Partying at the median age

MEGAN NICOL REED
Last updated 05:00 13/04/2014
Nightclub
AGUNG PARAMESWARA/ Getty

PARTY TIME: Life's awesome in the 20s, but is it a place we can go back to?

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OPINION: She had a thing for fur. And young men. Her hair was dyed as black as the dark. Her lips always immaculate and matt awnd red.

She drank Sea Breezes because it was the early '90s and that was what you drank: Stolichnaya; cranberry juice; grapefruit juice.

She danced fearlessly. Not in a circle of girlfriends and handbags, but by herself. Rhythmic, sinuous, commanding.

Poor thing, we said. Tragic really. Hopefully we'll have something better to do when we're that old.

She was probably in her late 30s. I'm in my late 30s. I still think about clubbing sometimes, pine a little for the good old days, but most nights I'm too busy nodding off on the couch in front of the telly.

A few weeks ago Sunday ran a rather lovely piece by Greg Bruce, in which he pondered what it means to be 37, the median age of New Zealand men.

He mentioned that the median age for women is 39. That's me; four months shy of 40. Born in 1974. The year of the tiger. Hear me roar.

Thanks to an article in the British edition of Grazia, that trashy magazine masquerading as arbiter of both high fashion and international affairs, which I read cover-to cover at Countdown the other week while trying to decide just how bad a mother I would be if I were to make my children very happy and come home with Twisties for their lunchboxes rather than pita crisps, I discovered that Amy Adams, Chloe Sevigny and other luminaries like Lil Kim and Victoria Beckham are all 40 this year.

The premise of the article was basically: "So you're turning 40! Wow! Look, they are too! Wow!"

I know all about this tactic, and it reassures me no end that diehard debauchee Kate Moss turned 40 in January. That the party began on a Thursday and went for 100 hours. How after lunching with Stella McCartney, Naomi Campbell, John Galliano and her mum, she drove from London to her house in the Cotswolds in the vintage Porsche 911 that Topshop owner Sir Philip Green had just given her, and hosted a Glastonbury-themed party with her top 150. Florence and the Machine played, there were yurts in the backyard with tarot-card readers, fire jugglers and face painters, and Noel Gallagher broke out in an impromptu Happy Birthday at 6am on the Sunday. It made me feel better somehow. Like I was in good company.

For my own party later this year, I've booked the local tennis club. It'll go for six hours and there'll be a DJ and some food and drinks. Oh, and some fairy lights.

There was another article in Grazia that caught my eye, apart from the ones on how Syria's children are paying the ultimate price of war and 21 new ways to wear your denim jacket, that is.

This was a journalist writing about how she had been taken aback by the extent of her lust for Brad Pitt in 12 Years a Slave.

Like several other men of his generation, she wrote, the craggier he gets the better. I don't know why she was surprised. Men get better with age, didn't you know. They don't go grey, they morph into silver foxes.

Women are always trying to make each other feel better about getting older. At 41, Cameron Diaz is held up as an example to us all for squeezing into those itty-bitty bikini bottoms she is so fond of.

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But I've never read an article by any man saying the saggier Sharon Stone gets, the more he wants to jump her.

I sometimes think about that woman in the nightclubs of my youth, about how wrong we were to pity her.

With the benefit of hindsight, I now know she had to have been on some good drugs, going for it like that, all night long. I hope she's still out there somewhere, still up for it, still dominating the dance floor.

- Sunday Magazine

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