to spread in all directions.  Clothes just aren’t as friendly as they were back when we were slopetwenty.  And this is when our inner adult comes calling.  “Hey, buddy!  You’re a grown man.  You pay taxes.  You have a mortgage and a Mercedes.  You haven’t eaten liver or lima beans in 12 years!  If you want to wear socks with sandals, screw the hippie who says you can’t!”  And we listen.  But the socks with sandals (or your personal equivalent) are just the thin edge of the wedge.  Pretty soon, it’s only work, weddings and funerals that get a tie.  Family functions are all informal, and those sweatpants that kinda fit – question mark — have migrated from the back yard to the shopping mall.  It’s unavoidable.

The thing to remember, if you don’t want to end up dressing like Robin Williams in The Fisher King, is that your inner adult is a spoiled brat.  He thinks that whatever he says goes, and he pouts if he doesn’t get his own way.  You’re far better off to listen to your common-sense child, who’s very aware of what not to wear.  The parents explained it to him.

My point is that, as we get older, we all dress for comfort, not for speed, but you don’t get any points for running amok.  Therefore, it’s best to cool your jets or you’ll end up as the Flying Dutchman of the Internet, repinned and reposted as The Old Man in the Leopard-skin Leotard.

What a Drag it is Getting Old … Not

Actually, I enjoy getting old, not because of the totally scary alternative but because it’s fun.  Old people get to do tons of neat stuff and get away with it.  It’s like being a child with porno and alcohol privileges.  First of all, you can bitch.  In fact, it’s almost expected.  When young people complain, there’s always some wiseacre who wants to talk about “changing the world” and “making a difference;” suddenly, the conversation goes from bad to boring.  However, when I complain, everybody just agrees with me and the conversation keeps on moving.  Nobody wants to provoke another old guy tirade.

You also get to wear comfortable clothes.  This is especially true for women who spend their formative years harnessed into those baby doll jeans that cut them in half.  At a certain age, both sexes can head for the uber-sized sweat (yoga) pants and nobody bats an eyeball.  Baggy shorts with polished dress shoes, evil colours, socks and sandals and those weird sweaters that old people never, ever button up — anything goes.  I’ve never tried it, but I’m sure you could go grocery shopping in your bathrobe if you wanted to.

Plus, and this is the coolest one, you’re never lazy.  You can spend all day eating cookies, drinking lattes and watching reruns of Bewitched on Netflix™ if you want, and nobody looks at you sideways.  If anybody under 30 tried that for very long, there’d be ki-yi-ing from here to Congress.  ‘Lazy bastard!  No wonder he hasn’t got a good job.”  But for people my age and older, it’s all about compassion, “Poor thing!  It must be hard for him now that he’s got nothing to do.”  Yeah, it’s tough.  Pass the Oreos™!”

And that’s the thing: when you start reaching into 60+, the rest of the world wants to drown you in sympathy.  It’s as if you magically caught an incurable disease.  Here’s a brilliant secret.  Leave a couple of Get Well Cards on the coffee table and you’ll never have to clean your house again.  Work it properly, and some of your younger relatives might even wash your dishes for you.  I’m not sure if this is true, but a friend of mine told me that once he left his lawnmower in the front yard to answer an important phone call, and before he could get back, the neighbours had made their kid finish cutting the lawn for him!  People open doors for you, you always get a seat on the bus and nobody complains when you’re late.  They’re probably just relieved that you made it at all, and they don’t have to go to the funeral.

Of course, like everything else in life, getting old has some downside, but trust me, it’s mostly minor.  For one thing, in casual conversation, you start sounding like your parents.  Making noises like your dad isn’t so bad until the stuff he said way back when begins to make sense to you: then you have to worry.

Another difficulty is contemporary music all sounds the same.  It’s like listening to Klingon.  Kanye West could be Kanye East, Snoop Dog (Lion?) is a jackass, and none of the women realize that breasts go on the inside of the dress.  So what?  There aren’t any ballads anymore, anyway and you can’t dance to the rest of it – so crack out the old CDs and carry on.

The only thing that actually is bothersome about being old is you keep getting outrun by technology.  This can be a serious problem, but if you remember that you’ve got the inside track on sympathy, you’ll be alright.  You’d be surprised how many people will make a special trip to reprogram your PVR for you, especially if you can pull a few tears.

The actual secret to getting old successfully is don’t take yourself too seriously.  Never forget that experience doesn’t always equal wisdom.  Even when it does, there’s no law that says you have to be wise every day.  Me?  I’m going to open another bag of Doritos™ and see what Darren and Samantha are up to this afternoon.