How to stay young and cool - and hold on to your dignity...
Are you unsure of how you should behave in a hipster gastropub? Do you find yourself letting out an old-person groan when you get out of bed? Are parts of your cheek starting to head towards your knees? Do you look and feel like your best days were yesterday? We take a look at everything from your car, your views and your shoes to show how you can stay young and still hold on to your dignity
Mind your Language
It's all about damage control when it comes to your views. The most important thing is to watch your language. Never start a sentence with "Let's call a spade a spade". Anyone who wants to be popular with young people should shy away from telling them the truth. Keep the phrase "Sure, it didn't do us any harm" for your class reunion. And never, ever say "yerra". Unless you live in rural Ireland, where people of all ages still talk as if they were on The Riordans, below. (No point pretending you don't get the reference, old timer.)
It's best to keep away from the Lolz. Anyone who once owned a Walkman has no business using text-speak. (We would have thought that was obvs.) Mainly because they are already naff with people under 30. So is the word naff. That's got to go as well.
It's tricky to get all this right. It might be worth employing a spin doctor who is brilliant at controlling what you say. Speaking of which: Sinn Fein. They are experts at spinning inappropriate statements from old people. They get so much practise with Gerry Adams.
But don't be fooled into telling people you vote Sinn Fein. It won't persuade them that you are young and progressive. They'll just know you're old and your memory isn't what it used to be. (What bombs?)
Actually, come to think of it, you're better off keeping away from woolly, lefty sentiments. You'll just get a reputation for being 'young at heart'. That's the polite way of saying there's a faint smell of piss off you.
So steer clear of any ageing hippie crap about free love. It's not that young people are against free love. It's just that they are against it with you.
The right car says, 'I'm young and sexy'. The wrong one says, 'Did anyone see my false teeth?', then falls asleep in front of the TV. If you want to see which one to buy, take a look at the marketing. There are basically two types of car ads. The first one involves a car with a German reg, driving along an empty clifftop road in Greece. The angry locals protesting at their German overlords are just out of shot. The cliff, the empty road, driving towards the setting sun - all this can mean only one thing. You are coming up to retirement and nobody wants to have sex with you. You have been warned.
The other type of car ad is the one for you. A car drives through the empty business district of a medium-sized European city, late at night. That's it. This is obviously what the advertising industry reckons it means to be young today. Maybe it is supposed to reflect the futile search for a well-paying job. We might never know. The point is, young people will buy this car because the ad told them to. So you should buy one too.
There is only one thing left to choose. The colour. You've probably noticed a lot of new cars are white these days. (A lot of them are expensive 4x4s. Quick, sell your house.) A word to the wise on the white-car front. Don't buy one. We've checked, and there's no way you'll be able to resist saying, "It's grand, you actually don't need to wash it too often." There's only one word for that. And it isn't young.
A Nice Pastime
The first rule of pastimes? Don't call them pastimes. You might as well be eating a Marietta with a tartan rug on your lap, roaring 'which one of them are you?'
But you should still get out there and do something youthful. Be very careful here. There is no shortage of snake-oil being peddled on the 'New Thing' front. For example, you might hear the latest whisper that bridge is massive again among young people. So you head along to the local bridge club. The good news is there are four or five people there under 40. The bad news is they are all wearing dickie bows. That's the end of bridge. (You'll get over it.)
You might be on safer ground with board games. The hipsters have been finished for 18 months, but most of them don't know how to stop. So it's still considered young and fun to invite people over to your gaff for an evening of pulled-pork and Cluedo. Don't overdo it. We hear the fire brigade is flooded with calls asking them to pull apart groups of middle-aged people who got stuck playing Twister. That time spent with your face stuck in Fiachra's thigh could be longest half hour of your life.
There is only one thing for it. A trampoline. It's a fitness craze, spreading out like a plague from California. Let's face it, nothing makes you feel five again more than bouncing around the back garden, trying to catch your neighbours in the nip.
A word of warning. Prosecco. You are unable to spend time in your back garden without a glass in your hand, what with being Irish and that. So be careful how you bounce. Because a person can grow old in the queue for A&E. Literally.
You're going to have to stay out past midnight. Yes, that's a stretch at your age, but going home at 11 o'clock on a Saturday night means only one thing. You want to be up in time to hear Sunday Miscellany on RTE Radio 1. That says a number of things about a person. 'I'm under 70' isn't one of them.
Here's the bad news. That pub you used to go to in your 20s - the buzzy, edgy place where it wasn't unusual to find a couple having it off in the jacks - well, that pub is full of old people who never moved on. It's not unusual these days to find paramedics in the jacks. That's because some couple decided to have a shag for old times' sake and your man did something to his back. So, sorry about this, you have to move pubs. Your best bet is a hipster gastropub. At least that way you might get a seat. The latest trend is for an American-style barbecue place. The idea is you eat a whole farmyard of animals washed down with a few craft beers. Here's an absolute no-no if you decide to go for a golden ale. Don't call it a lager. It is lager, but the very word will add 20 years to your age.
Obviously, you won't be able to hear yourself think in one of these pubs. Your ears were never the same after you went to see Bruce at the RDS back in 2012. The important thing is to roar your head off like everyone else. A good idea is to tell everyone you're being ghosted on Tinder. Look at you, all down with the young people.
Nothing says I'm ancient faster than the wrong pair of shoes. A couple of simple rules will see you right.
The first is non-negotiable. If you see an on-duty nurse wearing the same shoes as you, it's time for a change. Nurses are on their feet all day, and like to make older patients feel comfortable by mimicking their choice in footwear. What's your excuse?
The second rule is all about the shoe shop. If any member of staff is over 14, you are in the wrong place. Don't worry, these youngsters are well trained. In how not to burst out laughing when a 42-year-old man asks if a pair of golden adidas might be trying too hard.
Also, if you can hear yourself think, try another shop. The price of buying young shoes these days is that you can't get Rihanna's latest song out of your head. That's manageable, as long as you don't sing along to it. (Seriously, don't.)
The third rule is for the women. Just because Victoria Beckham, above, wears something, doesn't make it right. The reason for this is simple. She's 42. In other words, you are just growing old with her. She might as well be Twiggy, but with thinner arms.
Here's a test, if you think you are not aping Victoria Beckham. Stand in front of the mirror. Are you wearing white leather sneakers and navy trousers that just about make it to your lower shin? You are, aren't you? Granted, you're not wearing a T-shirt saying "I'm getting this dressing young thing all wrong". But that's only because you don't need to.
So it's time to find a younger role model. Kate Middleton is a good choice here. Her latest choices often hit the high street within a week. Which is only slightly less than the age of the people making them in China, says you, buying them anyway.
The Bit of Work
It's the same for everyone. You swear you'll never get any work done. And then your 25-year college class reunion comes around. Everything is nicey-nicey at these things until Scoby arrives back at the table with a round of Slippery Nipples. Half an hour later and it's, "Where did you get your fat suit?" So time for a bit of work.
One of the latest things thing now is Restylane. You get it injected into your nasolabial folds. That isn't what you think it is guys, before you reckon you have an excuse to start looking up images on the internet. ("It's OK, honey, I'm not turned on because it's science.")
Restylane is a filler, injected into your smile lines, to hide the fact that you've had a happy life, but now you're old. Some say it's good because it's approved by the FDA in the States. We say there is something slightly odd-looking about Americans in their 40s and 50s. Just because it's medically safe doesn't make it right.
Your doctor will normally advise you not to smile for 48 hours after the treatment. That shouldn't be a problem, given that it costs €300 a pop and you need to top it up every six months. You're more likely to cry. Except they had a special offer on Botox in the clinic, so it's no dice on the tear front. That said, these modern fillers don't affect your ability to smile. This is important, given the cost over time. You'll need to look cheerful when you're flipping burgers in McDonald's on your 80th birthday.
Here's our advice. Just get a bit of work done before every class reunion. And when Scoby asks "Is anyone for shots?" make your excuses and leave.
And kombucha to you. Unfortunately, it isn't an African greeting, and now we both look stupid. Kombucha is, in fact, a fermented probiotic drink that originated in China. It's a prominent anti-ageing drink, popular with celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, above, and Madonna. But don't let that put you off.
A lot of people are starting to home-brew it in Ireland. The main ingredient is a scoby. And no, we're not talking about that guy in your class from Tipperary who surprised everyone by passing his exams. (Although he was a fiend for the home brew.)
Scoby here stands for 'symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast'. It's a vital ingredient that allows sweetened tea to ferment into kombucha. A new scoby is generated in every batch of kombucha, so you just keep making and drinking it until your 137th birthday.
There is a trendier alternative. Mushrooms. They are right back in fashion these days for their anti-ageing properties.
Don't be put off by the last time you fell for overblown claims on the mushroom front. OK, you didn't get any insights into the true nature of your existence, but at least you laughed the whole way through Electric Picnic.
Mushroom tea is the way to go here. Apparently they have been using it in Asia since forever, which is how long they tend to live over there. Not only that. The very old Asian people paraded on TV always seem happy and content, with a big smile on their face. Or maybe they haven't got any teeth.
Not that it matters. Nothing says 'I'm still young' more than blind optimism and a slavish addiction to fashion. So keep lashing back the mushroom tea until you start looking like Madonna. Circa 1987. Not today, obvs.
Summer isn't a great time for age-conscious Irish people. And not just because we have freckles the size of a cat. The main problem is shorts. Some people say that denim is good for all ages. We say they've never seen denim shorts on anyone old enough to remember Mork & Mindy. Too short, and you're in cellulite city. Too long, and you look like a campaign worker for Donald Trump. There is no 'just right' for denim shorts when you are over 30. So steer well clear.
The shorts issue is particularly awkward for blokes. Things were great 10 years ago, when cargo shorts were in vogue. They were loose, had plenty of pockets and made you look like a 25-year-old. We bought three pairs each and said, "These should see me out now." (Side note. Cut out the phrase 'see me out.' Men over 40 tend to think about death more than sex, but there is no need to tell everyone.)
Anyway, cargo shorts. The people who decide these things (15-year-old fashion bloggers whose people have people) have decreed cargo shorts are all a bit Nokia. Wear them if you like. But you know the way your father wore Farah slacks with sandals and socks during a heatwave? Well, that's you now. Sorry about this, but there is only one way for a man to act all young on the shorts front. And that's to show everyone his balls.
This new craze is called Full Peacock. You can drop 'Pea' from that name without losing any of the meaning. The fashion now is to wear super-tight shorts to make it clear that you're no lady. Don't forget that the old 'no socks with sandals' rule still applies. But maybe shove a pair of socks down your shorts, because some things tend to shrink over time.
Here's what you need to do with your television. Get rid of it. You don't actually have to get rid of it. But if anyone asks, just insist you don't have one in the house. You know, like that time the TV-license inspector called when you were watching Corrie.
You see, young people don't watch the telly anymore. Mainly because they live at home with their parents and they fail to see the humour in At Your Service.
So they sit in their rooms, watching stuff on their phone or their tablet.
The stuff they watch is a problem. Unless you are a fan of post-apocalyptic zombie dystopia. Which you aren't, because it reminds you of how you felt in Prague airport on the way back from Orla's hen. The good news is that there is an alternative. It's called Geordie Shore.
You've probably heard of it. It's an MTV show about young people from Newcastle - including Marnie Simpson, Charlotte Crosby and Holly Hagan, left. Let's just say they make Tallafornia look like a Swiss finishing school. One of the stars promised that a recent series would have "shitloads of fucking, like". It sounds extra vulgar in a Geordie accent. But then, so does everything.
Anyway, once they've stopped pretending to watch Newsnight, most 20-somethings will admit an addiction to Geordie Shore. Don't be so quick to judge. You thought you might die once because you missed an episode of Celebrity Love Island. And there are worse things you could be doing than pretending to like Geordie Shore. After all, it has shitloads of fucking, like.
A quick word of warning about Friends. A recent article in New York Magazine revealed that young people are gone mad for binge-watching it on Netflix. Really? Tell you what. The next time you are sitting around a table with some young people, ask if they see themselves more as a Monica or Rachel.
Let us know how you get on. From your empty table.
Stop the Music
Pop quiz. Have you ever said, "I can't believe you never heard of The Stone Roses" to a person under 20? Then consider this. Uncle Noel. Remember how much you pitied him when he made you listen to his Horslips' albums. And not just because he'd play air guitar after a few pints. Well, that's you now, with your 40-something addiction to Britpop.
You are no longer 'mad for it'. Even Jarvis Cocker isn't going around forcing people to listen to Pulp. That's because he's still cool and you're an accountant. Here's the best bit of advice you'll get all day. Once you pass 40, any opinion you have on music is just embarrassing for everyone. So keep it to yourself.
The exception is your Spotify playlists. You'll have to share them or people will suspect they are full of REO Speedwagon.
It might be an idea to rename some playlists before you share. Particularly the one called 'for shagging'. No one needs to know that Push It by Salt-N-Pepa is what gets you in the mood.
You might want to change the songs on there as well. A playlist with Oasis, Ash, U2, Blur and St Etienne is like a T-shirt saying 'I'm 47'. The temptation is to mix in some songs from Lady Gaga and Drake. In which case the T-shirt will read 'I'm trying too hard'.
There is only one solution. Nina Simone, above. Nina on the playlist is a fantastic way for a man to trick a woman into thinking he has feelings. Never mind that 90pc of Nina's music is more miserable than a weekend in Portarlington. That doesn't matter to a middle-aged man. Not when his new girlfriend is 27.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine