Stop a stranger on the street and tell them a woman’s approaching her 36th birthday, and they will probably scream, because springing to their minds immediately will be the bunny-boiling-in-the-pot scene from “Fatal Attraction.” (Close’s character was 36, which is the age that Hollywood thinks women start boiling bunnies if they aren’t in satisfying long-term relationships. I’ll admit, I’m afraid of women a little bit, too, Hollywood!) That’s just one of the many fun facts I have to look forward to processing when I turn 36 next year. What else awaits me and my aging sacred temple? HAHA, SO MUCH!
1. My ability to conceive drops off precipitously – by about 12%. Mother Nature needed a way of weeding people out, so she had some of them, in their early 20s, read the zero population chapter of Toffler’s “Future Shock” in an airplane experiencing severe turbulence, from which they never fully recovered and swore off children forever if God would please let them live. It’s been intimated that if I wait too long, there’s a slight chance I’ll wind up as a tragic Lifetime character embroidering pillows with the names I’ve given my ghost children (the ones I thoughtlessly aborted), as the curtains blow around my hunched silhouette teetering in my rocking chair – a perfect desert metaphor for the joyless, lonely fusspot I’ve become, while I wait to die so the Ouija planchette can spell out my name to young girls when the Spirit World wants to regale them with cautionary tales.
2. My fertility rate will continue to decline exponentially every year I remain barren as a form of punishment. What’s really fun to do with this information is turn it into colorful pie charts and Magic Mountain rollercoastery-looking graphs, using scary skulls and crossbones in the graph key!
3. At 36, I will have less vaginal sensitivity. This means that if an object is inserted into me and I’m not paying attention (probably I’m wistfully looking at graphs pictorially charting my fleeting youth), I will no longer be able to tell how many sides it has. Which means I’ll have to guess. And we all know that’s the ultimate bedroom humiliation for a woman.
4. My chances of getting hit by lightning during a storm decreases (because I am now wise enough not to go kiting in the rain or stand anywhere near an aluminum fishing boat), but the chances of people telling me that I am more likely to get struck down by lightning than get married in my lifetime increases fivefold.
5. 36 is the age when I become too old for men my own age.
6. Animal kingdom equivalencies are officially depressing. Comparing myself to animals my exact age who are accomplished, like I did with Seabiscuit when I was 12, used to be fun, but most 36-year-old animals are either washed-up has-beens or they’ve died of natural causes. Some have given up on society and returned to their respective jungles. A few are super old actor chimpanzees running out the clock in their Hollywood retirement villages, watching old reruns of their television glory days.
7. I have less control over my body. Strengthening my core muscle group is paramount if I want to be able to sneeze and hold in a fart or sit down at my computer without my head flopping forward. Although I don’t have an exercise regimen right now, oftentimes, my Kegels get impromptu workouts when I trip and quickly recover.
8. At this point, 10% of my eggs are genetically abnormal, which means that if I don’t act fast and validate them into babies with potent, affirming man-sperm, my whole stash – save for a few – will die and return as egg zombies in my post-apocalyptic uterus. As a woman, I interpret this inevitability to mean that I have some very big decisions to make, especially about scheduling life events that should happen organically, like falling in love. Because it’s either Romance or one of my good eggs may become Rick Grimes.
9. Math gets easier at 36, because I don’t have to do it anymore; I can hire people now. How many people does it take to do my math for me? I don’t know. That’s the point.
10. I know more about lotions, anti-aging serums and personal toiletries than my father knows about sports. I win.
11. I’m attracted to boys young enough to be my children by Hollywood standards. (More than five years my junior!) This makes me a sexy pedophile (cougar!!!).
12. Unplanned pregnancies, once met with sheer terror – “What are you doing to do?!?!,” – are now greeted with a shrug – “Eh, what are you gonna do…”
13. I don’t have to end this on a high note or in any way at all. I don’t need to prove myself. Many will dismiss me. Oh, you go ahead. You’re probably 22 and don’t need lube. We live in different worlds, you and I. I’m motherflippin 36. Almost.