Friday, 23 September 2016

Embarrassing and stuff

That clichéd put-down that someone should "act their age" is one of the silliest remarks ever. Why should someone act their age? What on earth does it mean anyway?

What behaviour exactly is suitable for someone of sixty? Or seventy? Or eighty? Are they meant to wear something that hides every inch of flesh? Or lurk in a corner not saying anything controversial? Or avoid all mention of sex, drugs or gangsta rap?

I suspect all it really means is "Don't do anything a twenty something might do because it's, like, totally embarrassing and stuff, and we'll have to ignore you and pretend we don't know you."

Which in turn really means "We reserve the right to control your behaviour because we're young and cool and you're a fuddy-duddy old person who's only allowed to be fuddy-duddy."

Well, bollocks to that. We oldies have spent most of our life being told what to do by employers, spouses, children and parents, and in our twilight years we claim the right to dress and behave any way we want for a change and take no notice of any strait-laced objections.

Madonna in particular gets regular taunts that she should "act her age" and not come on so sexy and flamboyant. She tells her critics to get lost, that she's going to act any way she wants "because it's MY age and it's MY life."

Good for her. I shall follow her example. I don't feel the need to be sexy and flamboyant, but anything else I fancy doing - I shall just go right ahead and bugger how old I am. I shall dance and cavort and swear and contradict and shock and too bad if it ruffles some feathers.

Because it's my age and it's my life.

24 comments:

Ursula said...

Whatever.

Spare a thought for a toddler. You know the one. Eyes at height of adults' kneecaps. Not yet able to articulate what it [the toddler] feels. Mainly frustration. Reduced to nothing. Other than a tantrum in aisle 23 because his mother dithers over too much choice of tins of kidney beans.

Have you ever heard anyone encouraging a toddler "to act" their age?

U

helen devries said...

I was in England for mother's one hundredth birthday....she wears what she likes - and thank goodness for the patience of the staff in John Lewis who find her what she wants - eats and drinks what she likes and says what she likes.
Mark you, she always did....but at one hundred she might be regarded as a 'character' and thus not taken seriously.

Nick said...

Ursula: Well, it makes perfect sense that a toddler is "acting their age". What else are you capable of at that age but throwing a tantrum or making a mess? But telling an oldie to "act their age" - what on earth does it mean?

Helen: Glad to hear your mother is so happily independent of all expected behaviour! As you say, she's probably excused on the basis that she's a "character" and the normal rules don't apply.

Joanne Noragon said...

A good friend of thirty plus years had a falling out with me last July, and it seems destined to last. My granddaughter still with me succumbed to thirteen years of sibling abuse last Christmas and had a mental breakdown. I've spent months with her, in rehabilitation, and we've come through some very fragile periods to a place of strength and competence. Last May we were in a theater, with that friend. My granddaughter had not worn enough clothing for the unexpectedly cold building, and drew her knees and sandled feet up under her skirt. My friend reached over me to smack at her knees. "Tell that great big girl to get her feet down!" I saw tears form in Laura's eyes. I gave her my jacket to use as a blanket. The friend and I have not spoken since then. I've learned everyone has their own diagnosis of my granddaughter, and everyone has a "treatment plan." I'm the one paying her medical bills; I follow the plan of the professionals, and it does not include behavior control.

Nick said...

Joanne: It always astonishes me how many people like to weigh in with their own personal theories and fixes when someone is in trouble. Rather than just listen and observe and sympathise, they're convinced they have the "answer" to the problem. Usually their ignorance and incomprehension of the problem is staggering. I've had some pretty bizarre explanations of my own psychological hang-ups from people who really should know better.

I can quite understand your wanting to keep away from your former friend after her totally insensitive remark.

Dave Martin said...

Act your age? Sod that.
Be yourself? Definitely.

Nick said...

Dave: Ah, a man after my own heart. I hope you're ruffling plenty of feathers.

tammy j said...

here here!
or is it hear hear?
whichever...
i'm in total agreement!
and for joanne...
with friends like your former friend you don't need enemies!
i cannot believe she could be so uncaring. so absolutely rude.
and so TOTALLY out of line!
i say "good riddance to bad rubbish!"

Wisewebwoman said...

As if there's a manual. No clue what that means, except in some rigid, religious expectation of what people "should" do.

Pshaw.

XO
WWW

CheerfulMonk said...

My job now is to enjoy my second childhood even more than I enjoyed the first one. So by definition anything I do is acting my age. Problem solved.

Nick said...

Tammy: It's always a shock when someone you thought was a sensitive, considerate soul comes out with something quite heartless.

www: Religion has something to do with it, I think. You're expected to be modest and unassuming and not drawing attention to yourself. Quietly devotional and all that.

Nick said...

Jean: Glad you're relishing your second childhood! As long as you aren't throwing tantrums and chucking your breakfast on the floor....

Bijoux said...

Well, 50 is the new 30, or so I'm told.

Nick said...

Bijoux: In which case I must be the new 49. No wonder I'm full of the joys of spring.

mia more said...

Our direct neighbour is an old lady of 84 who owns a nice little house beside ours.She is still very busy. We invite her every week for lunch or dinner and she arrives always with vertiginous high heels and colorful modern dresses .I always make compliments (sincere ones) and she always replies oh my love I still feel like 20. Isn't this wonderful ? Why should she dress in dark colours and wear ugly shoes ?
Mia More

John Gray said...

I'm 54 and have just had a farting competition in which i came second

Nick said...

Mia: I quite agree. Is there any good reason why oldies should dress like boring old frumps? Not that I can think of. Vivienne Westwood has got the right idea!

Nick said...

John: That's the way to do it!

Hattie said...

We admire the qualities of youth and think highly of old people with youthful attitudes and don't like old people who are just old! Some days I'm sprightly and some days I'm an old fart!

Nick said...

Hattie: That's good that old people with youthful attitudes are appreciated and not ridiculed. In the UK there's altogether too much ridicule of those who "don't fit in" or don't toe the prevailing line.

Rummuser said...

What else can I do but act my age?

Nick said...

Ramana: But that still begs the question, what behaviour is appropriate for your age? And why?

kylie said...

Hey Nick,
You use photos that you pull from the internet, right?
I used to do that but blogger wont allow me to do it anymore unless it is marked for re-use, which nearly none of them are.
How do you get around that?

Nick said...

Kylie: I just save the photo I want onto my pc and then insert it on the post from my picture folder. The only ones I don't use are ones marked with brand names etc. None of my photos get blocked by Blogger.