I have to address this, even though it isn’t specifically about writing, at least not on the surface, because I keep having the same conversation with my friends over and over again. It seems to be the general consensus among the ladies that something strange and a little scary is happening to us: we’re getting old. We’re sort of youngish, I guess, but also, we feel a little dumb in da club, and this is an awkward transition.
Last year for my birthday three girlfriends, two of my cousins and I went to Tenjune in Manhattan, which was a super trendy club (I say was because it’s probably already out of vogue). Thanks to a friend, we got on the list, so we didn’t have to stand in the line like cattle as our clothes and asses were assessed. It was fashion week, and everyone was just too fabulous. I, of course, was in jeans, and having one of those moments where I felt like I just couldn’t get it together. All of us had decided, in a misguided attempt to cram as much into the day as possible, to get facials mere hours before, so add to our aging skin an epidermal assault and you get the idea.
Still, I was fine with not being one of the overly decked. “Enough ladies,” my cousin Alex (giving me a squeeze below) said to a couple of absurdly accessorized girls waiting in line to get in. And really, I love New York, and I love clothes, but sometimes, it really is enough.
Once in, we had a great time. We danced and got rubbed on by a slew of Chuck Bass look-alikes, visible in the background of the above picture, (apparently uberpreppie was in and my type-potentially a criminal, but probably just a musician-was out), thereby proving that we were, at worst, of the dreaded cougar variety.
Even though I was having fun, I couldn’t shake the feeling of being old, too old for that place, anyway. The final straw came at 2 am, when a 22-year-old overpriviledged prat (I know this because it cost 1000 to get a table, which he was lording over like a pasha) started shoving girls’ heads together trying to get them to make out with each other, which they did. He also tried to give me a drink, nodding and gyrating all the while, which my cousin Elena shoved away, assuming it was dosed with something. Imagine being roofied for the first time at my age.
It wasn’t so much what he was doing that bothered me, but the fact that I wanted to grab him by his ear and give him a mommy lecture about respecting women. It hit me hard that night that something had changed. I was finally a grown-up. I had crossed over into a new demographic.
You can say it’s about time. I’ll give you that. I already said I’m a late bloomer. I really would have enjoyed finding another degenerate boy and shoving their faces together, but I thought that might be frowned upon, so I finished up the night dancing my ass off, the knowledge that I had vaulted over the threshold into adulthood snug in my pocket.
Those girls in the club might have been 21. Maybe (click here to see an article I found about how Tenjune is currently under investigation for underage drinking). The poor babies were all vying to have pictures taken, grinding against each other and making duck face at the camera. Their pictures would be tweeted and facebooked to the world before they even had a chance to recover from puking all night. Thank God there were no social networks when I was a teenager. Just, thank God, okay?
Maybe that’s why I love writing for teenagers so much. There’s such a specific thing going on, and so many people get stuck there. When you’re young you’re so stupid, and smart in ways grown ups forget how to be, and you feel weird all the time. There are literally a never-ending supply of emotional and social quandaries to explore. When you add to that, if you are of the self-aware sort, that you are also discovering that grown ups don’t really know what the fuck they’re doing, you end up with what is for me a very exciting moment in life to explore.
In my case, I was pudgy, exhausted, crazy, horny, and let’s not forget the growing pains and general itchiness. Not a good combination. I also felt like someone was always about to pull the chair out from under me, which sometimes they were, yet somehow I still had it more together than just about every adult in charge of my life.
I hated being a teenager, and I have the utmost compassion for them, even though they did write “suck my balls” on my daughter’s elementary school slide. They’re assholes, but their irreverence makes me smile.
So I won’t be going back to Tenjune (the Alley in a less ageist Taos will do fine, plus the music is better), and the lines on my face aren’t going anywhere, either. I’m okay with that. I like a man with lines on his face, too, more specifically my husband who is downright jewylicious, and just hilarious, threatening and affectionate enough to keep my totally engaged. And even though he’s a business man now, he once had one of his hardcore songs recorded, which qualifies him as a musician, too.
I digress. The point is that I love writing for teenagers, but I wouldn’t want to be one. I’m all woman and I accept it, wrinkles and all. Sigh. I think instead of acting like a teenager, I’ll just write for them.