How to Terrify an Under-40 Friend About Turning 40 In Five Minutes or Less

"You know what forty's like? My boobs are falling." I don't remember what precipitated my saying this to my slightly younger friend Sabrina while we were driving around in her car, but there it was.

"They're falling?" she asked.

"They're falling. I always had these amazing boobs that sat up like overfull water balloons. Friends used to make me put on push-up bras just so they could laugh at how ridiculous my boobs looked. They looked like they were being served up on platters, they sat so high in those things. Now, if I slouch, I could belt them into a pair of mom jeans."

"There are good bras for that," Sabrina said.

It felt good to have all this weird crap bubbling out of me. I envisioned myself in a jean vest with Christmas-themed yarn embroidery emblazoned unironically across the pockets. I had hit some kind of stride. It felt right.

"And you know what else forty's like? It's like getting fat for no reason. I'm the same weight I always was, but it's all migrated toward the middle like I'm an aspiring Homer Simpson. When I get dressed, I have to choose whether I'm going to tuck my pants over or under this inner tube I'm smuggling now."

"I guess I should work on losing some of my extra weight now instead of later."

A twinge of guilt crept over me, because there's no shame like fat shame, but my torrent of self-deprecating hyperbole had me feeling elated somehow, like I was in some way transcending a bad, email-forward, you-know-you're-getting-older-when albatross that had been flung around my neck by generations of women-hating ageism.

"Also? I could grow a patchy goatee now. It's like Nature said Nope, this one's no good for mating anymore. We'd better make sure no one tries anything.

If I didn't shave this moustache, you'd think I was Tom Selleck, only shorter and whiter and with saggier boobs."

"Oh my god."

"I'm one set of tweezers and a pair of pleated jeans away from being that weird aunt whose moustache tickles when you kiss her at Thanksgiving."

"You make forty sound delightful."

And, suddenly, I was spent. It was like the Ghost of Bad Joke Mugs had left my chest, and now I was just a sad throwback to 1990s standup.

"Wow. Man. I'm sorry. I don't know what happened there. I actually like being 40. I'm almost 41. Life is better now than ever before in my history. I feel pretty good. I think that December is just getting to me. This cold snap is making me crazy, and all I ate today was toast. Forty is fine. Really. Forty is fine."

Should I send Sabrina flowers or something? I feel like we had a date go wrong.


This incident taught me two things (aside from the many other things it should have taught me):

  1. I need to get out of the house more often so I can remember how to socialize better and not scare the pre-forty crowd, and
  2. I really need to remember to eat more than two pieces of toast before 6:00 p.m. Wow.

What did you learn today?