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The Goddess Speaks

By Nadine Kam

Tuesday, March 28, 2000

Don’t let the duds
drag you down

MAYBE it's the back-porch groove of songs like "Fly," "Every Morning" and "Someday" that's so appealing. Maybe it's Sugar Ray front man Mark McGrath's chiseled features that's the lure. But strangely, a pack of 40-year-old women seemed to come out of their lairs when Sunday night's Sugar Ray concert was first announced. These were friends, friends of friends and people I went to school with.

One such college buddy called demanding to know what World Cafe is like as a concert venue.

Intuitively interpreting that to mean, "Are there plush chairs so I won't have to stand on my poor aching feet?," I simply replied, "Well, you'll have to stand up."

"What?! OK, that's it. I'm not going."

"Wait, wait," I said, not wanting to lose a future concert pal; they're few and far between at my advanced age. "OK, what you can do is sit on the ground, and when the music starts, then you can stand up!"

"I'm not going to sit on the floor!"

"OK, OK, I was lying. They have some chairs but when the music starts you'll have to stand up because everyone will rush the stage and you'll want to be out front."

"Forget it, I don't want to get pushed. I'm old, you know."

"Shut up! I'm the same age as you. It's so much fun. You'll get sweat on and stomped on, but if someone stomps you, just stomp 'em back. Plus, Sugar Ray is a girlie band so it should be fairly mellow. There're only going to be a few guys in front."

AFTER all that, I couldn't convince her to go. Couldn't convince her to write a column either, about what it's like to turn 40 and restrict oneself to "adult" behavior.

So I'm writing it because I find nothing sadder than young fuddy-duddys, 29-year-olds going on 50, 39-year-olds going on 60, etc. On the other hand, I was elated when I talked to grannies at a Dogstar concert here.

This wasn't always the case. I remember getting into clubs with my fake I.D. at 14, spotting 30-year-olds flailing away and having the nerve to wonder, "Who let those old guys in? What losers."

Now I am one of the losers at the shows, and when we spot each other there is mutual relief in realizing, like a scene from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," I'm not the only one.

I get really scared as I'm cruisin' around, enjoying the sights and sounds of life, only to get stopped by some lifestyle cop telling me how I should or should not dress, or "You're too old to be wearing glitter nail polish. You should act your age."

That last bit of advice came from a guy well into his 50s, who fears women who outline their lips old M.A.C style, with a dark color, and who intimated that if we were both available, I'd be too old for him as he prefers women 29 and younger. How mature is that?

So I become the only 70-year-old in a mosh pit; is that threatening or what? Society conspires daily to restrain us with rules and assumptions, and many seem to cheerfully volunteer for the straitjacket.

I'm not saying go out and shirk your obligations and responsibilities, but there's nothing wrong with entertaining the odd interest every now and then, maybe having a little law-abiding fun in the process.

Act my age? I think I am.

Now, excuse me, I've got some dark lip liner to put on and someone to scare. It's so easy.

Nadine Kam is features editor.

The Goddess Speaks runs every Tuesday
and is a column by and about women, our strengths, weaknesses,
quirks and quandaries. If you have something to say, write it and
send it to: The Goddess Speaks, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O.
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