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How Not To Tweet Old, At

Check out the latest How Not To Act Old post — on what all you’re doing wrong on Twitter — over at More magazine’s wonderful new site.  I’ll be posting an all-new, exclusive How Not To Act Old tip on every week.  Plus, More is offering its readers a special discount on the How Not To Act Old book through Barnes & Noble.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the excerpt from the book in the July-August issue of More.  Love those dinosaurs!


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How Not To Act Old is now living on its own site, with all the great posts that are archived here plus lots new to come over the next weeks and months.  Plus, news and information about How Not To Act Old, The Book can be found on the new site. Come visit me there!

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#136: Take Off That Store-Boughten Underwear: A Shocking Report from the Land of the Young

Okay, I’m sorry, all you young ‘uns reading this post, but there’s no way for me to tell this story correctly except via an old person-style long and convoluted anecdote. But first, to tantalize you about what’s ahead and to keep you interested, I offer the following visual clue:

Now that I have your attention, I can tell you that I went last night to a panel discussion on women’s lives across the generations. The discussion, which was amazing, was moderated by the fabulous Sheila Weller, author of Girls Like Us and blurber of How Not To Act Old, and featured, in descending order of age, the stunning group of Patricia Bosworth, Judith Warner, Joanna Smith Rakoff, and Emily Gould.

My point, and I do have one, is that during a back-and-forth on the effect of changing technology on women’s lives, someone raised the issue of backlash and Emily Gould, the ex-Gawker editor who now blogs at Emily Magazine and who was born a few weeks before I got married for the second time, said something about steampunk.

There was a brief silence, punctuated by a few What?s from everyone over 40, after which we figured maybe she said Stephen, or steamtown, or punk rock, or something, and everyone started talking again.

And then Joanna Smith Rakoff, a novelist in her 30s whose new book is called A Fortunate Age, again used the word steampunk — we all heard it clearly this time — eliciting yet more confusion.  What was this mysterious thing called steampunk?  And why did the two younger panelists reference it so naturally while the older ones were utterly clueless?

When I finally got home and googled steampunk, immensely proud of myself for having remembered the word for an entire 38 minutes, I felt as if I were pulling back the curtain on a whole alternative culture that isn’t exactly new but that has remained largely hidden from just about everybody over 40.  Yes, not knowing about steampunk makes you, in the words of the twitter thread started by Rainn Wilson aka Dwight yesterday, #officially old.

So what the hell is steampunk?  Ah, see, that’s kind of the problem: It’s really hard to explain.  It’s a genre of science fiction and fantasy, it’s a fashion movement, it celebrates Victoriana and is anti-technology, yet it subverts elements of technology by deconstructing and reinventing them.

Would some visuals help? Here’s a steampunk laptop:


And here’s some steampunk taxidermy, by Jessica Joslin:


And here is a tutorial on how to make your own steampunk underwear from the flannel shirt your college boyfriend left in your laundry after a Kurt Cobain concert.  But before we go to the videotape, credit for the lace-up lingerie in the teaser shot goes to Clare Bare Collections — it’s not only kinky, it’s sustainable! — whose designer is featured in this video.  More pretty amazing examples of steampunk lingerie can be found at the Louise Black Designs shop on Etsy.  I would have lifted a picture but she has a very scary prohibition against that, and seems pretty terrifying all around, though her corsets are not to be missed.  (Hmmm, wonder if they come in XXL?)


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#135: Don’t Forward Emails Like This To All Your Girlfriends

Dear Tide:

I am writing to say what an excellent product you have! I’ve used it all of my married life, as my mom always told me it was the best. Now that I am in my forties I find it even better! In fact, about a month ago, I spilled some red wine on my new white blouse. My inconsiderate and uncaring husband started to belittle me about how clumsy I was, and generally started becoming a pain in the neck. One thing led to another and somehow I ended up with his blood on my new white blouse! I grabbed my bottle of Tide with bleach alternative, and to my surprise and satisfaction, all of the stains came out! In fact, the stains came out so well the detectives who came by yesterday told me that the DNA tests on my blouse were inconclusive and then my attorney called and said that I was no longer considered a suspect in the disappearance of my husband.

What a relief! Going through menopause is bad enough without being a murder suspect! I thank you, once again, for having such a great product.

Well, gotta go. I have to write a letter to the Hefty bag people.

Wait, I said, don’t……DON’T…… Aw,  you couldn’t resist, could you?


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#134: Don’t Cry For Susan Boyle

sboyle21Okay, Rolf and I barely had a chance to stretch our legs and catch our breath after a grueling winter spent kissing in the hammock writing How Not To Act Old, The Book, when we find ourselves forced back to active duty, covering the international phenomenon of Susan Boyle.

You’d think that a chimpanzee had recited Hamlet, or a statue of the Virgin Mary had climbed down from her pedestal and said Mass, so stunned is everyone that a 48-year-old woman — make that a 48-year-old not-so-attractive and not-so-thin woman — might actually have some talent. Might have, for reasons related to home and family, chosen to stay home in her village rather than hoof it to Hollywood. Might deserve our attention.

And just when the world was ready to round up all 48-year-old women and take them back behind the barn and shoot them! What are they good for, anyway? They can’t have babies anymore. They’re not sexy. At work they’re just annoying. And let’s face it, unlike Susan Boyle, most of them can’t even sing.

I, along with the divine Lisa Schwarzbaum over at EW and millions of other people, found tears springing to my eyes when listening to Susan Boyle. And then I slapped myself. Of course, she’s fabulous. Naturally, I’m pleased that her light has finally emerged and that she’s meeting with public acclaim.

But let’s not act as if she’s a freak or a miracle. When all the Susan Boyles routinely get a turn on stage and when the world expects them to be interesting and valuable rather than a joke, then I’ll cry tears of joy.


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OK, Now I Reaaaaaaaaally Have To Go Write My Book

rolfwaitingLook at poor Rolf sitting there.  Every day, he comes out of the villa, perches on the cliff, positions his fingers over the keyboard, and stares out to sea, waiting, hoping, for my yacht to pull into view.

He never goes in the pool, he never rides the jet skis….all he wants to do is get to work on How Not To Act Old, The Book.

But does it ever happen?  No.  And why not?  Because you’ve all been taking too much of my time.  A blog post here, a story in Money Magazine inspired by HNTAO  there…. ….why, this very minute, I’m overdue at a wine tasting for my friend Gail Belsky’s new book on how to shake up your life.

Never fear, Rolf.  As of right now — okay, well, right after the wine tasting — I’m going to shake it up myself.  I am casting off the daily demands of the workaday world and hurrying to our retreat far from the madding crowd  where it will be nothing but work work work in order to get the mostly-new and entirely-fabulous book version of How Not To Act Old ready to be published by Harper Collins in August.

Till then, dear readers, try not to yell into your cell phones or overindulge your email habits.  If you’re older than our new President, don’t admit it.  And if you slip up, don’t worry, Rolf and I will start blogging again next summer, and when the book comes out in August, it will solve all your acting-old problems, and much much more.


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#133: Don’t Channel Andy Rooney

First off, let me say that I think Tracey Ullmann is a genius.  She’s one of my personal heroines, plus she very much does not look or act old — and at the same time, does not seem to be trying to look or act ridiculously young.  As I said, the woman is a genius.

What’s the fabulous Tracey got to do with poor ridiculous Andy?  Everything, as you’ll see in the video below.

You may think that there’s no chance you’re anything like Andy Rooney.  You would never, after all, rant about why pencils are just as good as computers or try to make a case for the revival of the apron.

But you may inadvertently be channeling Andy if you carry on about any of the following:

  • The ridiculousness of contemporary baby names, epitomized by the child — you swear: your sister-in-law the nurse saw it with her own eyes — who was named Gonorrhea.
  • The failure of young people today to move out of their parents’ houses, get married, and assume adult responsibilities before the age of, say, 43.
  • The inflated cost of handbags.

All I can say is: Put down the pencil, Andy.  The only one who should ever channel Andy Rooney is Tracey Ullmann.  Here’s why:


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