Age-Appropriate: Thoughts Of A MAB (Middle Aged Blogger)

Being at “that age” where I have started to worry about such things, I always read with great interest any post about age-appropriate dressing. (Samples here and here.) My feeling, of late, has been sort of like Justice Potter Stewart’s 1964 explanation of “obscenity” for the Supreme Court – I can’t tell you exactly what is NOT age-appropriate, but “I know it when I see it . . . ”

Lately if I wear anything too sweet, too ingenue, or too trendy, it just feels wrong. I’ve conceded that I probably shouldn’t be shopping in stores where the music makes my ears bleed (those crazy kids and their rock and roll) or any store that carries size “0 negative” (interesting blood type, alarming clothing size.) If an article of clothing has three zippers and six pockets, I probably shouldn’t wear it. I can’t tell you why – I just feel it.

Everyone has their own ideas about what’s age-appropriate, and at what age it kicks in, and whether women (and for that matter, men) should bow to any kind of societal pressure to dress a certain way, or to stop dressing a certain way, based solely on number of years lived. Part of me agrees that we should all be free to dress however the hell we want. Another part of me doesn’t want to see a 50 year old woman in a bedazzled bustier and a mini skirt. Is this judgmental? Maybe I should just say I don’t want to see ME in a bedazzled bustier and a mini-skirt and leave it at that.

As I was pondering this whole “age-appropriate” thing, I started to wonder about other age-appropriate issues. For instance – language. I will often write a post using current slang in a desperate attempt to sound cool an attempt to capture the tone of today’s pop culture. I’m a writer, and when I’m writing for certain clients, I have to appeal to their particular audience, which is often a younger demographic. Hence, I try to keep up with what’s cool. Or dope. Or buck (in the Lil’ C sense of the word.) That’s just part of my job, yo. But what about my own posts? Why, at my age, do I feel the need to sound like an ironic twenty-two year old? I stopped wearing ironic t-shirts from CafePress years ago, yet my language is still peppered with whatever slang I just stole from my teen-age niece’s Facebook page.

Is this my way of hanging on to “relevance?” As if sounding intelligent and thoughtful makes me somehow not relevant? (Lame.) Our society reveres youth, and if you’re on the interwebs it’s impossible to escape the rip tide of pop culture. But just because everyone else is doing it, should I? If all my friends were jumping off a bridge, would I? I may have to sound like the shiznit when I’m up for a job writing for a trendy client, but does this eternal search for linguistic youth make me pathetic when I write my own stuff?

What about you, my fellow MABs? Are there other areas, aside from clothing, where you feel you’re trying to hang on to “youth?” Do u text rlly good? Dream about gettin’ with James Pattinson? Do you rock out to Kings of Leon in the car? Are these behaviors okay or nay? Hit me up with your thoughts, aight?


8 Comments on “Age-Appropriate: Thoughts Of A MAB (Middle Aged Blogger)”

  1. I wouldn’t wear anything that read as young. I would rather go naked and I assure you that is a HORRIBLE option. But, yes, I do have a bit of a cougar crush on James.

  2. Imogen says:

    Before I joined up for Facebook I felt I was too old, and it was all my younger friends who kept pestering me to join, finally I gave in. I’m definitely too old for My Space.

    I think part of the reason for Age Appropriate dressing is that as the body goes south some things are better left a mystery. Mind you age appropriate is also about not being old too – it’s a fine balance.

    Thanks also for explaining what ‘buck’ means.

    I heard a radio DJ the other day say to a celebrity interview something on the lines of “when xx happened were you spewing?” and that took me right back 25+ years and made me feel old.

  3. Tara Zucker says:

    Imogen – I know what you mean about Facebook. I think my nieces are horrified that their parents and other relatives (like me) are on there. I’m still “old fashioned” enough to want to keep a lot of my life private. Except for the blog, of course, but that’s “writing.” Or so I tell myself!

  4. deja pseu says:

    I don’t even try to use current slang anymore, as I can’t keep up. Many of my co-workers are quite a bit younger, and I think it’s better to be seen as maybe a bit less “fly” (I know, that’s an oldie) than like someone trying to hard to be hip.


  5. Tara Zucker says:

    Deja – I really admire your attitude. I don’t know if it’s the same everywhere, but in LA, there is such an emphasis on being “hip.” It’s exhausting!

  6. Mel Ryane says:

    I loved your Blanche stories, especially. And your funny take on age, clothes and chocolate stuff.

  7. karen says:

    Pwoned! (Do u know that one???)Tara, there are so many articles out there right now on this topic–Yep, it sounds like we’re not supposed to “sound” old when we write, speak or blog. We’re not supposed to leave “messages” on answering machines either, you know. Twenty-four-year-old Megan McCain was on Bill Maher last night, and you could just see her struggling to keep up with the other guests–It goes both ways–It was just as hard for her to “age up” as it is for us to “age down.”

    Can’t listen to “Sex on Fire” in the car with a bunch of kids–I guess flipping stations around looking for clean music makes me old, too.

    I think you’re on the right track; speak and write for the audience you serve. Fo Schnizzle, Powner.

  8. Jenny says:

    It is the duty of all middle-aged people (we don’t complain, we don’t explain)to be inscrutable about the pleasures of middle aged life. My age-appropriate thoughts are…..well, it’s a secret.

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