I’m 53 now, but I’m not old, right? I mean I’m sore. So sore. But I’m still young inside, right?
Okay, my knees are shot. My back is shot. My hip is shot. I’m also a bit overweight. Like a bit of a grown man overweight. And maybe another bit of a grown man. Then several other bits thrown in for good measure. The difficulty in climbing a flight of stairs is exceeded only by the impossibility of coming back down again. Knees, you see. And did I mention I’m sore?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sore all over. Some parts of me are not sore at all. Those parts, however, have their own sets of problems. If they’re not a bit wrinkly, then they’re dangling down. Or occasionally leaking a bit when I sneeze.
I’ve just ordered my first pair of varifocal lenses.
But I’m still young, inside, right? Young and vibrant and a bit rebellious. Fully accepting of the differences in others. Why does it matter who someone else wants to love, kiss, worship? I still strongly believe that we should all be free to be the person we are. The person that makes us happiest. As long as that person isn’t a serial killer, or a child molester. Or a banker. See? Young. Rebellious. Free-thinking.
I’ve been working a long time now. 36 years. Wow! Retirement is snapping at my heels. How did that happen? I’ve progressed my career the old-fashioned way: get a job, work hard, learn as much as you can, develop a range of skills, experience, and when you’re ready, take a step up. Rinse and repeat. Here I am now, 53 and ready for one final promotion before I retire. Finally I have the experience, knowledge, maturity, confidence and, yes I’ll say it, gravitas, for that one final step … and I keep getting pipped to the post by sparkly young 20-somethings full of energy, enthusiasm, confidence … and no pain. Maybe some of them are 30-something. They all look the same: young.
Those 20-somethings, they’re fantastic, aren’t they? All educated and fully polished. Full of confidence. High-paced. Articulate. Well I suppose they must be, but they’re terribly distracting. I’ll be in a meeting with one and I’ll be mentally buttoning up their blouses, or tugging their skirts down to an acceptable “fingertip length”. Or be overly enthralled with their perfect make-up and wondering if that’s the daytime look, what the hell are they doing for a night on the town! ‘Cause I’m still young inside, right?
That’s mostly with the girl-style 20-somethings. We mostly have girl-style where I am. Got to do something about that gender imbalance my generation fought against for so long! You’re welcome.
And then they leave for the day, and I’m so young and hip I’ll casually call out “Button up your coat against that cold!” Or if it’s a weekend “Don’t forget now! Alcohol is a poison!” Nope, not old in the least.
But I digress. I do that a lot. I know I do it, because the shiny bright eyes of the 20-somethings glaze over and the mutterings begin: “rambling on again”, “yeah, yeah, the good old days”. Nothing bloody wrong with my ears!
Which in a roundabout way brings me to my original question: Am I too old for Madonna? No! Surely not! I’m young and rebellious inside, right!
Well let’s imagine …
Picture my house, late on a Saturday night a week or so back. No, no, forget you don’t know what my house looks like! Trust me – it’s pretty cool. Modern, bright, expensively furnished. I’m 53. I have a good job. I have grown up kids. I can afford nice things!
So it’s getting late. Mr Patrick and I are thinking about retiring for the evening. He’s reaching for the TV remote when the announcer grabs our attention: Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour, coming on now, may contain offensive content.
Madonna! She’s one of ours. We grew up with Madonna. We know the words to lots of her songs. We can sing along! We can get up off the couch and VOGUE! Offensive content be damned! We know the words to Papa Don’t Preach, and Like a Virgin. We remember the outcry around the video for Like a Prayer. Only an old fuddy-duddy would be offended. Turn up the volume!
And then there she was, almost in the room with us, 60 years old and looking absolutely glorious. Half naked, slim, toned and beautifully made up. Looking like a very well-kept 40 year old. Must have a 20-something make-up artist. I was jealous af! She pranced round that stage, jutting a hip here, dipping a knee there, getting lifted sky high by a single man! JEALOUS!
Then I started to watch a little more closely. Yes she looked great, but she’s not quite as toned as she was. She’s lost that sinewy look (totally undignified anyway for a 60-something) along with her waist-line. And yes, she was definitely moving a little bit stiffly, and quite a bit less than she used to. In fact, she was using her huge and spectacular dance troupe to distract from the fact that she wasn’t doing an awful lot of dancing at all! Then there were all those carefully timed costume changes, and the bits where she sits down and flirts seductively with the dancers and audience while she catches a second wind.
I was completely mollified. I’m not too old for Madonna. Because she’s just as old as me, but hiding it better. We’re both young and rebellious inside!
But wait! What’s that? Why is there a person dancing with their boobs out? How is that allowed? Aren’t there public decency laws about that? Why are they bringing those beds on stage? Are those couples simulating sex on stage! Hang on? What’s that lyric saying? Why is she swearing at the audience? That’s just undignified …. Oh, this is too much!
Turns out, guys, I’m officially too old for Madonna. But on the other hand, she still can’t act.
Don’t forget to button your coat, and remember: alcohol is a poison.