Friday 19 January 2018

Middle-age offers a cloak of invisibility

Aine O’Connor

"What do you reckon they make of us?"

"Maybe they think we're kind of cool?"

"Maybe they think we're kind of tragic?"

"I think we're invisible to them."

A few of us, all middle-aged, were sitting in a bar where the demographic was young. On the way in there was a woman who was well older than us, so it had lulled us into a false sense of security. Inside, it was an entirely different story. I rate "young" now by whether I could have given birth to someone, and I could have given birth, legally, to anyone under the age of 30. I shared this thought and although not all parents, my friends could all see the logic. They didn't thank me for it, but they could see it. By that logic, virtually everyone in that bar looked like potential offspring. Some of them had beards and beer bellies, but they were young enough to be our kids. We were drinking but that fact is more sobering than any amount of coffee.

I thought maybe they saw us, sitting there in their midst with our wrinkles and greying hair, and might be wondering who we were there to collect, offering a lift being the only possible explanation for our presence. Kind of Cool wondered if maybe they saw us and thought we were a hopeful vision of the future. That you can still go to cool places when the first, second and third flushes of youth have passed and you're heading for a different kind of flush altogether. Kind of Tragic wondered if they saw us and thought, "Look at them clinging to something long past, shouldn't they be at home with slippers and a box set?"

Invisible was sitting at the edge of the group, near the entrance, and he was adamant that they just didn't see us at all. "Maybe it's because we're out of sexual target range but we just don't register with them." As he said it a 10th person tripped over his leg. "See?" And we saw that they don't see us. Age offers a cloak of invisibility. Which could be good.

Sunday Independent

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