Stages of Aging (A Somewhat Fractured Version of the American Dream)
Infancy: The world revolves around you. Everyone LOVES your baby fat. You can shit in your pants, vomit on people’s clothing, belch in their faces, poop in the tub, drool, make funny faces with your toothless mouth and people adore you for it. If you demand a tit, nobody thinks anything of it. In fact, a nice big juicy one tends to appear immediately. What a deal.
By the way, for those of you who have trouble with the word “tits,” let’s be fair. It sounds like something I’d keep in my pantry between the Wheat Thins and the Ritz crackers. In fact, depending on your perspective, they are rather edible. Along with motherfucker, cocksucker, cunt, piss, fuck and shit, before HBO came along, these were the words you could NEVER say on television. My how things have changed. It’s just a word. You assign the meanings to them. I happen to find the term funny. If the term offends you I recommend reading a different article.
Pre-adolescence. You’re really, really annoying, but because America is infatuated with pre-teens, you’re actually adored. Maybe not by your parents and siblings so much, but by society. Just because you’re young, unwrinkled, and still have some level of innocence (or not). Besides, you’re a budding consumer, which of course is far, far more important.
Tits become utterly fascinating. However if you demand one, you’re likely to get backhanded. At some point, you gotta let this go. But you won’t. If you’re a girl, this isn’t a problem- except that you’re focused on your own lack of same. Boys, on the other hand, as soon as the “girls” are off limits, are forever fascinated.
Teens: Far too many movies are made with you in mind, because the entire country wants to relive high school in order to get even with all the bullies, brat girls and Those Who Wouldn’t Go Out With Them. Which simply goes to show that famous and upcoming Hollywood directors are just as stuck in their angst-ridden past as the rest of us. You don’t know it now but you’re going to get the opportunity to re-live your most awful years by returning for high school reunions the rest of your life just so that you can remember the shittiest events of your puberty. BTW if you still have your baby fat, everyone HATES it.
Somehow your parents’ IQs have collectively dropped by forty points and absolutely everyone around you is SOOOOOOOO stupid. Sex is fascinating, clumsy, awesome, mysterious, and taboo, which of course is precisely why you do it. As well as booze and drugs. Now that marijuana is largely legit, you turn to far more dangerous substances. Because they’re illicit. Besides, if you demand a tit when your GF is in a stupor, you might just get one. If you’re a girl, that photo of you with your shirt off dancing on the table? Epic. For all the wrong reasons.
Twenties: For women, the last time you get to enjoy Life Without Cellulite. For men, enjoy it now, because midway through this decade your body decides to start deteriorating. Sucks. Best time to experiment with Jobs I Hate That Have Nothing to do With my College Degree. Graduate with 100k in college debt. Marriage can wait. Kids can wait. Who the hell can afford either? Live six to a house in an overpriced rental, drink and party all night, drag into work. Get fired a few times. Post more really stupid shit on Facebook that gets discussed at your next job interview. What, people really look that stuff up?
If you demand a tit, you might just get one without the attendant stupor. If you’re a woman, you get to find out just how powerful booze can be in terms of deflating The Mighty Sword.
Thirties: When you think you’re an adult but are still in deep denial that you’re not 20 any more. Exercise is a pipe dream. Still got baby fat? EVERYBODY HATES IT. Especially you. Eke out a living trying to balance your college debt with your living expenses. You begin to acquire toys that you will eventually dump at next year’s garage sale. Your parents regain a modicum of intelligence- especially if you’ve decided to have children by now. You attend your first high school reunion and spend most of your time trying to prove how much better you are than the popular crowd.
If you demand a tit, “It’s for the baby.”
Women, well, you know.
Forties: The age you said you’d never make it to when you were a teenager. Saddled with a mortgage/college debt/car payment/private school tuition, you can barely afford your weekly latte at Starbucks. Your expanding waistline/rear is appalling. You spend up to 14 hours a day sitting down. At some deep level you know you’re getting older but you’re still in deep denial, which is why you still won’t start an exercise program. After all, you’re only in your forties. What’s the worst that can happen? Well, your baby fat has been propagating like kudzu. Nobody but nobody loves it any more. Especially your spouse/partner.
If you demand a tit, (depending on who you ask) you might get sued. If you’re a woman, you might notice that the hubby’s gear shift has been disappearing under several layers lately.
Fifties: You find out the worst that can happen. The kids develop behavioral problems (what you really can’t stand is that they’re just like you when you were a kid). Worse, they’re still living at home. This is the decade you’re going to get in shape, by God. Only the body rebels. After three decades of denial it shrieks WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? You wholeheartedly agree and give up. When you go to your high school reunion, you ARE one of those fat, balding people that you can’t believe you see. Your parents are now relatively brilliant. How did they know…?
If you’re now divorced and are on dating sites, you realize to your genuine dismay that your taste in the opposite sex isn’t exactly reciprocated. What appeals to you these days (because you’re still thinking you’re in your twenties and thirties) is looking at profiles two decades younger than you. If anything, your friends are pushing you to go join OurTime.com which is for oldies.
After all, it’s your music they’re playing in all the elevators. You’re old enough to buy stuff you never previously afford, but not young enough to get laid. Besides, these days you need a little pharmaceutical assistance in that regard.
The phrase “use it or lose it” has vastly more meaning these days. You’re terrified to demand a tit. They fade into memory.
Your wife/spouse/partner decides to radically change her life. She joins a health club/gets a senior management job/decides she prefers women.
Maybe you decide you prefer men.
You nearly have a heart attack the day you get your invitation to join AARP.
Speaking of pharmaceutical assistance, if in fact your teens/twenties youthful exuberance included a great deal of pharmaceutical experimentation, this is right about the time you really begin to enjoy flashbacks. Your doctor (bless his heart) gives you MORE pharma products to deal with that.
Sixties: “This goddamned new generation is worthless,” you say over your acres of baby fat. No respect for their elders. The pharmaceuticals are working because by now you’ve no recollection of what an asshole you were at the same age. You wear your shirts untucked to cover your belly. For women, caftans become your best friend. Yet six months before your next high school reunion you engage in a starvation diet to regain a waistline. You consider a Kardashian corset. By this point some of your friends have departed, but you are still young, by God. You’d go out and try running again but the World Cup is on, and besides….it hurts too much to exert yourself.
You complain about everything from the changing world to the way nobody respects older people (you’ve finally realized that indeed, you are older, but you will NOT own the world “old”). You begrudgingly realize that it might finally be time to start eating a more reasonable diet. It occurs to you that all the rock stars from your youth are dying off in droves. They were supposed to live forever on a diet of Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll. Apparently pounding down bowls of broccoli after you fried your guts and brains isn’t a panacea. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_2010s_deaths_in_rock_and_roll). Your priorities are a proper bowel movement and finding your goddamned glasses (they’re on your head, Mom). About that diet, where the hell did I put those Lay’s chips?
This is the decade that our bodies begin to change sex. In nature, this is called a Protandrous hermaphrodite. I call it unrelentingly unfair. Women grow mustaches and nose hair. Men develop breasts. You don’t need to demand a tit, all you have to do is grab your own chest.
Conversations around clothing center around how to cover shit up rather than show it off. Especially that bubble butt from Depends.
Some women develop balls. Suddenly they don’t take anyone’s shit anymore.
Huh. So that’s where yours disappeared.
Seventies: Walking into a room and being clueless as to why is a daily habit. Suddenly we’ve gone vegan. Swear off booze. View fifty-year-olds as kids. We wonder vaguely how many people are going to make it to the reunion and then ask ourselves, “Now what was I just thinking?”
Sex is a rather distant memory. In fact if you get any at all, you’re not only deeply grateful, you’re also a lot less picky. If anything you worry more about expiring right in the middle of it rather than the size of your partner’s…besides if you get it over with quickly enough you can get back to the game.
If you demand a tit you might not necessarily recognize it as such. Everything seems so deflated these days. Which is the same thing your partner is thinking about The Mighty Sword.
“ Is that all you saved for our retirement?”
Eighties: Your damned kids- who have no respect- are trying to trundle you off to the old folks’ home. They claim the neighbors are complaining that you wander around in the back yard in our undies singing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” in the middle of July. You’re constantly demanding tits from anyone who will listen. You terrify small children because you’re becoming one again yourself. Your wife, who got into bodybuilding twelve years ago, left you for a guy in his sixties. She got implants. She has terrific tits again, but now you can’t play with them anymore.
The best part about this decade is that people are always happy to let you sleep (it keeps you out of trouble). All you have to do is complain that you’re tired and you can go to bed even if it’s 7:30 in the morning. You can scare the crap out of your adult kids by saying insane things at the dinner table such as “Who the HELL are you and where did you put my Zamboni???” You can get nearly anyone to carry anything for you. “Here, would you mind picking up this brand new dishwasher for me? I can’t lift it. That’s a good young man. My house is twelve blocks this way.”
If you’re a woman, and you’re particularly busty, your tits puddle in your lap. Great hand warmers.
Nineties +: You drool. Vomit on people’s clothing. Shit your pants. Belch in their faces. Poop in the tub. Make funny faces with your toothless mouth. People don’t think it’s cute. You suck your thumb in sweet memory of tits. People talk to you as though you’re an infant.
Because you are. Welcome back.