I’m 41 next week. Forty-bloody-one. I still feel 36 on the inside – a notion that my bathroom mirror, in league with the incoming Northerly light, seems keen to disabuse me of. Each morning when I stare into it, I look just a fraction more like this…
Marionette lines are appearing at the corners of my mouth. My eyebrows are starting to descend like half-drawn blinds. I can imagine my face on a poster pinned up at Clinique HQ: ‘THIS is What Happens When You Pull or Drag on the Delicate Eye Area’.
Ageing must ultimately be embraced, of course, and I am more than ready to hand on the baton to the next generation. But ideally, I want to pass it on with dignity, rather than cling to it, shrieking, while some gorgeous 16-year-old breaks my fingers one by one. And that is why I do not want to go dancing on Friday night.
Yes, we are having a mums’/ladies’ night out, in a bar where Young People go. My plan is to limit my alcohol intake and sit serenely on the sidelines, and if you need to ask why, you’ve obviously never witnessed my jaw-dropping, wedding-dancefloor-clearing interpretation of ‘Centrefold’ by The J Geils Band. Or my athletic rendition of MC Hammer’s ‘You Can’t Touch This’, which usually culminates in me attempting the splits and my episiotomy scars bursting open.
Must not drink. Must not drink. Must not jump up when Justin Timberlake comes on – ‘You’ve only got four minutes to save the world… Ma-don-na!’. Must not dive onto the dancefloor and start vibrating like an outboard motor, sucking hapless twentysomethings into the slipstream of my jiggling bingo wings. Must not attempt any moves seen in Usher videos, or ‘Step Up 2 The Streets’.
Must not have any fun at all.