August 27: the seven signs of ageing

On the back of my Saturday Guardian magazine was an advert for a skin cream that claimed to fight the ‘Seven Signs of Ageing’. There is a photograph of what is frequently referred to as a ‘handsome’ woman, which means a woman with short hair who might be older than 21, sporting a glowing complexion. The seven signs of ageing are not enumerated but she seems to have none of them. Is there a concensus as to what these seven signs are, as there is for the Seven Deadly Sins or the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? I’m not sure what they are but, for the record, here are my Seven Signs of Ageing.

1. Being unable to keep your mouth shut.
I remember once in a conference on child protection there was a woman from the RSPCC talking about about a man who had a flat on the groundfloor of a block that looked out onto a children’s playground from where he would watch the childrn play. He gradually got to know the children. He even bought toys to intice them into his flat. One toy he bought for the boys was an action man, together with a range of different costumes and accessories. When I heard this I could not stop myself from piping up, interrupting this moving and tragic story to ask if he had bought a frogman’s outfit. The room fell silent.

2. Refusing to keep your mouth shut.
Insisting on telling the bemused Tesco staff about Zola’s late 19th Century novel ‘Au Bonheur des Dames’ (The Ladies Paradise) which tells how the early big stores devised the ruse of shifting all the products around in the shop every few weeks to disorientate the customers in the shop and so discover new products. A technique that Tesco continues to apply, though when you instruct them of that they tell you it is to make life easier for the customers. As I tell the poor put-upon store representative, who is trying to get away from me, I wasn’t born in 1882.

3. Deciding not to go out on Saturday night.

4.Fleeing places where they have what they call ‘atmosphere’ (ie noise). This includes stand-up ‘nites’ and ‘live’ bands.

5. Being against the all-night tube.

6. Only going to art galleries when there isn’t a special exhibition

7. As a matter of principal, not believing anything anyone tells me, EVER.

Are these the Seven Signs of Ageing of which the handsome older woman (about 24) with the short hair speaks?

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