Who are you calling ageist, you wizened old trout?

This week my daughter had a school reading book about Steve Fossett’s attempts to circumnavigate the globe in a hot-air balloon (you guessed it – it’s from the same child-unfriendly series as ‘Food as Art’, which I ranted about some weeks back. Plus it’s a bit out of date – it ended, ‘What do you think Steve’s next adventure will be?’ To which the answer is, of course, ‘Crashing his plane into the Nevada desert. And dying.’)

Anyway, my daughter declared she couldn’t quite believe what Steve Fossett had achieved, given that he is really, really old, and old people ‘just sit in their rocking chairs all day long.’ Cue a long chat about why we shouldn’t stereotype people according to age, appearance, etc, after which she demonstrated her grasp of this sensitive issue by telling me, ‘When I saw that really old woman in the swimming pool on Sunday [this was an active sixtysomething Gran, splashing about with her grandson] I wasn’t scared.’ She pulled a sad face. ‘I just felt sorry for her.’

Naturally, she finds me physically repellent, too.

[Daughter:] ‘Beyonce’s prettier than you, isn’t she, Mummy?’

[Me:] ‘I should think so, darling. She’s gorgeous.’

[Daughter:] ‘Little Boots. Who sings ‘New in Town’. [That info was added for my benefit. She’s five and she’s already twigged I’m too ancient to know who most pop stars are.] ‘She’s prettier than you, isn’t she, Mummy?’

[Me, smiling beatifically:] ‘Yes, she is.’

[Daughter:] ‘Lady Gaga – she’s prettier than you, isn’t she, Mummy?’

[Me, realising that at 41 I can’t even compete with a woman who wears a giant telephone on her head:] ‘Are you going to list EVERY pop star who’s better looking than Mummy? Because we’re going to be here a very long time…’

It’s payback time for me. As a child, I had a monstrous ego. For the first few years of my life, I honestly thought everyone else in the world was a robot. I can still remember on my own mother’s 40th birthday, giving her a tear-stained lavender notelet in which I’d written, ‘I wouldn’t care if you were 140’. Notice how I began that sentence with the first-person singular. Yes, it was all about ME. I hope she realised her ageing was damaging my psyche. Bitch!

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20 responses to “Who are you calling ageist, you wizened old trout?

  1. My 6 year old has got it figured out. She knows that having a baby gives you a baggy tummy, but she’s decided she’s going to have babies and NOT have a baggy tummy afterwards. Yeah, dream on, 6 year old.

    • notwavingbutironing

      Perhaps we should rewrite a few fairy stories, as precautionary tales for little girls? ‘And Cinders got knocked up with triplets on her wedding night, and never went to another ball again…’ ?

  2. Ha! Yes my ego must have been fairly sizeable aswell because I thought that black and white television and photographs that they had in the ‘olden days’ meant that the world actually used to be black and white. Which might be bad enough on its own, but of course I was also of the belief that the world must have suddenly exploded into colour when I was born then.

    Makes perfect sense doesn’t it…

    • notwavingbutironing

      Let me think: a colour-less world peopled by robots, but then you and I were born, and everything changed for the better… Yes, that makes perfect sense! You can call me Jesus from now on, and I’ll call you God.

  3. Blimey you must be a right minger if Gaga’s ahead of you in the looks stakes. Funny as… as usual. xx

  4. My five year old is still misguided enough to think I am beautiful. But that can’t last long. I shall heed your wise words, and enjoy this time for as long as I can.

    • notwavingbutironing

      Very Bored – EVERYONE is ahead of me in the looks stakes, according to my daughter. Even the bag lady who picks through the bins in the park. (She’s only 38, you see.)

      Coffee lady – then you probably ARE beautiful. No five-year-old can lie about these things!

  5. You should worry! I’m so old I’m largely an embarrassment and have to get my outfit checked before I’m allowed out with my girls or to go anywhere near their school. Don’t think I was that cruel to my mum, but then she was 10 years younger than me (relatively) and sent me to boarding school so I’d appreciate her (that can’t be why really?).

    • notwavingbutironing

      I guess this is just the beginning, then, Hausfrau. I can remember wanting to DIE when my Mum put on her gardening outfit (green anorak, flares – in 1983) to dig up the front garden when everyone from High School was walking home. She scarred me!

  6. This was so funny! My 6 yr old had the same reading book last week and I couldn’t help but fill him in on ‘Steve’s next adventure’. He was also concerned that Steve looked a bit old to be doing all that adventuring stuff…I told to convince him that even he could be having adventures when he is a grandad – and he just looked at me with his big eyes, one eyebrow raised, as tho to say, “yeah, right. I am NEVER getting that old, silly”.

  7. When I picked up Son from a his friend’s last week, the mum announced that – amongst other lies – he had told them his dad had retired. His defence, when questioned, was that as Daddy was nearly 40 he would have to retire very soon so it wasn’t really that much of a lie. He also told us he wants to do the same job as his Dad, before sighing and adding the caveat… if things like that still exist in the future when I’m old enough to have a job!

    • notwavingbutironing

      Nicola – poor Steve, he probably had the accident because of his cataracts. Or maybe his false teeth fell out.

      1H2K – Ha! I hope you told him there’ll be no such things as ‘jobs’ in the future, period.

  8. I think even I might have said “No dear – GaGa is a bit of a dog actually”. Sheesh!

    • notwavingbutironing

      I did fight back the urge, Mrs W. Instead I sang ‘You are beautiful, no matter what they say…..’ in a warbly Christina Aguilera voice until my daughter buried her head in a pillow and started to cry.

  9. penny

    what a giggle. My fourteen year old said he liked his friend’s dad but his mum, ” is not like you ” …. I’ll take that as a compliment then shall I ?
    My seventen year old informed me during dinner ” Lady Gaga has a penis ” ( does she ? ) Well thanks for that Jess – I really needed to know that over dinner !

    • notwavingbutironing

      She doesn’t, but i only know because you could practically see all her lady parts on that video for ‘Telephone’. Put it away, Gaga!

  10. Yup. I’m an old trout too, but with eight more years of lines, wrinkles and droopy bits. Great, isn’t it. I can remember telling my mother, aged all of 35, but old as the hills, that it wouldn’t matter one jot if she was REALLY ugly, because it’s really important to love people even if they are really grim looking.
    She must have been so comforted by that.
    Giggled my way through this post. Had problems opening it as was laughing too hard at the title. xx

    • notwavingbutironing

      Ah, a fellow trout… Perhaps we should meet sometime and compare troutfits? (Ho, ho.) Or we could just tell shite jokes like that one until our offspring hate us even more than they already do? What do you think?

  11. Fab post! Last year, while still living in France, my son was chatting in the car about a conversation he’d had with his mates about their mothers and whose ones were alike. I smiled benignly, imagining myself classed in with all the funky young mums. “We decided you were most like K’s mum” he said innocently, putting me in the same category as a truly hideous, overweight rottweiler of a woman. I’m still in therapy! Love you blog and shall add you to my blogroll if that’s OK.

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