Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Another year older...

Last week one of my students asked to speak to me after class. She had various questions she wanted to ask with regard to assessment, but also wanted to say how much she was enjoying the course. 'I'm just so interested in all these women artists,' she exclaimed. I suggested that, if the module had whetted her appetite that much, she could always think about applying for a Masters.

'Oh, I couldn't possibly,' she replied, 'I'm far too old for that type of thing. I'm practically twenty-three, you know.'

I said something to the effect that these things were all relative. 'It could be worse,' I pointed out, 'I'm practically thirty-seven.'

Her jaw dropped in what appeared to be perfectly genuine amazement. 'You're never,' she exclaimed, 'I don't believe it for one minute.'

But, in spite of my student's disbelief (or possibly her shameless attempt at flattery), I will indeed be thirty-seven on Friday. I have now reached the age where, as Dr Abrupt once pointed out to me, my fertility begins to decline ever more sharply (in order to reinforce his point, he very helpfully drew a rudimentary graph on the back of my notes.)

Mr H is working in London this week, and so tomorrow I am going down to join him. I am to have a night in a fancy hotel, a birthday dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant and also intend to take in the Rothko retrospective at Tate Modern. We are then going up to Shropshire to stay with my father and stepmother for the weekend: I can only hope that they are more excited about our news than Mr H's mother - when Mr H told her that I was pregnant, she said very triumphantly, 'I knew it. I always said that all Ms Heathen needed to do was to relax!'

11 comments:

annacyclopedia said...

Oh, dear God! She didn't really say that, did she? How appalling! You have my nomination for sainthood for not having slapped your mother in law senseless already.

And the sweet naivete of youth - I remember being quite scandalized when a friend told me she was 30 - I was around 20 at the time - and not quite understanding how somebody so cool could be so old! She and her friends had a good laugh at my expense, and I flush with shame every time I remember that conversation. Your response is so perfect - it made me laugh out loud!

Many happy returns for your birthday on Friday - sounds like a lovely weekend you have planned.

Pamela Jeanne said...

An early and very heart-felt HAPPY BIRTHDAY ... wishing you all the very best as you groove into 37.

As for your MIL, she proves that just because one is older doesn't necessary mean that one gets wiser in the process.

Shinejil said...

WHAAA! I can't believe that last "relax" bit. Grrr...

A very happy birthday! Enjoy the Rothko and the b-day dinner. Both sound just perfect.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

I fatally made the remark when a friend's older brother turned 18 that he was '18 going on 30' - oh the stupidity...

Apologies in advance I have mucked up birthday card greetings - I was convinced that yours was Monday. Mind, given that friend H has her birthday in late October and I have known her since 1983 and I STILL cannot say hand-on-heart I know the exact date when her birthday is, I think you're doing okay. Card in the mail so you should get it by your return from a spiffy weekend with the love Mr H. Again, apologies. I suck at dates.

Students are funny aren't they? That weird mix of flattery and disbelief (especially the concept that you could be old enough to be their parents...) I defy this by behaving poorly at all opportunities and not acting my age (whatever that may mean). Growing older disgracefully.

And least said about the 'relax' comment the better. I second the nomination for sainthood - but then I've always thought that of you!

Kim said...

GAH! Not the relax thing! Ignorant and trite all rolled up into one craptasticly smug comment. Nice.

Your birthday sounds lovely.

When I turned 30 I took a trip to Spain with the husband and a few friends. At a village ice cream stand I met a young boy who held up 3 or 4 fingers when I asked him how old he was. He asked me how old I was, and - trying to be cute - I started showing him by holding up fingers, I got to 20 and he walked away.

luna said...

wishing you a very happy birthday celebration! sounds like you've got a wonderful day planned.

I want to smack your MIL though. seriously.

The secret diary of an infertile said...

Hope you have a fantastic birthday Ms H. It sounds like you are going to have a great weekend.

Bloody MILs ;-)

womb for improvement said...

Did no one ever tell you before to relax? Gosh. If only you had been let in on the secret earlier ...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I'm planning on tate this weekend but Rothko / Bacon. I'm torn.

Kath said...

Happy Birthday, dear Ms Heathen!!!

Your student's comment made me smile -- ah yes, I remember those days when I thought 30 was old. (If someone had told me back then that I'd have my first child just before turning 40, I would simply not have believed it.)

Your mother-in-laws comment, on the other hand, was less amusing. How do people consistently pick the stupidest things to say? Where does this incredibly daft "relaxation" BS come from? And since when is it considered conversationally acceptable to diagnose people (particularly diagnose them as sufferers of some nonexistent psychosomatic disorder) without the benefit of a medical license or a shred of knowledge about their inner workings? Ahem. Sorry. Sore subject.

s.e. said...

Hope you are having a wonderful birthday. Your plans sound splendid! How I wish I could spend a weekend in London.

And please tell your MIL that she appalled an entire blogging community. How shameful.

Malloryn said...

I hope you had a wonderful birthday, and a fun time in London! Now you'll have to excuse me when I fly over there to slap Mr. H's mother.