Category Archives: 1

#121: No Arcade Fire or Porkpie Hats

It’s one thing for an ancient (that’s you, baby) to keep abreast (there’s an old word) of popular culture and stay aware of what the young and deck and hipsterish are doing just to torture you.

But it’s quite another to attempt to actually be a hipster. You may think you can deconstruct all the elements of hipsterhood — the yoo-hoo tee shirts and the Regina Spektor tapes (yeah, they’re back), the vegan diet and the loft in Williamsburg and the toddler named Leta — and then you will be a hipster. But you’re forgetting the most important thing it takes to be a hipster: You have to be young.

How young? If you have to ask: younger than you. So give it up, dollface. Put the aviator shades in the case, find a long sleeve shirt to cover up the crown o’ thorns inked on your bicep, stop calling everything fierce. Take this advice, from McSweeney’s no less, about growing old gracefully.

Now aren’t you winning as much admiration for all your acquired wisdom as you did for your mint green Vespa? As if.

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#120: Neutralize Your Crazy Old Sperm

Yes, John McCain, I’m talking to you. Lest you and Cindy decide that a fifth child would provide, ala Palin, a political advantage, I direct your attention to this new study that shows that children of fathers over 55 are more likely to develop bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. Maternal age, I hasten to point out to all you guys out there who try to blame women for everything, was not a factor.

Finally, a solid reason — beyond, you know, imminent decay and death — for older guys to put some limits on how long they go around spraying out babies. Why anyone would want to make it through the enormous job of raising a family only to go out and raise another one is totally beyond me, unless you’re the kind of guy who wasn’t much involved in raising the first batch of kids and won’t do much about raising the second or third batches either.

Of course, you might believe that your sperm, mutant as it is, still deserves to flourish wherever it finds purchase. If so, I’d appreciate it if you’d go around singing this Monty Python song, if only to give women warning.

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#119: Don’t Use The Republicans To Make Your Own Sorry Self Feel Cool

I’m sitting here watching the Republican National Convention feeling all proud of my own badass self. Jeez, I would never wear a dorky yellow cowboy hat like that, I think, or one of those tacky red blazers. I am waaaaaaay thinner than nearly everybody there except Sarah Palin, Cindy McCain, and Anderson Cooper. And I can outdance anybody in that stadium, young or old — crank that, baby!

And then I remember: Oh right, they’re Republicans. Really devoted Republicans, in Minnesota. And what’s more shameful, I’m using them.

That’s right, I admit it, I have absolutely no interest in Mike Huckabee’s speech. I do want to see Sarah Palin, and I’m hoping to get a glimpse of the hot baby-daddy, but I don’t know whether I’ll be able to stay awake that long. My real agenda here is using the Republicans as a coolness crutch.

The really embarrassing thing is that I’m enjoying this more than most television shows I’ve watched lately. Tonight’s Project Runway, last night’s 90210, Monday’s Gossip Girl, Mad Men on Sunday: I love them, and yet they all make me feel old and ugly and fat and out of it.

Not the Republicans. Watching the Republicans makes me feel as stylish as Rachel Zoe, as hot as Gisele Bunchen, as cosmopolitan as Amy Sacco, as cutting edge as Amy Winehouse. And that’s just wrong. Delicious, but wrong.

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#118: Stop Talking About Menopause

There is a kind of girl who’s always liked to talk about her period: How she can’t wait to get it, when she’s having it, how bad her cramps are, where she buys her tampax, whether she’s late, how heavy her flow is, when it’s slowing down, and what it feels like when it stops all together.

And to all that I say: Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala. In other words, I don’t want to hear about it, okay? When did menstruation, or the lack thereof, get to be polite conversation? I guess around the time they started running ads for tampons on prime time TV. But to me it’s just, ew, gross.

What’s so interesting about menopause, anyway? What is this wisdom they keep talking about, this freedom, this huge change that demands hormones or maybe not hormones — sorry, I can’t keep track. The only thing more boring and unseemly than discussing getting your period is, it seems to me, discussing not getting your period.

Some of you might say my feeling on this issue is old, and that the modern stance is to be openly affirmational about the feminine circle of life. Well, I can get all woman-y with the best of them, girlfriend, but I still say keep the whole blood in your cooter thing to yourself.

On that note, I’ll change the subject to something younger: cool music. I have no idea what group or song this is, but the video got millions of views on YouTube and it features thematically-related red flags. At least I guarantee it will be more educational and entertaining than hearing about anyone’s adventures in menopause

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#117: Don’t Live in West Virginia

Oldest state: Florida, right? Not quite. While Florida may have the highest proportion of people over 65, according to census figures, the state with the oldest median age is West Virginia. Other states where the median age is at the top of the scale — over, yikes!, 38 — are Florida, Maine, and Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Utah has the youngest median age — 27, the only state where it’s under 30 — followed by Alaska and Texas.

Still, statistics are not what it’s all about when it comes to not living someplace old. More important than reality is the perception of the place. Therefore, if you live in New Jersey or Connecticut, move to New York. If you live in New York, move to Brooklyn. Leave your school-age-or-older kids behind in the suburbs, not because Brooklyn is a bad place for them, but because they’ll definitely compromise your image, age-wise. One photogenic toddler is acceptable.

Living in San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, or Portland, Oregon will also make you seem if not actually feel younger.

Avoid Buffalo, Omaha, and most places in between.

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#s105-116: How Not To Vacation Old, Part See Ya Later

This is my last post until after Labor Day because I’m going on vacation. Well, I’m not going on vacation. In the second of eight straight years of paying college tuition, I can’t afford a vacation.

But HNTAO is going on vacation. By itself. On a cruise. Except it’s pretending it’s going to Vegas.

When it comes back in September, hopefully not ten pounds heavier and in need of detox, we’ll have some extremely exciting news for you. No, I can’t tell you now. Plus, lots of fresh and vital ways not to act old.

Meanwhile, here are some tips to get you through the rest of your summer vacation. If you think you’re going to miss your quasi-daily HNTAO over the next few weeks, you can always read them one at a time, or come back every day to read all the ways ntao you haven’t gotten to yet:

1. Do not stay at one of those inns that smell like air freshener and offer an assortment of herbal teas and have little signs posted everywhere that say things like, Thank you for removing your makeup before putting your head on the pillow!

2. If you stay at a chain motel instead of one of those inns, don’t say you have a nice room. They’re all nice. And all not-nice.

3. Don’t rent a house and car exactly like the house and car you have at home.

4. Don’t spend more time putting on sunscreen than you spend in the sun.

5. Forget shopping. You already brought too much stuff in your giant suitcase.

6. Don’t be the first one in the restaurant at breakfast. Not to mention dinner.

7. No guided tours. In fact, no tourism. You’re a traveler. No, you’re practically a native! If you see a tourist or a tour, act appropriately scornful.

8. Although you want to feel and act like a native, don’t go anywhere you’ve been before. Not vacationing old is all about novelty and adventure.

9. Don’t be afraid to go somewhere you’ve never been before. They will definitely have bathrooms there plus some kind of food that doesn’t upset your stomach.

10. Don’t overworry about the weather. Vacation like the young do. If it rains, have sex. If it’s too cold to go to the beach, have sex. Even if it’s nice outside, have sex.

11. If you’re traveling alone and end up having sex with a stranger, don’t imagine that you’re ever going to see him or her again. But don’t feel guilty about it either. If you’re traveling with your spouse and end up having sex with a stranger, you should of course feel guilty. But way not to act old, dude or dudette! You and John Edwards should totally get together.

12. When you’re back home, don’t claim that now you need another vacation. That’s not just old, it’s obnoxious!

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#104: Look Up To Philippe and Patti

Need role models for how not to act old? Two great ones whose biopics are playing in theatres right now: highwire artist Philippe Petit and rocker Patti Smith.

If you want to feel inspired and energized by an individual’s undiminished drive and excitement about life, gallop don’t stroll to see Man on Wire, the story of Philippe Petit’s walk on a highwire strung between the two towers of the World Trade Center.

The drama of the walk itself, nearly 35 years ago, is amazingly vivid even though you know from the outset that a) it’s successful and b) Petit survives. But what’s really galvanizing, in both the historic footage and the contemporary interviews, is Petit’s energy and focus, along with that of his partners in daring. By the end of the film, I was crying, my 25-year-old daughter was crying, and all the retirees in the theatre with us for the Friday matinee were crying too.

I haven’t yet seen Dream of Life, the documentary about Patti Smith, but one of my favorite songs for car dancing is her rendition of Bob Dylan’s Changing of the Guards. Here’s a not-very-good video, but the version on her great CD Twelve is infinitely more rousing.

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#103: Don’t Act All Shocked That Madonna’s Turning 50

All around me, old people (sorry, sweetie) are marvelling that Madonna is turning 50. Can you believe it?, they say. Madonna, 50. It doesn’t seem possible.

Oh yes it does. (Cue old-people-style reminiscence): When I first heard of Madonna, I was a fashion editor at Glamour. This was in the eighties. Yes, youngsters, that long-ago time that you seem now to think was so cute, with your shoulder pads and your big hair and ironically-worn neon-striped leg warmers. MTV was new and hot back then — in fact, my fellow Glamourite Judy McGrath, who now runs the place, had recently defected there as a junior copywriter — just like Madonna. Just like me.

Anyway, somebody sent over a video of Madonna. I had a television and a VCR, both as large as steamer trunks, wheeled into the cubicle I shared with Kim Bonnell. I cued up the video. And there was this….popsy….dressed in tattered lingerie with mascara smeared around her eyes writhing on the floor and feeling herself up.

I was shocked, shocked I tell you, nearly as shocked as I am now thinking back to how innocent, how different everything was in that pre-Britney, pre-Paris era of straight-laced feministinity.

What I’m really saying: It was a long time ago. Madonna’s been famous for a quarter century now. Like many women, I love her and hate her, I admire her and I’m horrified by her. Check out Madonna’s website and groove, sistah, to that tune: “Why wait for someone else to do what you can do right now?”

If you couldn’t believe she was turning 50 on August 16th before now, if the picture here didn’t convince you, you have to admit that’s a lyric that could only have been written by a 50-year-old woman.

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#102: Only One Pair of Glasses At A Time, Please

This tip comes from my pal Amy Edelman, author of Manless in Montclair, a wonderful memoir novel about a widow in the suburbs in search of a new husband. Amy’s advice: Don’t wear more than one pair of glasses at a time.

The young among you may say, Duh! But I sense you over-45s out there nodding sheepishly. You’ve done it, haven’t you? There you were sitting by the pool, reading the paper, needing to see, but blinded by the glare. And so you slipped on your reading glasses. And then you slipped on your sunglasses over them.

Maybe you thought nobody would notice. But Amy did. And she ran and told me. And now you’re busted. The solution? These ultra-mega-cool reading sunglasses, or these “sunglass bifocals.” Except note to copywriter: Rethink the word bifocals.

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#101: Don’t Fear The F Word

I vividly remember the first time I encountered the f word. I was six, newly proficient on a two-wheeler, taking an independent spin around the block when there it was, chalked right on the asphalt. I had never heard or seen this word before, but it must mean something important, I thought, to be written there in such big letters.

So I rode home and asked my father, who was sitting on our front steps, what “fuck” meant. And the next thing I knew, my father walloped me across the face.

Dad didn’t hit: That’s part of the reason his slap still stings nearly half a century later. In fact, Dad rarely even got mad. And my parents, New Yorkers who’d grown up in rough neighborhoods, freely used “bad words” — shit, goddamn, bitch, and bastard — all the time.

But fuck was different, even apart from that slap in the face. It wasn’t spoken, it wasn’t written, you didn’t hear it on TV or in the lyrics of songs. It wasn’t used as a curse, not even by adults who had been drinking when they didn’t think the kids were listening, and it wasn’t used to describe the sexual act either.

In fact, the f word was for decades literally outlawed in both the U.S. and Britain, and was omitted from standard dictionaries and encyclopedias. A typically wonderful history of the word can be found in The Online Etymological Dictionary, and Wikipedia and Youtube also include educational information on the use and misuse of the f word over time.

But when did everyone from the mom next door to the guy you’re doing a business deal with start saying “fucking” and “I’m fucked” and “fucked-up” as routinely as people once said “darn” or “screw”? When did teenage kids and their parents start saying it to each other without so much as a blink, never mind a slap?

Maybe around the time Tony Soprano appeared on HBO or Four Weddings and a Funeral hit the movie theatres or Notorious B.I.G. started singing on the radio. Yes, I’m blaming the media, not for creating the trend, but for letting us all know it was okay to use that particular word now and again. And again.

Does that mean that, in the interest of not acting old, you should use the f word more liberally? I find it quite expressive, myself. Though I can never say it without flinching, just a little bit.

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#s94-100: How Not To Vacation Old, Part 2

Okay, in the last installment, we got you carefully and finally out of the house. Whee! But you still have to make it to your vacation destination without acting old. Let’s go:

1. If you’re flying, do not get to the airport three and a half hours ahead of time. Yes, it takes a while to get through security these days: maybe 17 minutes. Then you’ve still got a whole three hours and 22 minutes to kill, and there are only so many Auntie Anne’s pretzels a person can eat.

2. Do not dress up for the flight. Assuming you’re neither the pilot nor a flight attendant, there is no need to wear a tie, skirt, hat with a shiny visor, shoes more formal than flipflops, or a bra. If you feel sloppy, you can always add epaulets with gold stars to your pajamas.

3. Don’t make friends with the person sitting next to you. Unless it’s ScarJo.

4. If you’re driving, no maps. Definitely no AAA Trip-tiks. GPS and Mapquest should get you there.

5. Do not complain, each and every time you fill up, about how expensive gas has gotten, as if you’re surprised that the price didn’t drop to $1 a gallon in the time it took you to drive 200 miles.

6. No scenic routes. Scenic routes, with their cows and their small towns, their speed traps and their no-passing zones, are old — and they’re often not even that scenic anymore.

7. If you get lost and have to pull into a gas station to ask for directions, don’t keep nodding as if you totally understand and then turn the wrong way right out of the parking lot. Not that you’ve ever done that, honey.

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#93: Stop Covering Up Your Underwear!

Confused about whether you’re old or not? Here’s a little quiz to help you find out.

If someone says it’s “snowing down south,” they’re trying to tell you:

a) A shipment of cocaine has just arrived on the south side of town.

b) Alabama is having some hella freaky weather.

c) Your slip is showing.

If you answered a, you obviously are living too wild a life to be spending any time sitting around reading this blog. If you answered b, you’re a moron. And if you answered c, yes, dearie, I’m afraid you’re old. Score double points if you own a slip, and TRIPLE points if you actually wear one.

My point, and I do have one: Underwear has entered a new era. These days, if it is worn at all, underwear is not necessarily worn UNDER anything. In fact, if you want to get all young about it, you should actually TRY to leave your bra straps hanging out from the armholes of your shirt, to let your pants ride down below your boxers, to make your slip totally show beneath your skirt.

We probably have Madonna to blame for making underwear the new outerwear. I actually remember how scandalous her bustiers-as-blouses and brazen black bra straps seemed back in the 80s. That was before little celeb sisters Paris and Britney scandalized us further by wearing no underwear at all.

Please, let’s not go there. For now, at the height of summer, it’s enough to stop worrying about your bra peeking out of your tank top and your boxers popping out of your shorts. And if someone tells you it’s snowing down south, just say thank you.

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#s84-92: How Not To Vacation Old, Part 1

For the age-challenged, the most difficult part of going on vacation can be getting ready. We’re nervous about leaving home, is the thing. We don’t like being away from all our routines, all our stuff. And then, we worry about what’s going to happen to the place when we’re gone. Here, how not to act old, pre-vacation-departure:

1. Do not book your flights, arrange your accommodations, and plan your itinerary so far ahead of time that when the date gets near, you can no longer remember what airline you’re flying on, what time you’re leaving, or even exactly where you’re going.

2. Resist the temptation to panic-pack your entire life: six pair of shoes, clothing for every weather possibility from heatwave to gale force blizzard, plus your special coffee and the pillow that keeps your spouse from snoring.

3. No luggage too heavy for you to actually lift.

4. And no luggage that matches. Unless it’s Vuitton.

5. And no fanny packs. Even, make that especially, Vuitton.

6. If you ignore my advice about packing light, at least don’t bring everything from your backup sneakers to three purple sweaters and then forget your life-saving medication.

7. Don’t leave everything from your keys to your plumber’s phone number to your life insurance policy with your neighbor, “just in case.”

8. Speaking of “just in case,” you don’t need to do everything from washing the last sock in your eternal laundry pile to paying all your bills before you leave. You are coming back. If you can ever actually get out of the house in the first place.

9. Don’t travel an entire three miles from home only to have to turn around because you think you might have left on the iron. (Why do you have an iron?) Or because you think you might not have locked the door. Or because you have to go to the bathroom.

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#83: Don’t Be The Ricky

In many couples, of whatever age, one person’s the Lucy and the other person is the Ricky. One person is the Homer, and the other person is the Marge. One person is Han Solo, and the other person is Princess Leia. One person acts young, in other words: wacky, fun-loving, charmingly irresponsible. And the other person gets stuck with acting old.

(For those of you born after 1980, think Gaby and Carlos. Or Paula and Simon. Or all the contestants on Project Runway and Tim Gunn.)

How do you become the Ricky in your relationship? Here’s how it starts: You want to take care of your Lucy. S/he makes you feel so important, so intelligent, so capable. And then, as time goes on, someone’s got to pay the bills. Organize the taxes. Discipline the children. Excuse me a sec: WOULD YOU PUT AWAY THAT ICE CREAM BEFORE THERE ARE ANTS ALL OVER THE COUNTER?

Phew, where was I? Oh right: The next thing you know, you’re the Ricky. You’re yelling and screaming and cursing and threatening. You’re managing the money and blowing your top when the credit card is overlimit and the cell phone minutes are through the roof.

Meanwhile, your Lucy, your Homer, your Han is wandering around in a daze, buying yellow shoes and auditioning for Broadway shows and befriending Wookies. So tell me, who do you want to be, the screaming check-writer or the starry-eyed golden-footed Wookie-lover?

I rest my heavy case.

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#82: Stop All That Moving Around

Fifties basketball star Dr. Sylvia Colston-Stills, 71, still shoots hoops every day.  Though she may hang up her hightops after reading this.

Fifties basketball star Dr. Sylvia Colston-Stills, 71, still shoots hoops every day. Though she may hang up her hightops after reading this.

Here’s a counterintuitive directive: If you want not to act old, you’ve got to knock off all that surfing, skating, basketball-playing and cardio-kickboxing you’ve evidently been doing. Lying on the couch, staying out of the gym, and sitting on the sidelines are the sports of the young, while middle-aged and older people are the ones who are joining ice hockey teams and wearing themselves out on elliptical trainers.

So says a new British study, which found that more and more middle-aged and older people are exercising and playing sports, while fewer young people are exercising than ten years ago. My scientific analysis: We’ve been doing all that kayaking and cycling in a misguided attempt to be thinner and more limber — aka, younger — and to stave off dying. The evil young, meanwhile, say, Ha! We’re thin and limber without even trying. And we know we’re never gonna die.

Well, ha back atcha, evil young. I now know there’s an infinitely easier and more effective way to act younger: sit on my big fat ass. So sayonara, Zumba. Bye-bye, Bikram. If I lounge here long enough, everybody’s going to think I’m 28 again.

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#81: Learn To Type With Your Thumbs

Old people behavior of which I am guilty: Holding your phone at arm’s length (so you can read the numbers and letters, natch!) and then typing with your index finger.

No no no no. You’ve got to pretend your index finger doesn’t even exist. Forget the middle, ring, and pinky fingers too.

The young way to dial your phone or to text or type on your BlackBerry or iPhone is with your thumbs. Yes, all with your thumbs.

There are online guides to thumb-typing, like this one by Mark Rejhon. Following this method would probably work, but I’m too impatient and probably even too old to read past step 2 in the directions.

Instead, I’ve been entertaining myself by typing away as fast as I can (not fast) with my thumbs on my new iPhone (yes! I’m so cool!) and then chuckling over what mistakes I make and how the iPhone corrects them. Except sometimes the corrections are funnier than the mistakes.

The other night I was trying to type “there’s no fucking way….” except what showed up on the screen was “there’s no ducking way…..”

So I typed it again, but this time with my index finger, checking old people-style to make sure I was hitting the right keys. That’s when I saw that it was the iPhone that was automatically changing my fucking to ducking. Not so cool!

Here’s a demonstration of iPhone thumb-typing, extolling the virtues of the autocorrect feature. But this guy is obviously not telling the whole ducking story:

, Apple

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#s 75-80: How Not To Act Old Around Your Babysitter

You and your babysitter, you’re a team, compadres, right? Riiiiiiiight. It may have occurred to you, somewhere in the years you’ve been employing childcare, that your sitter is a lot closer in age to your nine-year-old than she is to you. You may think that you’re both the adults, in league against the kids, but you’re wrong.

Jen Singer, the creator of MommaSaid.net and author of You’re a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren’t So Bad Either), offers these tips for not acting (too) old around your babysitter:

1. Text your babysitters. They don’t do phone calls, and they really don’t want to talk to you, especially when you call them while they’re out with friends.

2. Know what the hell Twitter is. A plus: Actually use it to keep in contact with your sitter and children.

3. Do not attempt to impress your sitters with modern lingo, such as referring to your husband as your “baby daddy.”

4. Resist the urge to point out that the ring tone on their cell phone was originally recorded by Prince, whom you saw in concert while wearing leg warmers and a Flashdance style dress.

5. Don’t lecture them on how the M in MTV used to refer to “Music.” You know, back when Prince was hot and so were you.

6. Try not to appear as though you’ve just been punched in the stomach when your babysitter tells you that when you got married in 1991, she had not yet been born.

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#74: Forget the Sixties Nostalgia

So, you were at Woodstock? Ate mushrooms with Kesey, chanted with Ram Dass, wrote poetry naked with Ginsberg?

I’m sure that was all mind-blowingly groovy, but I have news for you, Grandpa (and Grandma): Reminiscing about the sixties now is like recalling Prohibition was when we were young. Cue wavering voice: “Let me tell you, sonny, we got up to some crazy shenanigans in those speakeasies.” For those of you who are mathematically challenged, it’s been 40 whole years since 1968, the same amount of time as 1968 was from 1928.

As further illustration of how long ago that all was, check out these words coined in 1928, from the Online Entymology Dictionary, a very dry name for one of the very best sites I know. Nookie with a bimbo, anyone? But words brought to you by 1968 don’t sound much more modern: unisex, dweeb, and the Fosbury Flop.

The point: The sixties are ancient history and not of great interest to anyone who wasn’t actually there. So too the seventies: We really don’t need to know who did what to whom that night you went to Plato’s Retreat (ewwww, you did?) or what you snorted with whom at Studio 54. Even the eighties, which I basically missed thanks to the joys of parenthood, are getting kind of antique.

As one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons, by Jack Ziegler, goes: “The sixties are over. The seventies are over. The eighties, for God’s sake, are over.” And now the nineties are over, and pretty soon the oughties will be over too.

Young people are allowed to have nostalgia for the decades and icons of their childhoods: early Madonna and late Kurt Cobain, leg warmers and flannel shirts. You can reminisce about where you were in Y2K.

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#73: Cancel the Trip to Provence

Peter Mayle’s A Year In Provence hit the bestseller list in 1991, whereupon every American who could afford it rented a villa in the south of France. If you figure that most of those people were at least 30 when they developed their passion for Provence, they’re now nearly 50. And like them, Provence is peut etre un peu past its prime.

That’s right: If you want not to act old, you’ve got to give up your fields of lavender, your striped hammocks, your country markets selling homemade olives and artisanal wine. No more brightly-printed table linens, buckets of sunflowers, espadrilles or straw hats. The ancient mas with cornflower-blue shutters, vine-hung pergola, and swimming pool must be traded in for someplace more au courant, youthful.

Like where, you may ask? Not, God forbid, Tuscany. That’s just Provence with pasta. The Cotswolds and Cornwall, Umbria and the Dordogne are similarly played: the Mojitos, the Burberries of vacation destinations.

How about Berlin? Berlin is young, hip, happening. (I see you there, making a face, envisioning a grim gray city patrolled by scary guards in great coats. But that’s an old image. Now Berlin is all emerging artists and musicians and cool lofts, or so I’ve heard. I have no desire to actually go there.)

Vietnam could work, or really anywhere that only old people remember as a war-torn wasteland. Croatia. Syria. Libya. Iraq. Whooops, maybe not yet: We’ll leave our children to bask in Basra.

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#72: C’mon, Tell Us All About Your Sex Life

How often do you have sex? Do you have orgasms? Only when you masturbate or during intercourse too? What exactly makes you come? How do you move, what do you think about, how long does it take?

What? What’s that you say? That information is too personal? Well, you must be over 40.

Which details about your sex life you’re willing to divulge to whom varies greatly depending on how old you are, a study conducted solely in my head shows. Here, my findings by age:

Under 21 — Happily share half-naked pictures of self and divulge all details of hookups — who, what, how big, how good, etc. — with several hundred Facebook “friends.” At least that’s my fear.

21-30 — No shame about strutting around naked at the gym or lifting up shirt to display boobs at party. Will freely discuss all aspects of sex life — including details on partners, habits, and problems — with friends, colleagues, and random strangers they encounter at a meetup. (What’s a meetup? That’s another post.)

30-40 — Will openly talk about everything from orgasms to waxing habits to porn viewership with anyone they’ve met more than, say, once.

40-50 — Most follow the Sex and the City model, sharing intimate details with closest friends but otherwise keeping it quiet.

50-60 –– People in their fifties, who came of age during the Sexual Revolution, may be open enough to experiment with sex toys, positions, and fantasies, but usually not to talk about it. Not even with their closest friends. Maybe not even with the person they’re doing it with.

60 plus — The door is firmly shut and they’ve thrown away the key.

My evidence: Watch how nervous Barbara Walters gets during this sex discussion on The View:

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