Monday 19 March 2018

Is a woman really at her most attractive at 31?

Bryony Gordon

Age is nothing but a number. So said somebody who was clearly deluded, 18 years old, or a man. Because all women know that age is not just a number - it defines us, shapes us, influences what we do, how we do it, and whom we do it with. Whether we like it or not, the date that we were born marks us out until the day that we die.

I mention this because the results of a survey published yesterday claim that a woman is at her most attractive when she is 31. This should be wonderful news for... well, for all women born in 1979 and 1980, who can rejoice in the realisation that they are - or are about to be - at their peak. And yet, as one of these women, I find this 'news’ particularly ridiculous.

How can anyone presume to tell an entire gender when they will be at their most alluring? Furthermore, why do you never see a survey in which women are asked when men are at their most alluring? (The answer? There is no answer. One female’s toy boy is another female’s silver fox). Measuring appeal is as exact a science as guessing the number of sweets in a jar at the fairground.

In 2008, for example, we learnt that women are sexiest at the age of 34, but that we enjoy sex more when we are middle-aged. This is in contrast to a survey last year, which stated that women actually had the best sex when we are 28 - also the age that we begin to worry about wrinkles - while at 30 we feel the most satisfied with our careers, and at 32, our home and family life. The same survey 'found’ that we are happiest at 28, though another one claimed that we are most content between the ages of 50 and 60.

It’s enough to make you weep (which, according to one survey, we will spend 16 months of our lives doing). With this in mind, we present an alternative guide to the ages of woman.

Most irritating - 17-years-old

No, you can’t wear that skirt. Yes, you will meet another boy you love as much as Steve. No, please don’t drop out of school and run away. And don’t slam your bedroom door like that - you’ll disturb the whole street. I know you didn’t ask to be born but you were. And shut up about bloody Steve.

Most impoverished - 27

You thought your teens were bad? Ha! Welcome to your 20s, during which time you will struggle to get a job, live in a bedsit, exist on spaghetti and toast, and covet Topshop clothes you cannot afford. You will realise your memories of Steve have been trampled on by that of James, Dave, Sam and Richard, not to mention Mark.

Most desperate - 37

At this point, your fertility has dropped off a cliff. Even if you don’t want children, your friends and family will start asking why you don’t have them. You will start buying peonies and taking long walks, in an effort to convince yourself that your life has meaning. You may even visit an Ashram in India, though I reckon two weeks in Ibiza should probably do it (go on! It’s your last chance!)

Best dressed - 42

Women in their forties are generally rich, sexy and effortlessly elegant, thanks to two decades of dressing for work. The forties is the 'just right’ decade - not too young, not too old, just the right amount of confidence. Can’t wait.

Most divorced/likely to have a meltdown - 50

After the salad days of the forties, comes the age at which you decide/pray your husband is having an affair. This will then be followed by a breakdown. But that’s ok. You’re most likely to have a rebirth at the age of 59.

Least likely to give a toss - 64

You will get a t-shirt made up that says '64 AND STILL UP FOR MORE’. You will probably start swearing, and rediscover weed. You might possibly get into naturism.

Best at gardening - 72

Research has conclusively proved that if you want a bed of prize roses, you should just relax and wait until your seventies, when you will suddenly develop green fingers - that’s if you’re no longer working, which looks unlikely given the current government.

Most sex - 86

At this stage, lying down is a good thing. Plus, you really don’t care that it only lasts 30 seconds.

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