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Should you flaunt your cleavage, grow a hipster beard, lust after someone younger, use Snapchat – when you’re over 40?

Am I too old to/for ” is a question you start asking yourself, now and then, once you’re into your forties. We’re not talking about, “Am I too old to ” wear such and such?” (although we’ll touch on the clothing issue) but all the other pressing questions, such as: “Am I too old to flirt with wait persons?” “Too old to ride (or is it drive) a hoverboard?” “Too old for shots/punctuating with emoticons/rock festivals?” Too late to be a part of the Active Adult Community? Definitely not!

As a rule we try to avoid No You Can’t lists, but then again it’s good to take a raincheck of one’s position near the start of the new year, just in case that position needs adjusting.


Eating whatever you want?
It’s a luxury many people take for granted, but as you age, your teeth may become weaker and more prone to damage. Generally, older adults are advised to be mindful of the types of foods they eat since hard or crunchy foods can harm teeth and cause pain. However, age shouldn’t limit your enjoyment of hard foods. Even if you’re older, you can still indulge in your favorite foods by getting a set of dentures kaysville ut (or wherever you live). This way, you can continue to savor the same foods without worrying about damaging your teeth.”

Bringing a bottle to dinner?
When you were younger, you assumed that the day would come – in your thirties, say – when you would go to dinner at someone’s house and they would provide quail and oysters and lashings of wine. This may well be happening to you if you ended up in banking/with a banker. Otherwise, the older you get, the more you end up bringing on the night: wine (two bottles) plus a Lidl smoked salmon, flowers, etc.

…Dirty weekends?
Certainly not! I mean, you may find your minibreak is not the love pentathlon that it was a few years back, but delicious foraged dinner! And lovely sheets! And really liked the shower tiles and the horn-peg thing on the wall (good idea). James Bond on the telly was a bonus, too, plus the free shortbread in the room. Lovely!

Never too old. Except, perhaps, in a club. I have researched this one relatively recently, and you may find you attract more attention than you used to (is it the peace-signs thing?). To ring the changes it could pay to get a routine going, in the manner of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in Sisters. Only problem with that, you need to travel as a pair.

…Drinking like a pirate?
I’m not going to lie. It’s getting harder. So you make adjustments. Meet an hour later – that slows you down. Put the drink slightly out of reach. Buy only white wine that is 11 per cent proof (and try to ignore the fact that it tastes like fragrant water). Tell everyone you have a presentation at 7.30am, so can they please keep an eye on your consumption. You’re not drinking any less, but you are talking about it a lot more. You will spend a good section of the evening alerting each other to new gloomy stats about drink and cancer (it’s all environment, but mainly drink) while dipping in and out of the larder looking for that sloe gin you got for Christmas.

It seems to be the case that age boosts flirting – in women; men, not so much. However with the introduction of a subtle but natural hormone perfume like the ones from True Pheromones, flirting should be effortless. Men are putting a lot more effort into food, bicycles, good storage options, etc. Meanwhile, women who were only quite flirty get flirting incontinence, and it’s age-blind. Your average fortysomething woman thinks nothing of harassing a 21-year-old waiter. She may easily remark on his tattoos/strong arms/inquire about where he got his tan, and get all “naughty me, but I’m just fun and curious” with no shame whatsoever. No one bats an eyelid. Not so with men. If a man so much as smiles for too long at a waitress, everyone in the place notices and starts referring to him as That Dirty Old Lech. We (OK, I) think nothing of blowing kisses at the fit blokes in our local coffee shop. Coooooeeee! Men get in a panic if their fingers accidentally brush the checkout girl’s when handing over their change. No sexual equality there whatsoever.

…Having a crush on a younger famous person?
As in Prince Harry, Quinn in Homeland, or Alastair Cook (in whites, with his helmet on, because a suggestion of Alastair Cook is oddly better than the full experience). Same rules apply here as with flirting. Forty-plus women have licence to perv on anything that moves. Men may respectfully appreciate the good looks of a few women who have been approved by the sisterhood on the basis that they are quite old/we like them too. For example: Nigella, Julianne Moore, Gillian Anderson, Cate Blanchett. Note for women: don’t push it like Madonna snogging Drake. That was bad.

Plaits. Twenty-eight is too old for plaits. Especially the Ukrainian-flower-girl, looped-around-the-crown sort. Also My Little Pony dyes and asylum fringes. Come to that, excessively straightened flaxen curtains are best left to the younger ones.

For men
It’s topknots, of course, hairbands – any hair accoutrements, full stop – and facial hair. While you are never Too Old for a beard, you may well be for: a) The Revenant Beard (as in Leo DiCaprio’s latest role); b) The Under Beard (that dark patch under the chin, which looks like one of those grazes you get from coming off a playground slide); c) the Is He Growing One Or What? Beard (see Johnny Depp), which is basically just patchy stubble and unhygienic-looking.

Not crazy about the use of “grooming” , with its connotations of Crufts and worse, and our strongly held belief that the modern obsession with grooming was devised by the patriarchy to keep women from running the world. However, you must groom in your forties. Just in the name of dignity you will need to ratchet up the effort three more points, minimum. We’re talking about dealing with your tache. A downy upper lip at 25 is fine; over 40, the hairful upper lip suggests you are letting things go in all departments.

That’s the real point here. If you’re not dealing with the stuff directly in everyone’s line of vision, what is going on out of sight? Also in this category (liable to cause an impression of general decay): mending your broken specs with tape; wearing the one-size-fits-all family anorak; chipped nail polish. We’re not talking about turning Kardashian, just extra vigilance.

For men
Dear men, if you are thinking about getting a proper Mens Haircut, you may want to go ahead and do it. You are definitely too old to be spending 7.50 on a haircut from the bloke who also runs a house clearance service.


Rails of really cool clothes
The ones you haven’t worn for 15 years but are holding on to because, in your mind, it’s a bit like being Sinà ad Cusack and keeping a football signed by George Best during the lost days he spent round at her flat in the Seventies. They are proof you were there. Get over it.

Andy McGowan
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