Getting Old

Pee Zine issue 30 This is a reprint of my regular column in Pee Zine. This issue, find interviews with benton falls, the get up kids, said girl, park, strength within, madball and more including free stickers, vol. 2 of pee comp cd and a smallman records sampler!!

Wow; Pee Zine hits 30 today. How many years has it been? I have still got the first “ishoo” sitting on a shelf somewhere (I wasn’t joking when I wrote the column about having difficulty throwing things out). Most zines are so transitory that their life-span should be measured like dog years – this makes Pee about 273. If there was an old-folks home for magazines, it would probably be skateboarding down the corridors and keeping the other magazines awake with loud music…kind of how I imagine Iggy Pop lives.

I had a “you’re getting old” moment myself on the weekend. I met my girlfriend’s friend’s boyfriend (can you follow that?) for the first time. He’s five years younger than me, shy, bright, hasn’t quite learnt how to brush his hair or dress himself yet, and has a wide-eyed innocent look, like a Hobbit…just before you run it over with your car. “Help me Gandalf!”

So, basically, he’s just like I was at his age. I’ve never been so glad I wasn’t nineteen anymore. It’s no fun being powerless or clueless or poor. High school nostalgia is for people who haven’t done anything since.

It’s funny how people deal with aging. I was clearing the desk of a recently departed co-worker when I came across some old containers of anti-aging formula with some vaguely scientific mumbo-jumbo on the container. Bovine placenta with hydrating anti-oxidant pheromones (or something) is the sort of product where you don’t know if you’re going to need gloves to dispose of it in a sealed hazardous waste container or if it is comprised mainly of H2O with no active ingredients.

I was hardly surprised; she surfed cosmetic surgery websites at lunchtime and had that peeled, nipped, tucked, lifted and botoxed look. Other co-workers put her age at early thirties. She had a sister with children who were my age; so my money said that she was closer to her mid-forties.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being obsessive about “fighting the signs of aging”, well no more wrong than being obsessive about sport or music or the lives of celebrities (Relativism is great). In fact, in a world that has a tendency to value women on their looks, and where youth equals beauty, it probably made sense for her to treat her career like a hobby to fit in around long lunches and trips to the gym.

It’s a little strange that the cultural standards that define the ages men and women are considered most attractive are completely opposite to the ages that biology tells us are their sexual primes. Guys hit their sexual prime in their late teens (sexual prime being defined as quickest recovery time between orgasm), while women are at their most orgasmic in their mid-thirties. Hollywood has some warped values. Richard “the butt plug stops the gerbil escaping!” Gere, is in his mid fifties and is still considered a sex symbol; yet his ex-wife Cindy Crawford, who is still under forty, is considered over the hill.

With bizarre media double standards like this, is it any wonder that shows like A Current Affair love to fan the flames of inter-generational conflict with stories about evil dole-bludging young people who have no respect for their elders?

It would take a smart-arsed young whipper-snapper to point out that any charges laid against the young could just as easily be applied to their grandparents. They wear funny clothes – check. They listen to strange music – check. They take lots of drugs – check (have a look inside your grandma’s medicine cabinet one day). They don’t work – check (is pension day any different from Youth Allowance payment day?).

Having so much in common should be enough to enable anyone to hurdle the Generation gap, put Glen Miller on the CD changer alongside Slayer’s Raining Blood, and break out the bucket bong…or the Bex powder.

Roger Daultrey from The Who may have sung “I hope I die before I get old” in the sixties, but he’s still singing it in his sixties. Obviously getting old can’t be all that bad. Personally, I can’t wait to get really old – people expect you to be a cantankerous bastard which, coincidentally, is a perfect fit for my personality. Besides, I didn’t get a whole lot of benefit out of being in my sexual prime at seventeen.

If you want me, I’ll be the one putting soap powder in the fountain of youth.

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