Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Is 25 the new 35?














The second half of a man's life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.
- Fyodor Dostoevsky

So it was that I found my nose burrowed in the Evening Standard magazine en route to Bir-nin-em last Friday, when this quote came to mind. And it always provokes rumination over the obvious dilemna: how do we know when the first half ends and the second begins? When do things stop starting and start seconding? But thankfully, I was not forced to probe the canons of philosophy much further; this was only ES magazine after all.

No, the question at hand was raised by an article on page 25 entitled 'The Age of Reason' by Cindy Blake. As if the earlier pages filled with glossy snaps of the beautiful and damned flitting about in Miami, the Hamptons and Ibiza wasn't enough to induce a brief bout of nausea, a headline screaming '25 is the new 35' just about threw me into a full-scale Joan Crawford no wire hangers apocalyptic fit.

Blake's central argument rests on her premise that "at 25, a woman can walk down the aisle a wide-eyed romantic without being a naive one." That we grow up quicker now (who was aware that time warps actually worked, but nevermind) so a "25 year old girl is not a 25 year-old girl anymore." Damn straight she is not. It is called Women's Lib and the Pill. Just one generation ago a woman of 25 was five times more likely to be married and holding down a family. Today, a woman of that age is more likely to be binge drinking. Not easily confused with nurse feeding. In fact, wouldn't such modern behaviour, Ms. Blake, make 25 the new 15, according to your abridged timeline?

And that was the (relative) innocuous bit. The article then follows that "all women should get married to whomever they're involved with at 25. No sooner, no later. That at 25 a woman won't feel pressured to find a partner so she's more likely to make a right choice." Call me a bra burning Feminazi, but isn't Ms. Blake's argument about identifying the age when a woman's critical judgement faculties vis-a-vis commitment are least engaged, in order to force her hand into marriage...because, (c'mon read between the lines with me), she frankly won't know any better?

Apologies Betty Friedan, obviously Ms. Blake never read The Feminine Mystique. Because if she did she would know the abiding lesson that once women "stop conforming to the conventional picture of femininity they finally began to enjoy being a woman." Well, that, and many of us don't remember having a boyfriend at 25. And we are certainly not going to let a divorced columnist convince us that we should have stayed with whomever was around prior, in order to get hitched after. Because that is heretical practice, whatever the age. Or else, I would be married to a monosyllabic, Play Station addict who cried out for his mama in the middle of the night (and who hopefully doesn't read blogs).

And if the parameters of absurdity had not been stretched enough, just look at Victoria Beckham for proof, Ms. Blake tells us, she married at 25. Therein, my friend, lies our answer.

For women, or men, feeling they are at the age of reason:

www.mysinglefriend.com, the latest (and reputedly oft-successful) Internet dating phenomenon feverishly talked about in London.

23 Comments:

Anonymous Ella said...

Here Here City Slicker. I will toast to that argument of reason. What an outrageous article. How did she get away with that crap? Shocking even for the Evening Standard.

2:32 pm  
Anonymous Diane said...

City Slicker this is genius. Who can argue? Cant believe that stuff is being written. Sounds like pre 1950 maybe that's why she didnt read Friedan. Way to go!!!!!

2:48 pm  
Blogger Shep said...

And at 35...they'll probably still be binge drinking...!

3:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does nobody think there there isnt a bit of truth in the 25 years old idea? Then you don't question as much and are less likely to wait out for The One? By getting married young you then have that commitment and can move on and free your time up for other pursuits. Anyone?

3:43 pm  
Anonymous Kim said...

If anyone is interested in supporting more arguments like this and less like those of Evening Standard. Please join our women's book club http://www.london-se1.co.uk/forum/read/4/49165.
We are just getting running - based in London, SE1. All people interested in feminist writings, teachings are welcome.

5:10 pm  
Blogger Buttercup said...

I too find the article's conclusion outrageous. It assumes that all women necessarily will feel pressured to marry if they wait a bit past 25, and also that women will use poor judgment in picking their partners at a later time. Both of those are ridiculous.

As I have grown older (I'm the "new 21"), I have grown wiser, and with that wisdom, if nothing else, I hope has come the judgment to make my self happy independent of a partner, and also to choose a partner that adds to my own happiness, to whom I can also bring something positive and life-enhancing.

I know myself far more now than I did at 25, and I think I'm capable of giving more to a partner than I was able to at that age.

And why for god's sake would anyone be telling women STILL to rush into marriage?? Thankfully, more and more women are focusing on enjoying their life and challenging themselves, instead of feeling like their main purpose in life is to get married.

Granted, I still see a lot of single women who are unhappy and lonely (and I've been there), but isn't that part of life, and finding your strength? And rushing into marriage isn't going to necessarily cure that sadness and loneliness. It may, however, cause many other problems.

7:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Rushing into anything is always a recipe for disaster. Men can tell when women are desperate and become stronger for it. Only as you get older can you understand what it's all about. I have no regrets waiting and if nothing comes well ce la vie

11:20 pm  
Anonymous Jim said...

I almost married at the age of 25. Boy george -sorry bad joke- I am glad I didnt. Whiel at the time all seemes perfect la di da, I know her since and we are two completely different people. It is all so individual. No one can preach for anyone else. I will say thought that the relationships in my 30s have taught me so much more than those in my 20s. Especially the recent ones. The ones where you fight and scream and hurt and fight again. That is maturity and perspective. City slicker I have to agree - 25 didnt suit me. I am a poet and..

11:32 pm  
Blogger Z said...

I always thought 25 would be the golden year.
I don't remember much about that year, as it turns out. :)
Anyway, I hate sweeping generalizations, period, about what people should do and how they should act at any age. I am a big believer in just doing what the hell is right for you at the time. We all move at different speeds etc. That woman was an idiot.

3:10 am  
Anonymous Stan said...

Great post City Slicker. Like reading a real column but better. Keep up the awesome work! Stan

3:04 pm  
Anonymous Shana said...

Gospel sister. Never settle at 25, 35 or 55. Word to the Man. Shana from Brooklyn NYC

10:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in shock that that such dribble was published. If there was ever a lesson not to buy the Evening Standard this is it. Ladies of the free world unite. Age 25, puhhlease...

12:10 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recommend mysinglefriend.com a million times over any other internet thing. I have a flatmate who is engaged to a guy she met on there and he is a big time sound producer for Miramax who just didnt wantt he aggro of dating and wasting time. Don't believe me or CS check out the website, the write-ups the photos etc. QUALITY!

9:29 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mysinglefriend is harsh - go on there but be prepared to be proactive and write to a lot of people before you find one that yoiu like.

10:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CS just wonering if you have used mysiglefriend or know anybody who has? I am struggling to get beyond the first email stage. I find them very ruthless. Very New York style dating. Also the blokes are either dead stupid or dead jerks. Maybe the average person still stays away from internet dating. It IS the site in London now though for sure.

11:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been doing the internet dating thang for a few weeks now and signed up to two - mysinglefriend and Guardian Soulmates. Find Soulmates to be much better and certainly getting a better result..

11:29 am  
Blogger Will said...

Well really what do you expect from the Evening Standard? I recently read something (in the Sunday Times perhaps) that said 40 was the best age to get married. Because by then you've realised that there aren't loads of better offers just around the corner, and you have a more realistic outlook to relationships.

In your twenties you're still up for playing around too much, and still think the grass is greener.

That's in general though, cos I'm a good boy ;)

1:18 pm  
Anonymous Phil said...

25 heh? Geez anm about a good 15 years off that. Definitely a supporter of 40. They also statistically tend to last longer. men at 40 that is. But you are as young as the woman you feel so she would need to be 25-30.

5:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will what do you reckon about the 30s? Definitely better than 25 and maybe not as jaded or tired as 40?

10:29 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mysinglefriend is nice ideal, but I don't think people are that honest on there. Also don't expect a flood of emails from potential dates as after 50 "messages" sent and no replies you do tend to wonder if these people really exist.

12:32 am  
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6:56 pm  
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12:28 pm  
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