You’re not old. I mean, demographically speaking, the odds of you reading this and being old(er than 34) are like 1:20. The odds of you thinking you’re old because you can’t stay out past breakfast-time anymore and you learn about new music from Pitchfork are like 20:1. Such is life, and by life I mean the internet. It’s sad, sometimes, how old you feel for someone so young. But, I promise, it is not as sad as how old Jane Pratt feels.
Jane is the Jane, as in, you know, Jane. First she founded teen lyfe-changing Sassy; then she ran her eponymous, sort-of-glossy, sort-of-anti-glossy ladymag for eight years before resigning to hang out with her babies. She basically invented the idea of “not hating everything about yourself” for women. Plus, in the 90s, she had the girl-sex with Drew Barrymore. And now, the coolest bitch ever, she’s back! She’s writing and editing and publishing stuff again! On a website called xojane.com like she means it or something! Yay, right?
Nay. Nay nay nay. Naynaynaynaynay. I sound like a horse right now, and yet I am not even one umpteenth of an umpteenth as whiny as the new Jane Pratt is. The first article I read of hers when I opened the site this morning was an open letter to “J SISTERS YUCKY SALON,” all-caps hers, and it included crying and shaking and existential wallowing and all because, IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, LADIES, someone at this waxing place called her “OLD.”
First, though, the poor girl talked to Ms. Pratt for five minutes about how much she loved Sassy and Jane (and can I get some amens, because, us too!!) and how excited she was about xojane.com (ditto). Then Pratt walked away and turned around again, which, BIG MISTAKE, cause this is when she accidentally-on-purpose overheard the part that caused her “extreme stress overreaction” (uh, equally extreme understatement). Are you ready? Karen said “it is shocking to see her with so many wrinkles and just looking like an older lady.”
I guess that would be shocking if you were in your 40s and a) thought you looked awesome for your age and b) had never been on Tumblr and c) didn’t realize that everyone “young” thinks everyone not-“young” looks super-fucking-ancient and one-puff-away-from-cremation. I mean, the other day I was on a streetcar, and one little college girl was like, “OMG, that waitress at Golden Griddle was such a bitch,” and the other one flipped her hair and said, “WHATEVER, she’s OLD. She’s like 25 and a smoker.”
And I, being 25 and a smoker and not suffering too much about it, wanted to say something, but not as badly as I wanted to say nothing and smile passive-aggressively and think to myself how lucky it is I’m neither a waitress nor a patron at Golden Griddle, and then get off the streetcar and have a cigarette. Which is what I did.
What I didn’t do is call my “good friend” Michael Stipe and interrupt his transcendental meditations just so he could tell me not to get Botox for another two weeks (OH YES, SHE DID) and while skeptics will suggest that’s because I’ve never even seen Michael Stipe (sad), I’d like to believe it’s because I could be lots of worse things than “old.” Like “pathetic.”
I’d also like to believe that a woman of Pratt’s smarts and sass and success level, a woman with such beloved achievements and inspirational mien and forever-adoring fanbase, a woman who is, after so many years, still recognized and gushed over by girls who work at waxing places, would be able to stop for like one second and think about all that before revealing herself to be about as deep as her fucking wrinkles. I wish she’d hold out a little more hope for girls who want someday to be women and not tragic wax figurines of themselves. I really, REALLY wish she wouldn’t compare being called “old” to being “emotionally abused” for extended periods of time, because, no.
I suddenly have an enormous fear of being female (that part’s already happened, though) and doing everything I want to do with my life and doing it really well and being awesome and yet (still) having all my self-worth right there on the surface, spelled out and decided by the age-lines on my face. It’s almost enough to make me not want to do anything, not even finish writing this, not even go outside for a cigarette, just smoke it right here and drop it unlit into my bed full of newspapers. But then I realize. By the time I’m as old as Jane Pratt, and probably you are, too, the internet will have been making us all feel so old for so long that we will not even care. Plus we’ll have better at-home waxing kits. YESSS.