The other night my girlfriend and I had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.
And while our server was attentive and pleasant and engaging, I cringed when I heard one word: “ma’am.”
As in, “Would you like more chips with the spinach artichoke dip, ma’am?”
I nearly choked on the free bread.
I’m not going to lie about this, I am getting older. I’m no longer that spritely twenty-something who bounced around the newsroom with ambitious plans for happy hours and Halloween costumes. I’m a 37-year-old with back pain and big Friday night plans with a Swiffer and Netflix.
Since when did I get so… old?
When did I suddenly start caring about my blood pressure and cholesterol? When did Tumblr happen and how did I miss that? And when did I start saying, “When I was your age…”?
I’m starting to scare myself.
Turns out, women start to feel old at — get this — age 29.
That’s according to a new study reported in the Daily Mail last year. (Most guys, by comparison, don’t call themselves “old” until 58.)
Twenty-nine. I don’t even remember that age. But I do know it was about the time I turned 33 that I started to feel uncool. I didn’t recognize music on the radio or names of celebrities in magazines. I stopped watching “American Idol” and going to movies and obsessed over National Public Radio and lamented the current state of newspapers. I started dabbling with oatmeal.
Stuff that women called “ma’am” do.
Do you remember when you started feeling old? And if you’re 23, you’re not allowed to answer that.