Our Age

In case you were wondering, I do think there is such a thing as middle age and I will eventually take part in it—just not in my 30s. Maybe it starts at 45? Yes, 45.

In college I used to arbitrarily throw out the number 25, like when I turned 25 I’d get into yoga (I’ve still never done it) or realize I was really gay and living a lie like a Meredith Baxter, formerly +Birney or Kelly McGuinness (no, neither were 25 when they came out).

So, Jane Pratt’s new web venture launched yesterday and all the blogs—especially the commenters—I usually agree with, hated it. Yeah, I read Sassy in the day, Jane, too, but I guess that doesn’t mean that I had crazy high expectations for any contemporary revival. I went looking for abhorent and, yes, I got something trying too hard to be edgy, a little tone deaf, but I felt kind of more bad for it than anything.

Jane Pratt’s own missive, “Yes, I'm Exactly Twice As Old As When I Started Sassy — Want To Make Something Of It?” says it all. The title implies she’s feisty and could give a shit about her age, but the tale that unfolds is so insecure and fixated on what others think—depressing enough in general, but worse for someone who’s accomplished and that young women have looked to as a cool big sister. This is not how we want to see our ‘90s empowered girls grown up, in the same way that Janeane Garofolo talking about botox and Spanx seems wrong. Once you actually hit middle-age, maybe wrinkles and (imaginary) fat rolls aren’t something you can laugh off, after all.

Yet, I hope to god that when I’m 48 I’m not moved to “crying and hands shaking” because I’ve overheard strangers, young women in the 20s, saying that I look older than my age, like I’m in my 60s. Everyone is old when you are in your 20s.

Then again, the only thing keeping me hair-dyeing every month is the concern that someone might mistake me as older than I am. Today while talking with two co-workers in their mid-late 40s, one was comparing less experienced people to those “our age” and sure, I balked.

I also wonder if the internet hate also has to do with the writing style–narcissistic, meandering, more surfacey than insightful–a very ‘90s convention, and a little dated I am just now realizing. I can be guilty of it, with a side of self-depracation, not the name-dropping that plagues the xoJane post. Do younger women not respond to this voice or is it that the content on this new site just isn’t very good?

There definitely has been a shift. Younger female bloggers are succinct, oddly wise and confident even when writing about fanciful or fluffy topics. At least the successful ones.  Or there’s that way of using totes, obvs, lot of exclamation points and caps without being moronic because you know the writer is smart, which is contrived as anything. Will they cry when they’re 46 and someone calls them old?

I don’t fear becoming middle-aged. I do fear becoming irrelevant, whatever that means, while thinking I’m still with it. Is writing in a personal manner, insecurities and all, well into your 40s the new paunchy, bald guy with a sportscar?

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