Not long before my 40th birthday, I went to get a haircut, and when the time came to hold up a mirror and show me the back of my head, I told the 20-year-old girl cutting my hair that I really didn’t need to see my bald spot. She said, “Don’t worry, it’s still there.”
Sometime after my forced laughter stopped and the crying began, I realized that the reminders of my advancing years are coming at me faster than ever these days. And as the father of a two-year-old and a 3-month-old, I have resigned myself to the fact it is only going to get worse.
This past weekend, I had a twenty-minute conversation with my 13-year-old niece which covered the topics of One Direction, the One Direction movie and who the members of One Direction are dating. All of this was peppered with various “hash tags” and was frequently interrupted by her texting what I can only assume were eight separate people.
When my kids are her age, One Direction will seem like a quaint reminder of a simpler time in music when I didn’t immediately shut off the trash that my kids are listening to on the radio. Or whatever passes for a radio at that point.
When my brother and sister and I laughed at my Mom for finally figuring out what the “doobie” in Doobie Brothers” meant around 2003, she responded that she was busy raising kids back then and didn’t have time to know about that sort of thing. That now makes perfect sense.
I am already out of the loop, and I am barely two years in to being a parent. I don’t know what this Twerking thing is, but I know that by the time I do know, it will be eight “things” past being relevant to anyone under the age of 21. I don’t want to become one of those “things were simpler in my day” people, but all I know is that no one ever sent a picture of their butt to someone on an avocado green rotary dial phone.
I guess it can’t come as too big of a surprise that my coolness level is at an all-time low when the mini van I drove to work today is actually a step up from my previous model of car, for which the majority of owners were either Truant Officers or Retired Priests.
Now that I think about it, I have never really been cool. There was that one moment in 6th grade when a teenager at the pool said “Thanks dude” when I let him borrow my towel, but I’m not sure if that counts.
Until recently, I felt like I was pretty much the same as I was when I was 27, and the realization that I could now be cast as one of those brain-dead dad’s in a cereal commercial is a little disheartening. I am a father and a husband (sorry Jen, you can’t get rid of me now) so I am not looking for any attention, but finding out what the perception of a 40-year-old Dad is can be a real kick in the relaxed-fit khaki pants.
Girls in their twenties weren’t interested in me when I was in my twenties, but somewhere along the way, for that demographic, I transitioned from “young guy I’m not interested in” to “asexual being whom I am vaguely aware exists.” Like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
Maybe these changes are inevitable, so perhaps I should just enjoy things now before my kids figure out that I’m lame.
Or maybe I can drag them down with me. My daughter could be the only girl graduating in 2030 who has a favorite Steely Dan song.