Dateland: Never Mind The Bollocks

By Jennifer Parello August 7, 2014

Categories: Dating & Relationships, Our Lives

When I was 17 years old, my mother bought me a Sex Pistols T-shirt. Now before you start thinking I had one of those evolved mothers that reeks of patchouli and flirts with your friends, let me clarify that it was a big mistake. For both of us.

My mother had somehow stumbled into the Italian design store Fiorucci, which in the 1980s was the store of choice for the Warhol set. When approached by one of the heroin-thin clerks who, according to my mother, looked like she subsisted on a diet of kohl eyeliner and sarcasm, my mom refused to be intimidated. When the clerk suggested that she might be more comfortable at Lord & Taylor, my mother responded by drawing herself to her full height, grabbing the nearest t-shirt, and demanding that the clerk ring it up.

When she returned home, she tossed the Fiorucci bag at me. Inside was a shirt featuring the iconic Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks design. My mother clearly hadn’t looked at the shirt before purchasing it because when I put it on she immediately demanded that I remove it. “You are not advertising a sex pistol on your chest!” she exclaimed.

“Too late! I love sex pistols,” I said with false bravado. I had no idea who or what a sex pistol was. The fact that the shirt upset my mother was good enough for me.

I had always been merrily unhip. While kids of my generation embraced punk and stadium rock, I searched record store bins for obscure Broadway show scores and knew the words to every Cole Porter song.

My friends accepted my middle-age sensibilities and put up with my terminal lack of cool. I wore cashmere sweater sets. I played bridge. And I always went to bed at a reasonable hour. As one friend put it, “It’s like hanging out with my grandma.”

But that T-shirt quickly changed my image. The day I wore it to school, cool kids who never deigned to speak to me before suddenly wanted to cozy up to me. They offered me cigarettes and beer. They tried to lure me into the parking lot to smoke pot. A guy with a scary haircut and a facial scar asked me on a date. It was terrifying. I took off the shirt the minute I got home and never wore it again.

Now, though, as I approach age 50, for the first time in my life I find myself suddenly hip. My friends, who wasted their youth on rock-and-roll and free love, are now looking to me as the trendsetter. They are blundering into their golden years with no idea of how to fit in, while I’ve been a senior citizen in training since my teens.

Because I spend much of my free time playing competitive bridge, I often consort with senior citizens. As a result, I’ve become a master at complaining about the temperature of soup and know where to find all the great early-bird specials.

Unlike my contemporaries, who will shake their fist at the heavens when they receive their AARP card in the mail on their 50th birthday, I’ve been an AARP member for years! You really need to be a member to run with my fabulous circle of seniors, who plan their social calendar around the monthly discounts offered through the organization.

I look forward to the day when some haggard girl sporting facial piercings and a Sex Pistols T-shirt turns up at the senior center. I’ll coolly appraise her as she nervously approaches my crew of mod pensioners and inform her that maybe she’d be more comfortable at Fiorucci.

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