JCT

#56 Oh dear…

In midlife on August 28, 2010 at 11:41 am

There’s nothing like being on the cover of a magazine to make you realise how old you look. Even with all that photoshopping, tonnes of slap, and sucking my belly in really hard, I’m still thinking: fewer pies, more expensive moisturiser.

I’m used to seeing the horror that is my early 40s face in the mirror of a morning, but I’d never noticed the double chin before, or quite how big my nose is in proportion to my face (though I seem to remember reading, possibly in the same book, that one’s nose and ears continue to grow as you get older). The folded arms pose is cruel, forcing the fleshy bits on one’s lower arms to the fore – and I was forced to pull a succession of quizzical faces, but they’ve kindly coloured in the grey hairs and smoothed out my neck.

My co-writer John, he’s the one on the left, thinks his face looks lopsided, but at least he still looks like he’s in his 20s. (He’s not.)

They’ve called The Midlife Manual ‘the funniest book of the year’, but that’s probably  because it scans better than ‘mildly amusing…in places’. They’ve used rather a lot of the book, but as it’s clearly a title you’d buy ‘for a friend’, like haemorrhoid cream and anything by a member of the Top Gear team, then that’s probably ok.

But if I feel old, think about how my poor newly-retired mother feels. Though pleased to be sent an early copy of the book, I sense it may have triggered a late-midlife crisis. If your daughter is slapped on a national newspaper as the face of (early!) middle age, it kind of bumps you up a generation too. She claims the advice in the book is too late for her, and regularly wonders why her remote control won’t turn the tv on (answer, because it is the radio remote). Unfortunately she HAS learnt how to use the internet so we’d better leave it there.

Hopefully this blaze of publicity, and the inevitable free articles we are obliged to turn out for other publications in order to shift copies of the book will lead to some actual paid work. Three years ago, when I’d only just started freelancing and people still recruited, I was asked to apply for the dep editor job at Saga magazine. At the time I was a little taken aback (and although it’s a great magazine, it’s  Folkstone); now I realise I’d have been perfect.

If you want to read our Midlife Manual blogs, click here
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  1. Congratulations on the book – even the cover made me laugh. And not in a bad way.

  2. I really enjoyed the article and have just ordered a copy of the book (if it lives up to expectations it might be the Xmas gift of choice). One note: do you think you might have been more comfortable (and a propos) wearing either Converse or FitFlops for the cover shot?

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