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.