Friday, June 29, 2007

Age Check! -- Jay

It’s not funny anymore. I’ve had it. “It’s just the way things are” is not an excuse anymore. Maybe it’s because my wife and I are watching our niece and nephew this week, but I’m really concerned about the message women send when they refuse to tell their age.

On a recent trip to The Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville (fun for the whole family!), it came time for the traditional birthday shout-out. People raised their hands and, one by one, the M.C. called on them. His questions were the same for everyone. “What’s your name?” “How old are you?” But one woman (I’m guessing late-thirties), could not spit out her age. She was blushing and giggling and hemming and hawing. Someone finally shouted, “Move on!” Immediately, a woman who hadn’t originally raised her hand, raised her hand. She said her name. She said her age. Then she said that it wasn’t her birthday, but her daughter was with her and she wanted to set a good example.

My hero!

I’ve read the “Don’t ask a woman how old she is” crap in several books. It’s always presented as a joke, but hearing it so often must leave an impression on the readers. And if we don’t need to reinforce those ideas in our books, then why do we? Don’t we have a responsibility as authors for children and teens not to perpetuate these ridiculous insecurities?

No. I don’t think it is our responsibility. Writing is an art, and we only have a responsibility to our art.

But, like finding stereotyped characters in a book, it’s often the sign of a lazy writer. Be interesting! Say something in a unique way! And besides, in my opinion, a woman who’s confident enough to tell her age…no matter what her age…is hot!

So, what about you? Are you hot? Prove it! Tell me your age. Cuz if you do, there’s something I wanna tell ya…

- Jay

Ellory (8), Jay (31), Genevieve (11), JoanMarie (30…and proud of it!)
At Farmer’s Market, we got some cool body art. They each picked their own designs. Then my nephew whispered into the artist’s ear the design to paint on my face…a heart.


Rilla said...

Hey Jay,
I have a birthday coming up -- the 26th of July...and I'll be 44. I've always loved the age I'm at, but then I had a great example. My mom. Curiously, Dad stopped aging at 75. It became embarrassing for him when all of a sudden Mom overtook him. People's eyebrows would shoot up...I thought you were the younger one they'd which she'd reply...I am... but obvioulsy, on that front at least, wiser...Of course the reason my dad suddenly stopped aging is an even longer tale, that involves train journeys, fortune tellers and shells ;) But you don't want to hear it.

However, it is difficult to blame women for trying not to age when men make such a fuss over younger women...don't you think men need to grow up too?

Anne Marie said...

I'm 41!

Sara said...

Ha, Anne Marie, I have you beat. I'm 44.

Jules, where are you? You love birthdays! I quote from her: "And I’m one of those women who looks forward to getting older. I was telling strangers on the street when I turned 30, five years ago. I was excited." (That's jules from 7-Imp)

heidi said...

I'm 35 (and never lie about it--unless i forget--sometimes i'm like, uh---struggling to remember!)

people often mistake me for way younger because i'm so immature. =9

Colleen Cook said...

I'm 40, baby!!!!!

Colorado Writer said...

37 (almost 38), but forever 29!

Jay, look at you with that heart on.


Disco Mermaids said...

Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here? Whew!

As far as the men, I think it's more harmful to the confidence of our young female readers when older women (their role models) freely express embarrassment about their age. Not to discount the fusses of men...but I can only solve one societal problem at a time!

Besides, I'm in my early thirties...and I'm making a fuss out of six (so far) older women right now!!!

- Jay

heidi said...

that's VERY sweet, jay!!
i'm sure your wife will be eternally grateful for your wonderful philosophy. you and ashton kutchers that is. =9

Linda D. (sbk) said...

I'm 37 - almost 38! I loved turning 30. It was my husband who had the nervous breakdown when he hit 30. He just turned 40 last year and he was far more graceful about it. He's learning.

haha!! you know the word verification we have to do before we post comments? Yeah, mine says "yolde" with the "old" part raised above the other letters - funny that it should use those letters when I'm posting my age. ggrrr... nope. Doesn't bother me. Nope.

LindaBudz said...

I'm 40. I've never lied about it. And I love to watch people's reactions when I introduce my 25-year-old stepdaughter as my daughter.


Heather Brewer said...

TAG! You're it! (this means all three of you!) See my blog for details :)=

Heather Brewer said...

Oh...and I'm 33.

Disco Mermaids said...

While I was reading the last few comments, I just happened to be holding a corncob...and the kernels actually started popping! That's how hot things are getting.

- Jay

P.S. Nice save, Heather.

debi in holland said...

Loved turning 30-- it was a real strange thing to me. It was like suddenly hitting this "old" age, but not feeling the least bit old.

Forty was good, too, but then I got pregnant. Spent most of my year as 40 getting fatter and fatter!

Now, I'm 43 and still nursing a 2-1/2 year old!

(And just for the record, my grandmother was 40 when I was born, so I keep thinking it's strange to have such a young 'un myself.)

Kelly Fineman said...

43 -- and looking forward to meeting you in LA.

Don Tate II said...

Jay I agree. That's never made any sense to me either. Keeping your age to yourself doesn't make you any younger. Now, my age. None of your business.

Kidding, 42, 43, 44. Somewhere in there.

Disco Mermaids said...

Okay, things are getting a little outta hand now. I have a thermometer on my desk, and whenever I slide it towards the monitor, the mercury starts to boil!

- Jay

(Don, thanks for sharing...but Fuse #8 already certified you as hot!)

Rilla said...

Hey Jay,
Love being fussed over by an early thirty year old ;)

Anonymous said...

OH WOW, so far, I am the oldest!!
everyone knows~~~
I AM 46!!!!!!!!!!

I often forget my age. I told people I was 46 last year! So, I guess I missed 45! Oh well, 46 for 2 years has been great!! (47 in November!!!)

~~~ Laura
the clay lady!

Dot said...

I, the Mighty Dotificus, am a venerable and powerful FORTY-FIVE years old.

Quail before me, whippersnappers!

Except Laura, of course. Who quails before no one.

I have to add, though that in spite of agreeing with you, I also find myself influenced by our culture's superficial attitudes. When people think I look younger than my age, I get a little glow. And then I get annoyed with myself-- "I thought you didn't buy into younger being better! Why do you want to look young?"

It's complexicated.

Disco Mermaids said...

Well, you already know how old I am, but I can't wait to see what other scenario you can come up with for extreme hotness.

I am about three beers shy of turning 37.

So you better not forget my birthday!!


Disco Mermaids said...

Okay, Laura, spill your secrets. How do you keep that clay from melting with so much hotness around?

Dot, I'm quailing. I'm quailing!

Robin...get real. You're a Disco Mermaid. I cannot allow myself to start thinking of you or Eve that way.

Of course, now I am. Damn you!

The cone of a volcano just broke through the floor of my house, spilling its hot lava everywhere...

- Jay

cynjay said...

I'm 40 3/4.

As I told the gals, I started referring to myself as 40 about six months before it actually happened so it wouldn't be such a shock.

Becky Levine said...

Another 45. And I tell you, it's a heck of a lot better decade than any of the previous ones. Somewhere about 40, that stupid 16-year-old in me, who cared so much about what other people thought, just--POOF!--vanished! Yes, sure, some of the "signs of aging" are a pain--the minor injuries that never quite heal, the skin that looks WAY older than I feel, the realization that all college athletes are more than HALF my age!

But...I wouldn't trade any of it to get back that hyper self-consciousness and fear that limited me in so many ways.

Here's to middle-age; I'm sure I'll enjoy it when I get there!

Disco Mermaids said...

Okay, this is starting to get ridiculous. I have to keep my laptop sandwiched between bags of ice with three fans aimed directly at it so it doesn't start overheating whenever I check this blog.

To quote the 80's poet, Buster Poindexter: How you feelin'?

Hot, hot, hot!!!

- Jay

a. fortis said...

Hee! You're crackin' me up!

I just turned 30 a few months ago and I LOVE telling my age--I look younger than I am so the shock value (at least for now) is quite amusing.

LindaBudz said...

a. fortis, judging from your avatar, you DO look a lot younger than 30!

tammi said...

I'm a 34-year-old cradle-robber. DH is 4 months my junior.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jay. I just had a milestone birthday! Turned 60 last week. Wow. And loving it. Age is very liberating. Of course that's my chronlogical age, my real age is 13, and somedays it's 5, 12, 32, or 2. That's the cool thing about getting older--you get to be any age you want! And you know what's even better! My 36 year old son and family are visiting and he has a long, gray beard!!! Cool when your kids look older than you.
Cynthia Bates
PS. Did Eve or Robin give away their ages?

Disco Mermaids said...

Hey, Cynthia!

I gave my age. (almost 37...woohoo!)

For some reason, Eve seems to be at an undisclosed location right now.


Anonymous said...

Oh Robin, You're just a chick! In more ways than one. I can say that because I'm 60. And female. And cool, but not as cool as you.


PS Can't believe I got a message posted! You must gain a few important brain cells when you turn 60. Like cutting wisdom teeth only better.

Disco Mermaids said...

To have such a steady flow of confident women commenting on this post has left me a little weak-kneed. I'm now gonna back away from this blog for a few days in order to cool down.

Honestly, every one of you inspires me.

And even more honestly...y'all set the blogoshphere on fire with your hotness!

- Jay

Natalie said...

Sorry I'm late to the party...but I'll chime in. I'll be the big 4-0 next month! I didn't mind turning 30, but I have to admit that this one is a little difficult to swallow. Not because I'm afraid of looking older, but I guess just because it's a reminder that time'a tickin'...but it's also a reminder to make the best of whatever we have left!

Gypsy said...

Ooo, me, me! I'm 36!
That kid, he loves you, man. They both do. But especially, someone who tears up when he asks if there's a dictionary in the house has got a special spot in Ellory-land.

Sarah Darer Littman said...

I'm 44. And feel better than when I was 34.

Count me as a firm believe in the "Life begins at 40" concept.

Disco Mermaids said...

I'm 31 years old. I thought I was too young to experience hot flashes.

In fact, I don't think I'm supposed to experience them at all!

What's with you people and all your hotness? Even my sister-in-law's jumping in on the action!

- Jay

alvina said...

I love this post! I'll be 33 on July 16th. I'm often mistaken for MUCH younger--last month someone thought I may be younger than 18, even. I found that insulting, actually. But I know I'll be flattered when I'm 80 and people think I'm 50.

Sara Z. said...

GREAT post! That's always bugged me, too, though I couldn't figure out why.

I'm 36, but regularly forget my actual age and tend to tack a year on. 37 rolls off the tongue so nicely! I've never had a problem telling my age. (though, like Alvina, I often get mistaken for under 21, which actually really annoys me)