According to a well-known beauty manufacturer, there are seven signs of ageing. These supposedly are: the look of fine lines & wrinkles, rough texture, the appearance of prominent pores & age spots, uneven skin tone, surface dullness & dryness.
Over the last few weeks, I have identified a number of signs indicating that I am ageing. Not all of these signs are new developments, but they are all certainly things that have only emerged in the last few years (I turned 28 last week & I can say for sure that none of these would have featured on a list the week after my 18th birthday!). So here are my alternative seven signs of ageing:
1) You & a friend discuss whether to get the bottle of wine or just two glasses.
While on holiday, I met up with an old uni friend & we went for dinner. We both wanted white wine. And we genuinely debated whether ordering two glasses warranted purchasing the whole bottle. In the end, we did buy the bottle, but only after consideration. Clearly the days of ‘buy two glasses get the rest of the bottle free’ are no longer such an allure.
2) Fruit & nut is considered a reasonable choice of chocolate bar.
As a child, fruit & nut seemed an outrage: why ruin chocolate with other stuff? Especially vaguely ‘healthy’ things? Then lo, twenty years on, I find myself thinking ‘Umm, fruit & nut – yummy’. When & why did this happen?!
3) Going to see the Dutch tulip fields sounds like a lovely mini-break option.
My grandparents once went on a trip to see the tulips in bloom in the Netherlands. At the time, this seemed liked the most ridiculous holiday I had ever heard. The Netherlands?! On holiday?! (to be said in a Peter Kay ‘Garlic bread?’ tone). By my mid-teens, the Netherlands seemed far more alluring – well, Amsterdam came calling – but still the tulip fields remained off my holiday radar. Then the other week I found myself in all seriousness uttering the phrase: ‘I’d really like to see the Dutch tulip fields in bloom’. The implications of this are profound: I am clearly now more interested in gardening & flowers than sex & drugs.
4) You know your own underwear limitations.
Some time ago, my friend & I vowed that we would give up trying to haul our breasts into strapless bras. We were in ‘French Connection’ in Birmingham’s Bull Ring at the time. The ‘hoik wriggle’ move every few minutes, we decided, was a) a pain & b) simply not alluring. So sufficient have I been in my resolve to ban strapless bras, my brain now simply edits out any items requiring anything other than a standard bra before I even enter the changing room. The saddest part of all this is that I don’t even miss such skimpy tops, halterneck & boob tube-esque numbers.
5) Social arrangements regularly involve breakfast & always require a diary.
I’m not exactly sure when exactly this moment occurred, but at some point in the last couple of years, breakfast has suddenly become a reasonable time of day to meet up with people. Hangovers &/or new boyfriends no longer rule any time before 12pm on a Saturday or Sunday out of the equation for when to get together.
Around the same time as ‘breakfast = feasible time for socialising’ occurred, the diary phenomena also emerged. Even with closest friends, diaries are required to figure out when the next meeting can be arranged. If you haven’t got your diary with you then you dare not make any definite plans. Want to meet up on a weekday evening? A slot about three weeks later can usually be found. Want to meet up on a weekend? This requires around three months of planning – & even then it’s likely to be for breakfast.
6) The only current hits you know are familiar thanks to secondary activities.
Despite vowing to never be like our parents & become totally unfamiliar with the music charts, it seems that after a certain point, we only know current songs because we have heard them through some secondary means. Ie, we stop saying ‘Oh yes, I heard it on MTV/Top of the Pops/the Chart Show’ & start saying ‘Oh, I think I’ve heard this in the gym/at my exercise class/in a shop/in the dentist’s chair’.
7) ‘Last time around’ includes clothing you can remember wearing.
This moment was truly frightening. Topshop, Saturday afternoon: I spy some oversize shirts. First thought: ‘Ooo, they’re lovely. I could wear them with leggings’. Second thought: ‘Oh ****, I wore them with leggings circa 1990’. Third thought: ‘Oh **** & double ****, no-one else within a five-metre radius of me was even born in 1990’.
On the bright side, I dug out my 1990 oversize shirt (complete with ruffle, just like some of the Topshop new season collection). I have changed the buttons & it’s ready to wear.
Advantage *1 of ageing: you no longer have to always buy vintage, you can just dig it out of the back of your own wardrobe.