Are We Old Yet?Posted: February 9, 2012
As I was standing in the college food court waiting for my lunch last week, a very fit and pretty female student sauntered in wearing really tight skinny jeans. They were so tight my first thought was that her legs looked like they’d been shrink-wrapped. However, the young male students standing next to me had very different thoughts about those jeans.
“She looks hot!” the one guy said to his friend.
“No, she looks like she has a yeast infection,” I thought to myself, How can you wear jeans that tight in the crotch and not have one?
It would be good if my mind just stopped right there with that thought, but it didn’t.
Because then I imagined that the young woman and her young male admirer started talking, which led to them dating, which led to them in bed together, and then I wondered at what point during their sexual foreplay would the young woman stop the action and sheepishly tell the young man, “Actually I can’t go all the way. Sorry but I’ve got a yeast infection.”
And I imagine the young guy saying, “Oh, okay, no problem. “ And I imagine her giving a big sigh of relief and saying, “Thanks for understanding.”
And then I imagine him saying in an offhand way, “Actually, I kind of thought you might have one because I saw that your jeans are Guess. I don’t know why but it seems like girls who wear Guess skinny jeans get more yeast infections than girls who wear Lucky Brand. At least that’s what I heard. But hey, not to worry: I know a website where you can get Monistat at 40% off!”
This is the sort of thing that I think young people are capable of knowing today – not even necessarily because of Google. And it’s also the way I think they might talk. But if a young person ever read what I just wrote here, they would undoubtedly think I was out of my cotton-picking mind.
The only thing this scenario proves is that my imagination is the most limber part of my body these days. It is far more agile than my knees, which make cracking sounds like I’ve broken them every time I bend down to pick up something. As my friend Mike says, “Every year the floor gets farther and farther away.”
But for the first time ever, I’m beginning to feel like I’m farther away from the shore of youth. Sometimes I feel like I’m watching young people from a distance, even when I’m standing right next to them. Not the ones I know well, but strangers. And I spend a lot of time with young people so how could this be happening?
The reverse is also true, as it turns out. Young people are beginning to perceive me as kind of old.
My niece celebrated her 25th birthday in a craft-beer bar and she invited my husband and I to her party so hey, we went.
Wow! The young people treated us like rock stars in that craft-beer bar – because we were the oldest people in there. When young strangers are that generously friendly to meet and talk to you, the subtext is, “You’re as old as my Mom and I’m going to be nice to you!” It was as if two telephone booths had shown up at their party.
After an hour or so, though, our allure seemed to have faded with the young people, although I do understand why. Both my husband and I have lost our “hearing in a crowded bar” ears. You can only yell, “WHAT?” 23 times in a conversation before the young person decides you’re just too damn much work to talk to, even if you are potentially interesting. We were left alone smiling at each other and trying to communicate our thoughts on the economy and the Republican primary via facial expressions – which isn’t easy, believe me. So we decided to leave while the young people still thought of us as “so cute!” and not total whacko’s.
But just as we used to do thirty years ago after a night out at a bar, we stopped at In ‘N Out Burger on our way home. I guess we’re not old yet – we’re just older. Whew! Identity crisis temporarily diverted.