As always, I have stumbled upon a blog that both simultaneously makes me happy and joyful and glad it exists yet makes me sad and resentful that it isn’t mine because it’s clearly brilliant as all hell. I’m unsure if Eve Barlow is the one and only person behind it, but in any case I love her and want to have her intelligently-amusant-ranty babies.
It’s called The Vagenda (Like King Lear, But for Girls) and it rocks my socks off. It should also rock yours off if you’re a lady-person, have a sense of humour/irony and want to remain my friend. Men get extra points for liking this. I’m also not ruling out oral sex. Yes, it’s that hot.
In any case, I read Glamour magazine…in the 90s. Maybe even the early 2000s until I realised I had big tits and did not require its advice on attracting men or oral sex or handbags because I’d simply never be someone who took their makeup off at night and had a “skin regime”. I’d never look good in gypsy tops (boobs) when they were in fashion, I hated (and still do) peep-toe shoes and cork heels and no matter how many articles I read on how to do “smoky eyes” or “French buns” I still did not get it.
I tried (well actually, I didn’t at all) to be like the things they said I should be like and like and do. But then I realise I wasn’t/couldn’t/didn’t so I got into music and wore doc martins and baggy t-shirts and surrounded myself with people who thought I was ok generally, even though I didn’t have a “skincare routine” (still don’t, sorry).
Aaaanyway. Eve’s rather splendid article on Glamour’s fucking retarded tome on what you should/whatever have done by the time you’re 30 made me smirk like a criminal who’s just gotten away with something awesomely terrible.
Yes, I may be (oh jesus) 33. But I’m nowhere near that list either. Where’s “freeze your eggs”? Where’s “go on holiday by yourself and fuck that hot Italian waiter”? Where is “live alone, you might enjoy it more”?
Nowhere, there’s what. I read an online article (and sorry, I’ve tried to find it but..Fail) about how women’s magazines have hardly changed in decades (hey wait, I think it was on The Vagenda) and they are still telling us the same old shit but with better photos and more mysogenistic bullshit drilled in for women, by women. How to be thin, how to have/give better sex, how to be better, how to look better, how to be/not be a jealous cow, how to hate other women, how to snare a man, how to basically play on Every Insecurity We’ve Ever Had since that time in PE when the boys were separated from the girls and we got told about periods and tampons and shit. My, wasn’t that a scary moment?What did the guys learn? I never found out.
So, forgive the long into to the true magificence of: Being 30 as Proscribed by Glamour Magazine (Eva, hope you’ll forgive me for reproducing most, of not all of this, but I love you and attribution has been given..) Also, I’ve added my own comments/experiences underneath each one in Aye-talics. Also, I’ve edited slightly, return to top for link to full version &tc.
It matters not whether it’s relevant, or intelligent, or necessary, or has always been a tedious checklist of immemorable, stress-inducing, philosophical waffle that reads like a series of Facebook updates from members of the Fans Of Steel Magnolias group. The list of 30 “Things” you should master by the age of 30 is vital assessment criteria to guide you on your quest to becoming a 30-year-old woman, like properly. The fact that there are 30 criteria is a mere coincidence. What are the odds? (Zero, it sounded clever to someone somewhere clutching onto their copy of Confessions Of A Shopaholic).
It’s unfortunate then that for me, the list is of as much use as buying and attempting to read a copy of Mandarin For Idiots.
Glamour’s list would look nicer if it were in Mandarin; at least that way it could be used as wrapping paper. But I digress… In English, the list is an alarming, insufferably “helpful” threat to all women under and over 30 that says: if by the time you reach 30 and you haven’t done all these “Things”, you (and Britney Spears who is 30 now too… ZOMG when did that happen) will be stuck wavering between womanhood and the foetal stage TILL THE END OF DAYS.
By 30, you should have …
1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come. Wow! Getting off to a gentle start here. Well, given I take all my cues from Beyonce’s Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) (When I start to hum “uh oh uh oh uh oh ohnana” that’s a sign things aren’t going well, dudes) and TLC’s No Scrubs I’ve screwed myself over on this one a bit. How could I imagine getting back with ANYONE I’ve rapped (actually rapped) Lisa Left-Eye Lopes at? Also – I don’t think I’ve had a relationship that can remind me how far I personally have come as an individual of 25 but I do remember one where I found out how to change the language on my phone so I could say FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING FUCK more effectively. Suppose there’s time. (Also I swear on Kelly Clarkson’s Since You’ve Been Gone, if any of my mates entertain the thought of getting back with their exes I’m going to reclaim so many teabags/bottle of gin that they will wish they’d never been born 30 years ago).
Me: WTF? They are exes for a reason. I HATE all my exes and they hate me and I cannot ever imagine going back to them unless I was a crack addict who needed money. Maybe then I’d rob their house or something. Sure, sometimes I have those weird sex dreams like you do about them or someone unspeakably horrible in the office that you would never, ever…but I can’t control my sleeping brain! Why do I need to imagine this? Why?
2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family. Ho-kay. As I have rented all over the world (parts of England and briefly the US) since I was 17, I don’t have any furniture I could call my own besides a transparent plastic wastebin from IKEA. Sometimes I don’t live in furnished flats and my Marshall amplifier has to double as a magazine rack/shelf for perfume bottles. I say “double”, I gave up on my progrock guitarist dream when I realised that I’d never be able to afford decent furniture doing that as a job. Come to think of it, I’m now realising I still can’t afford decent furniture… oh screw you Glamour, will I ever have enough material things to be a proper woman?
Me: I have shit furniture. I still, still cannot afford good stuff. Anything decent is a family heirloom. I spend my money on books and booze and holidays. Things that may make me happy when I’m expiring in a hospice. OK, I bought a nice art-deco mirror once at a second hand store. Will that make me hapy when I’m dying? WILL IT?
3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour. Do you mean something that is perfect when I’m having a good skin tone day but which is also good for when I’m bloated from period/too much midnight Shredded Wheat Bitesize dipped in jam? Why do they want to see me in an hour – do I not get bargaining time? I thought we took aaaaaaaages to get ready. Of course, right you are… I am a woman desperately hoping someone will want to see me eventually and prepared to drop everything in an hour (including clothes) in the event dreams come true. Also, do my Converse go with this outfit because I CAN’T WEAR ANYTHING ON MY FEET ALL DAY IN CASE OF EMERGENCY THAT’S NOT PARALLEL TO THE GROUND.
Me: I like to confuse the people I work with by one day turning up in a suit, day 2 seeming a little “too casual” and then day 3 by wearing a dress and heels. No I don’t. These are the vagueries of my wardrobe, washing rotation and mood. If a suitor or boss judged me on my ability on turning up (and presumably running home beforehand) and wearing what THEY thought was the best rather than my ability at Doing My Fucking Job or Being Someone They’d Like to Hang Out With then I’d maybe/probably punch them.
4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying. So I didn’t get the memo when they invented the cool umbrellas…? The only time I was ever embarrassed by my suitcase (Matalan sale, always worth a look) was when it got trapped in the upper part of the carousel and I had to stretch over lots of luggage to get it and I flashed my sunburnt tush to the patrons of a Boeing 777. Generally I’m not ashamed of suitcases because I see them as a way of showing off and saying “I am going on a holiday and I don’t care that my bikini is travelling in a plastic case that looks like a dead zebra.” My purse is really lovely but my main issue is that the money I put in it never seems to be there when I open it up again, and that is completely shameful when I’ve said I’ll buy a round.
Me: All of the above.
5. A youth you’re content to move beyond. Are you telling me 30 year-old women don’t play MarioKart in their kecks, eating BabyBel with a side of Heinz spaghetti hoops while waiting for the gas man some days? What exciting times we live in.
Me: the other weekend me and my two mates got smashed and listened to 90s grunge and danced and sang and remembered how cool our youth was. I am not content. Made us who we are, bitch.
6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age. Look, I’ve done some pretty wild things but I can’t re-enact every scene of Breaking Bad before I’m 30 because then I’ll be bored for the MAJORITY of my life when it all stops happening in my “old age” (30). Have you thought this one through, Glamour?
Me: So we should be “content to move beyond” our youth it but it must also “be juicy enough” to retell? You’re confusing me.
7. The realisation that you are going to have an old age — and some money set aside to help fund it. This is about pensions, isn’t it? (But mainly marrying rich). Really guys, if I make it that far how much is a jumbo pack of colostomy bags and some Werther’s Originals actually going to set me back? Be honest because… oh let me just take this phonecall from my landlord about hiking up my rent next year.
Me: If I bought all the handbags and makeup and cork heeled shoes you told me I must have, in order to be a woman, then I’d have money to set aside for this.
8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account — all of which nobody has access to but you. By 30? You feeling ok? I’ve been on this since before Gaga started bleeding. This is not Big Girl stuff.
Me: But why would anyone else have access to this? Before or after 30? PS, you forgot Facebook Account. Jesus. Are we still in the 70s?
9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded. BUT I HAVEN’T MADE IT AS A CAREER WOMEN IN A DRESS FROM REISS YET! And if I say I only got the Duke Of Edinburgh “Bronze” at school there’s no point in having it on there. Also, I know most of the dance to Backstreet’s Back, I’m just not good at the gymnastic bits because of my weak back. So technically the CV is not “padded” (let’s call it “flavoured”). How else do I accommodate for the fact that I’ve spent my 20s making people in their 30s cups of tea?
Me: I have a CV. It’s not padded. I’m a professional. Just like a man. But I though putting my bronze and silver Scottish Association of Ballroom Dancing Awards probably were unnecessary.
10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry. That’s the corniest shit I’ve ever read. And what if they don’t like each other because I’m a woman and my moods are so unpredictable that there’s little evidence to say I won’t turn from cackling Bette Midler to sulking Claire Danes at the mere sight of a poorly iced Hummingbird cupcake.
Me: Because one is a vacuous ho and the other is a maudlin indulgent bitch who thrives on depression and people’s “problems”. My friends are not pieces of a toolkit. I am in control of my emotions and cry and/or laugh as I feel fit. Can you imagine being the friend Glamour suggests “always lets you cry”? Jesus, she’s going to get fed up and fuck off.
11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra. Am I getting my own Nuts shoot when I’m 30? Or have I missed this episode of Blue Peter? Please say I can still call a dude in to handle anything with the words “Black” and “Decker” brandished on it without losing command of my lady parts?
Me: My Dad gave me a toolkit. I’d like a cordless drill. Doesn’t mean I care to know how to use them.Or even that I use them for more than getting into a troublesome bottle of pasta sause. Sure, they’re handy. And so is your lovely male mate who does things properly instead of the half-cocked surefire way to disaster you were doing them. My sister is the opposite. She can wire a plug, change a tyre on a car and still have enough energy to tell you you’re a fuckwit for not turning off the mains while you attempt to fix a 1970s fuse the way you saw her do. PS a black lace bra? Are you writing for 12 year-olds who just got their first one from M&S thanks to their mother? Jesus, balck is slimming – didn;t you already tell us this?
12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it. “Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Fendi Fendi Prada/Basic bitches wear that shit so I don’t even bother…” oh sorry, just singing Kreayshawn to myself there. I bought my MacBook Pro because I deserved to have access to the world. Also, it lets me work and thereby earn more money so I can eat. BONUS: I can download episodes of Game Of Thrones onto it, which I don’t think overpriced handbags do yet because there isn’t the technology. What a day that will be though.
Me: Does cocaine count? Or a fridge? No, wait, I bought rully expensive bed sheets. Because..I deserve it? Rather than the fact the others were shithouse? I’m doing this wrong, amn’t I?
13. The belief that you deserve it. Waaaaay ahead of you. I used this on my Dad when I was 7 and deserved a Tamagotchi. The development of my female right to the power of manipulation was shockingly advanced.
Me: Oh stop with the pop-psychology already. Has money, will spend it. I like, I want, I will have (mostly)
14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30. So I’m budgeting for avocados, Valium and colonics now? You’re not selling this to me.
Me: Now you’ve fucked me right off. Like the time my mother bought my (younger) sister a whole bunch of age regenerative something-something skincare products for her birthday. And stop making me feel like shit’s already gone downhill. I’m having better sex and apparently microdermabrasion will fix some of the other stuff.
15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better. I got distracted by the mirror there because I read that sentence and suddenly my hair turned WHITE.
Me: I’ll give you the career thing (maybe) but what are all these mysterious “facets of life that DO get better” post-30? Please, let us into the secret. And while you’re at it, see above…what are the things that are supposed to be shit about my life now?
By 30, you should know…
1. How to fall in love without losing yourself. Does it make me a bad person that I might want to not go to karaoke with the girls when I’m not single for just one night? It doesn’t mean I’ve “lost” myself. I still know that Creep by Radiohead is one I can definitely nail (especially when I perform it cross-eyed). It just means… no Thom Yorke impressions tonight.
Me: It’s called a really expensive vibrator
2. How you feel about having kids. SHIT! I totally forgot that I’m a blob with ovaries. Why doesn’t the clock tick LOUDER?
Me: I’m 33 and I still don’t know. HELP ME GLAMOUR MAGAZINE!
3. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship. So there are hard and fast strategies for these situations cos that makes it so much easier? No wonder all 30 year-old plus women I meet are always doing it right. Every time.
Me: Umm, no. Does anyone know how to do these things? I think not.
4. When to try harder and when to walk away. I’m walking away now. Does this count?
5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next. I think you wrote “how” instead of “where” there.
Me: Say, What??
6. The names of the secretary of state, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town. … … … Glamour, what does the secretary of state do please? I’m interested.
Me: Tailor? As in the woman in the shopping centre who take up your trousers for $15? Because that’s easy. Who’s your local member of parliament Glamour? Who?
7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to. Unlike Carrie Bradshaw, I don’t like to live alone as that involves pitching a tent in a field and living outside during all weather conditions because I will not afford to live on my own at any point before I’m 30 unless I stop being a journalist and start being a person who picks winning lottery numbers and/or becomes rich through LOLs (believe me: working on it).
Me: Of course you hate it. You read Glamour. If you live alone you’re a failure until you meet a nice man and he can understand How You Feel and Shit, even though you spend all the rent money on designer handbags and cork-heeled shoes. Jesus, pull yourself together and stop having a lovely single life, will you?
8. Where to go — be it your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat — when your soul needs soothing. It changes according to where’s doing 2-for-1 Cosmopolitan cocktails in Soho that particular night (another thing learned on Sex And The City) so I couldn’t possibly say. *JOKING*
Me: Jesus, did you even need to ask? Us women over 30 are the “new dangerous alcoholics” didn’t you know. Oh Keep Up, Glamour.
9. That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents. But I can change all the other more important stuff with plastic surgery, right? KATIE, HARVEY AND PRINCESS! DO I GET A BONUS POINT?
Me: I know a lot of this already, but you tell me otherwise, Glamour. Because with other minor adjustments I should be able to make it up, no?
10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over. Your mum’s over. I can be a grown-up and a child. Have you never listened to Kate Bush’s The Man With The Child In His Eyes, you deprived Nazi?
Me: My childhood was pretty much fine, Glamour. But wait! Are you telling me….?
11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love. I have a fairly good idea about this already. Would: murder The Saturdays, be seen out in public with Michael Fassbender, go to Mahiki. Wouldn’t: do The Voice, get a Hollywood, listen to Kasabian’s latest. This is the type of thing, yeah?
Me: I really can say I’ve never though about this, but then I’ve never been Demi Moor in Indecent Proposal. But now that you ask, there are probably a lot of things I’d do for money…and even less for love.
12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long. Please tell me who turned 30 and lost their teeth, got lung cancer and liver disease and woke up with a stinker after raving in a field at 4am to The KLF all at the same time? Because I see the Daily Mail Femail sidebar every day and am damned if this story ran and I missed it.
Me: Dunno. Have you listened to the James song ‘Getting Away With It All Messed Up’? I don’t think not flossing is on a even keel with enjecting crack into your eyeballs (which is clearly wrong) but your feeble attempt at turning us all into Stepford Wives is just as bad. I floss. Fucking Deal With It.
13. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally. This is why 30 year-old Britney is dead behind the eyes now, isn’t it?
Me: as in grow up? We’re 30. We already got that shit down pat.
14. Not to apologise for something that isn’t your fault. I stopped reading after the first three words and suddenly felt like 30 can’t come soon enough.
Me: But why would I? That is plain ridiculous.
15. Why they say life begins at 30. Having got here (I could’ve watched The Notebook in this time and got a look at Ryan Gosling looking cuter than pictures of puppies), I realise that life actually ends at 30. So thanks for that.
Me: This is a good question after all the shit you’ve posed here Glamour. I’ll think you’ll find the phrase is “Life begins at 40”, but let’s not worry about semantics. Turning 30 is enough to turn your 18-yo-probably less readers into apolplexies and writing their bucket-lists of “don’t let me turn 30 before knowing how to have a job and give a man a good blowie” paroxymsms.
More Me: Jesus, the Daily Mail hates women. Women’s magzines hate women. Women hate women. Unless I’m commenting on this shit I’m rather glad to live in my sweet post-30 fuckbox of Not Giving A Shit. Because that’s what you learn after 30. Not to be so paranoid about how you look and the things you can’t change. How to be kind. How to be taken for who you are. How to Let It Be (to quote The Beatles although I prefer The Stones). How to value real friendships and real relationships and not to be hoodwinked by magaines like Glamour et al into thinking you’re not Good Enough. Because it’s hard road but by the time you’re 30 you’ll have figured this shit out for yourself and don’t need no magazine to tell you how you should be. Because you’re Just Fine.