NOTE: THIS IS REPOST…APOLOGIES TO REGULAR READERS AND A PROMISE OF A NEW POST SOON.
It’s my birthday today, and here’s a secret: I’m 43.
OK, it’s not much of a secret, because I am lucky enough to have tons of friends from childhood who know myÂ age, my birth date is up on my Facebook profile, and what’s more, I have written here and elsewhere that I was 42 (when I was) and 41 (when I was that, until just over a year ago.) I am not above gilding the lily about many, many things, but to lie about something as irrefutable as the date you came busting out, covered with mucus and screaming bloody murder has always seemed to me rather pointless, not to mention futile.
I was in a car service the other day and got stuck in traffic. I was on my way to have my photo taken for my book jacket by my friend Kely (who is an amazing photog), so I was painted like the store-bought hussy that I am, or used to be before I got married. The driver and I got to chatting (Him: laid off engineer for IBM. Me: would-be supermodel but for an unfortunate genetic twist of fate). He was a doll, not least of all because when the subject rolled around to how long each of us had been living in NYC and I said 43 years on Tuesday, he said, “No way you’re 43! I thought you were my age!” Which was 31.
Obviously I was chuffed (U.K.ism for psyched, which I love because it sounds just like what it means–all goofy pleased) and walked around for the rest of the day about six inches off the ground. All because I was honest about my age, which I already am.
Then it occurred to me: What would happen if I lied about my age, but upward, to intimate that I am older than 43, rather than shaving off a few years, as is the usual way? The driver (who I will be requesting from now on whenever I call that car service) was pleasantly surprised at the discrepancy between my real age and his conjecture. What if I simply widened that differential by a couple of years? Wouldn’t the happy miscalculation elicit even more of a disbelieving reaction? What if I claimed to be 45? 47? 50, even? How good would people think I looked for someone born in 1960? They’d wonder what fabulous skincare product I use, who my high-end dermatologist is, if I’d had work done, and marvel at the mad skillz of my nonexistent plastic surgeon!
Dude, I’m so on it! From now on, I’m going to say I’m 46, and if people believe that, I’m going to scootch it up it a few years and see if that flies. I’m 48 and I smear outrageously expensive elephant toe jam imported from East Asia on my crows feet morning and evening! I’m 49 and detox every six months by using a top secret infusion of toddler toenails to wash down thousands of dollars worth of Suzanne Somers’ bioidentical hormones! I’m 50 and…well, no, nothing special. I just use sunscreen and do yoga and eschew processed foods like Hollywood celebrities of a certain age always claim to do in People magazine to look as good as they do.
Or maybe I’ll just say I’m 43, but say it in a way that sounds like I’m lying, to infuse the whole conversation with an air of doubt and mystery. “I’m, um…” (twirls her hair, shifts her eyes, turns her wedding ring nervously around on her finger) “…43!” Think of the speculation! Future hopefully bestselling author on the subject of aging out of young who by some miracle gets to appear on Oprah is discovered to have LIED about her age! Hypocrite! James Frey-like buzz! Sells even more books!!
Or maybe I’ll just say I’m 43, like I mean it, because who really gives a shit? OK. I do, a little, obviously enough to write about it, anyway. But I shouldn’t. And neither should anyone.
November 9, 2010 at 9:22 pm
Okay, I have a similar problem. Working in the industry I do, and being a company that is needed throughout the state, and the fact that I end up working with people via email and phone all over the state (and other states in some cases), I do end up chatting a lot with people. I also have a lot of online friends that I’ve never actually met in person (thanks mIRC back in 2000).
Anyways, when you hear that I’m a twice divorced mother of 4 boys, worked for the DoD as a civilian contractor, worked for the state prison system archiving sex offender files, worked for a north slope company, etc, and now have been working in rehab for the last two years – the age most conjure up is late 30s to early 40s.
My boss (late 50s) and I get a kick out of watching people come in to our office for the first time for a meeting with me. The look of shock is priceless. Instead of seeing a 38-45 year old woman, probably a bit dumpy (I mean, there are 4 boys), and instead, they see a 27 year old who wears a size 10 jean. If I’d just drop the rest of this pesky weight, I’d look younger, but I am having trouble doing so because of the painkillers I have to take. I have ruptured discs in my lower back and need fusion surgery (putting it off as long as possible) and degenerative disc disease in my neck.
Anyways, the double takes that people do is priceless. Some adapt easily, some have a hard time with my age.
Do I consider myself a “formerly”. Sure. Maybe not in chronology, but in experience and wear & tear. Even if I could wear a bikini, would I really want to? No. Even if I could get away with wearing a mini skirt in public, would I want to? No.
November 9, 2010 at 9:42 pm
Very Funny…as someone who is 50…yes 50 as of August, I have never lied about my age except when I was 17 and held my 18th birthday in a bar I wanted to be able to drink in. My “older” boy friend hung out there. I do enjoy the occasional …no way..you can’t be that age. I must say though that I really just like being me right now…and whatever age that is. I usually joke that any age is good as long as they aren’t throwing dirt on me!
November 11, 2010 at 8:58 am
Hysterical. I am right with you on this…
November 17, 2010 at 5:02 am
Hahahaha – Love this blog. I am not yet 40 – I will be though in a few months…and you know what – I have experienced many many of your ‘formerly’ moments, so hey – I guess I can call myself a member of the club. This is true – I actually LOOK lots younger than my 39 – and get all those comments like you said you got (“39.5 – NOW WAY, JOSE!”) I feel great too – well – most of the time and providing Im not in Hormoneville! I shall be asking for your book for xmas…could do with a secret giggle once all the xmas dinner palaver has died down and I’m sitting comfy with a glass of good Rioja (when I say ‘secret giggle’ – I mean a giggle where only I know why it’s funny – there are just some thigns the hubby wouldnt get!!
Keep doing what your doing – doesnt sound like you need any ‘elephant toe jam’ anytime soon(hahaha – I actually said “eeeuurgh” aloud when I read that bit – just saying it sounds naughty!)
Way to go!