Monday, 20 July 2009

Going to the chapel...

I might have given the wrong impression in a recent post if I suggested that I never go to weddings any more. I’ve been to two this year. And one of them was my own. I’ve been a bit embarrassed telling anyone about it, after ten years with Partner (who, I suppose, I must now call Husband). It got out eventually and people sent flowers and said nice things and it was all rather gratifying in the end. But it made me think about how you approach things at 21 and how you approach them thirty years later. The main difference was not letting my mother get involved. Don’t get me wrong: my friends talked for weeks about the buffet at my first wedding. But there were things that weren’t as good, like having to say ‘who are you?’ when people came up to congratulate me. While planning our event, I was amused to read an article about a young woman agonising about how to do a ‘feminist’ wedding. If you know what you want, it’s easy to ditch everything else. Every time people asked ‘what hymns are you having?’ or whether I’d booked a photographer, I laughed. Hymns and Bible readings? No. Church? Yes - because it meant something. Bridesmaids? No. Confetti? Yes - because I like some traditions. Suits? No. Wedding dress? No, but a new party frock - just because. (Husband decided on the day what to wear. And the tie was from a charity shop.) The guest list was small, as was the bill; we spent the rest of our money on a holiday. Just one thing was the same: my mother made the cake.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

I remember being quite upset on my 20th birthday when I couldn’t wear my ‘Bored Teenager’ badge any more. Instead, I made myself another home-made badge out of a newspaper headline from the NME. It said ‘Too old to pose’ (yes, I do remember the news item it came from but that would be one trivia step too far). This came back to me the other day while talking to someone at work about feeling old. I am old enough to be her mother (in fact, I am older than her mother). But in comparison to someone who has just left university, she is now a grown-up. Which means adjusting your self-image, probably just as much as I’ve had to in the last few years as a middle-aged person. Maybe feeling old, like feeling poor, is only to do with comparing yourself to other people. So if it seems unfair to me when people under 30 complain about their great age, that means I can’t say anything about feeling old in front of friends who are closer to 60. There is a time - probably around the age of nine and three quarters - when you actually want to be older than you really are. Maybe the rest of us should just forget about birthdays.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

I'm not a number III

“Boden, it seems, will not rest until I have given in and bought into their lifestyle” says Clare at It’s not just me… is it?

I know the feeling. After years of being on their mailing list I recently bought my first Boden garment. It wasn’t quite like buying my first pair of Doc Martens at the age of 40. In fact I felt like a class traitor. But I couldn’t resist the retro rose print. And I am now at an age (and shape) where the words ‘semi-fitted’ are the holy grail of fashion.

But that doesn’t mean I am going to buy their lifestyle. Or their marketing messages, despite all the chummy emails from Johnny Boden. This man went to school with David Cameron and the man who writes Purple Ronnie. (What is it with old Etonians and twee?) These people are not your friends. They are actors.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Get it on

I’m chatting with a bunch of 20-somethings at work and they’re talking about how the wedding invitations are all starting… Which made me start thinking about life stages.

For me, it’s 50th birthday party invitations. Two parties in the past month, both great fun and both with a lot more personality than the off-the-peg rites of passage that the youngsters have to put up with.

The latest was a 1970s themed event, which made me ponder as I haven’t done since university about the propensity of English men to put on drag. It also opened an old debate: who was the prettiest – Marc Bolan or David Cassidy? Bolan won. Possibly on the grounds of being dead.