4 Things People Mistake for Signs of Aging

We all get older, and there are usually signs. But it's not exactly what you're thinking.
4 Things People Mistake for Signs of Aging

Did you know that everyone gets older? It's true. Don't believe me? Ask your great-great-grandfather. Oh, he's dead? Yeah. See what I mean?

4 Things People Mistake for Signs of Aging
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That's a messed up joke, dick

Anyway, the point is we all get older, and there are usually signs: weight gain, wrinkles, voting Republican, stuff like that. But there are some things in the world that seem like signs of aging that aren't. How many things? Well, for the purposes of this article, let's say four. Well no, I mean, I'm sure there are more than four, but, y'know, we as a society have come to expect a Cracked number-based column to be a certain length. And factoring in for the kind of content, how long it takes me to explain the concept, and leaving room for jokes, I'm going to say four. Four entries will be just about right. So here they are: Four False Signs of Aging.

Wrinkles From a Super Strong Hand Dryer

A recent poll of 2,000 aging Americans proved two major assertions: 1) Most aging Americans are concerned about sagging skin, and 2) I am completely okay making up fake polls to support my articles. But you don't need proof to know that everyone's afraid of the skin getting all saggy and gross, sort of like Roger Moore's face in Moonraker.

4 Things People Mistake for Signs of Aging

Another sign of aging? Referencing Bond movies from 1979.

Anyway, when I was kid, you had two choices when it came to drying your hands in a public restroom: gross dark brown towels that felt like paper bags, or shitty hand dryers that did nothing (I suppose there was a third option of just wiping them on your shirt, but I was a classy lad). Sometime in the last few years, however, it seems that the technology took a huge leap forward, and a hand dryer now has the engine power to blast that pesky water into oblivion with the force of a 1,000 angry titans.

The first time I used one of these, I was quite impressed with how dry they got my hands, but there was a problem. My hand skin started rippling like a used car sale banner in the wind. My first thought was, "Oh my God! My skin never used to do that. I'm so old!"

But It's Not A Sign of Aging Because ...

Dude, those new hand dryers are so powerful, they do that rippling thing to anyone's skin. That's just what human skin does. I know it sounds crazy, and I had my doubts too. That's why several weeks ago I took a newborn baby and, after dunking its head in the sink (gently, with proper neck support), I held its head under the dryer. And yes, that baby's skin went ripple ripple ripple, flap flap flap. So, my aging brethren alarmed by sagging skin under high speed dryers, fear no more. It happens to everyone. Even babies. And "baby" is a good term for that kid. Such complaining about a little scientific test. All "wah wah wah."

Mall Makeup Mirrors

I haven't frequented my local malls' makeup counter since an unfortunate encounter my senior year of high school.


It's been like weeks since I used this picture in an article. Shut up.

In any event, although not based on personal experience, I've heard women bemoan how awful they seem to look in the mall makeup counter mirrors. Their color is washed out. Their cheeks look sunken. Their eyes are mere chasms of darkness where joy once lived. Horrified by their terrifying visage, they whip out their purses, pocketbooks, and money clips (if they're incredibly butch) to purchase cosmetics to help soften and remedy the horrific effects of time.

So you might think you're a lovely 35-year-old woman who still totally has it going on, but when you get to the mall, suddenly you're confronted with this:

4 Things People Mistake for Signs of Aging
Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Yes, for some reason, there's a printout of my search result for "hag" from the Getty photo library at your local mall.

But It's Not A Sign of Aging Because ...

Before you go having a nervous breakdown, consider this: it's the mall's job to sell you stuff to make you look better. You think maybe that mall mirror is not to be trusted? You think perhaps the lighting is a touch on the incredibly awful and fluorescent side? Just like everyone knows changing room mirrors can present you in a flattering fashion to make the mall's clothes look great, mall make up mirrors can terrify you into believing you're severely in need of cosmetic assistance.

4 Things People Mistake for Signs of Aging

Disliking Current Fashion

In the past, if you disliked a current fashion trend, it was because you were a repressed old timer who didn't understand where things were at today, baby. "Oh my word," you'd say, while staring at skirts cut to a scandalously short length, and then cross yourself before fainting. You were an old fogey, unable to deal with society's changing mores. You were stuck in antiquated notions of right and wrong.

4 Things People Mistake for Signs of Aging
George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images

"Heavens to Betsy, a hemline above the ankle ... and black people are allowed to vote!"

It's a cliche that old people find today's fashions scandalous, but it's just no longer true. You might look at what the kids today are wearing and turn up your nose, but that doesn't necessarily mean you've become some uppity, elderly prude.

But It's Not A Sign of Aging Because ...

Fashion is no longer shocking. Today, someone might see what they're showing in JCPenney, or K-Mart, or wherever they sell fashions for hip young ladies, and feel annoyed. Yep, I can hear you already. You're saying, "You're the out of touch one, Gladstone. Those places don't sell hip clothes. I think you mean Forever 21." To which I calmly reply, "Don't be ridiculous. Everyone knows Forever 21 is for 30-year-olds."

4 Things People Mistake for Signs of Aging
Jack Hollingsworth/Digital Vision/Getty Images

"French Connection, Bebe, H&M???"

The point is, at this point in our history, fashion has seen just about every conceivable trend. Today's old-timers have seen it all. We're not on a one-way path to increasingly scandalous clothing. For example, a 65-year-old woman today was a teenager at the height of the miniskirt's popularity. It's safe to say that if this woman thinks a particular fashion trend of today looks cheap or tawdry, then that is her own personal taste, and not a sign that she can't keep up with society's ever-changing march towards sexual liberation in fashion.

Not Knowing The Big Album Everyone's Talking About

Another classic sign of getting older is feeling out of touch with today's music. I remember when I was a little boy, listening to Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes bitching about how today's pop stars like Michael Jackson and Prince were more transient than the singing stars of his day, like Frank Sinatra. I also remember my mother watching with me and saying, "That's garbage. The only difference is you're old."

Fwlenk WNS 467

Interestingly, if you replaced all of Rooney's words with "Wah, wah, I'm old and angry," there would have been no difference in the report.

I agreed with my mom. I mean, kids in the '60s had The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers and The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. In the '70s, there was Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust. In the '80s, there was Michael Jackson's Thriller and Def Leppard's Pyromania. And in the '90s, there was Nirvana's Nevermind and Radiohead's OK Computer. Every generation has had its seminal albums, but adults looking at today's music scene would be hard-pressed to name what album most obviously fits into the category of music that "everybody's talking about."

But It's Not A Sign of Aging Because ...

The music industry has completely changed. The album that everyone is talking about is a thing of the past. With YouTube and iTunes, kids today care a lot more about songs than albums. Furthermore, because the Internet has taken the method of music dissemination beyond radio, there are many more ways to reach people. So sure, there are still people out there who care about albums, but they are now a mere segment of the population. I mean, I love Arcade Fire's Suburbs, and it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard, but it did that by selling fewer than 150k copies. It did not penetrate the public's consciousnesses like Thriller or Ziggy Stardust. That kind of mass knowledge of pop albums is a thing of the past, and though you may be an old fuck, your inability to name the album that everyone is talking about is not a sign of that.



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For more Gladstone, check out 6 Ways Life Is Different If You're Short and Male and The 4 Worst Moments from Otherwise Great Artists.

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