Item 1: HOW long ago were the 90s?Today Big Sister and I were finding our favourite songs on youtube. I suddenly thought of “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette, which featured on the soundtrack of that unforgettable 1990 movie “Pretty Woman”.
It was a shock to realise that 1990 was 22 years ago.
Item 2: I know that song on the radio because I’ve heard it before, as in, ‘before you were born’.There are way too many songs coming out lately whose lyrics I know word for word - unsurprising, since said songs are covers of hits that are 20 years old or more. Fame. Creep. Billy Jean. Like a Prayer. In Your Head. I have to hold my tongue to stop myself airing opinionated middle-aged-womanly comments like, “Oooh, it’s a brave person who would do a cover of MJ/Madonna” or shaming myself by using words like ‘travesty’ or ‘disrespectful’ when pointing out bold and ill-advised alterations of lyrics.
Item 3: Why are you dressed as an 80s tragic?Everywhere I look, people are wearing stuff that I remember (not very fondly) from the 80s. I am officially old enough to be seeing a retro rehash of my early teenage years. Oh dear God.
Item 4: Mirrors and other harsh critics tell me I’m looking oldI have suddenly found myself in the target market for anti-ageing creams and potions featuring words like “repair”, “transformation” and “miracle” in the title. I will buy just about any product that promises to “reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots” because suddenly I have a whole bunch of wrinkles and age spots.
Some time ago I was discussing my crow’s feet with Big Sister:
BS: Mummy, why do you have all those things around your eyes?Me: You mean my wrinkles? Well, as we get older our skin gets weaker, and it gets lines and wrinkles. When I smile you can really notice them, can’t you?
BS: I can really notice them even when you’re not smiling.
Item 5: Even impartial bystanders think I look oldIn Japan, even when I was still in my 20s, if people guessed at my age it was not unusual for them to pick a number in the 40s. I still remember attending a meeting as a first year associate in Tokyo, and being mistaken for a partner. To be fair, the average 40- or even 50-something Japanese woman is ageless and fresh-faced and has so few wrinkles it defies belief. Being told I look as old as these graceful women is not insulting.
I had long reassured myself that this over-estimation of my age was mere cultural error. I had blissfully believed that among other white-skinned people I still looked on the young side. It was a shock, therefore, when earlier this year my doctor remarked disingenuously that although young women didn’t need regular medical check-ups, I should be bringing myself along for one every year. He realised his faux pas immediately and hastily tried to backtrack: “By ‘young women’ I meant women in their 20s!”
I had almost recovered from this blow to my womanly confidence when, less than a minute later, he brought up the subject of menopause. Hello??
Overall, in recent weeks I’ve been made aware that the transition from spring chicken to speckled hen is well and truly complete.
Now that I’ve had this cathartic rant, I’m going to promise myself to read this post again 10 years from now. I predict that I will laugh. Hard. I predict that I will look at photos of myself taken this year and think, woman, what were you on about? You looked young and gorgeous!
Age is all relative.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to slather myself in Miracle Potion and google “hormone replacement therapy”.