The Last Days of Disco [ 2005-03-22, 7:07 p.m. ]

For the most part, I've been pretty sanguine about turning thirty. 'Sanguine' is not a word I use frequently - and one that I may have just misused - but I like the sound of it and I'm pretty sure that I have been sanguine about my approaching thirtieth birthday. If nothing else, it's a pretty word and would make a great name for a lipstick color or a pastry shop or someone else's chic little private-school-bound baby. But we're talking about me, and the fact that until about a week ago, I have towing the I'M SO HAPPY TO BE THIRTY, THIRTY IS GREAT, GOOD RIDDANCE TO MY TWENTIES, AM A REAL ADULT NOW! line. And then, like the deceptively small wave that hits your knees at the beach and knocks you over, then rushes over your head and makes you choke on a mouthful of saltwater, it hit me:

I'm turning thirty in two months. For real.

Thirty, as in, not a twenty-something jabbering about forty is the new thirty and thirty is no big fucking deal, not a "she published her first book/won an Oscar/made partner" at thirty and isn't that AMAZING because thirty is YOUNG, but thirty, as in I WILL NEVER BE ON THIS SIDE OF IT AGAIN. In two months I will pack up a big ol'box of "Wah, wah wah I'm gonna be thirty" and tie it up with a big bow and pass it on to someone else because I AIN'T NEVER GONNA BE ABLE TO FREAK OVER TURNING THIRTY AGAIN. Why not? Because I will BE thirty, and do you know what people who are already thirty get to moan about? TURNING FORTY.

I don't want to be one of those girls. [Question -- at thirty, can I still get away with calling myself a girl, or am I officially 'woman'?] But thirty isn't just this cute concept anymore, like a mortgage or crow's feet...it's this heavy fucking concrete block of a number, and it is not very far away. I want very much to believe that I will continue to get better with age, because it is a FACT that I look better now than I did when I was 25 and that I looked better at 25 than 20...actually, that is a lie. But I do look better now than five years ago, and certainly have far fewer hair/makeup/wardrobe disasters than I did in my mid-twenties (do NOT wear Pumas to hipster lounges if you are not a boy, do NOT cut your hair in a pixie cut unless you are Halle Berry, do NOT buy those molded-sole white leather faux-Prada loafers because they are UGLY AS SIN). When I want to feel better about ahem, aging, I look to Hollywood, where it seems that all actresses look hotter and more stylish in their thirties and forties than they did in the Before They Were Stars shots from their twenties. I suspect it is because they got famous, stopped eating and diverted all the funds that had been going to food towards stylists and Anastasia the Brow Guru, but the fact remains -- there are so many HOT ladies in their late thirties and forties. Am not sure how to pull off the hair-eyebrow-body Trifecta hat equals H-O-T, but am willing to try [see gym, joining of, in prior entry].

Certain behaviors have got to stop before I officially turn thirty, as it is undignified for woman in her thirties to discover – midway through the day - that she has put her panties on wrong, and is not only wearing them inside out but has her left leg through the waist of her thong. Is simply not thirtysomething behavior! Nor is shopping at Urban Outfitters. T-shirts with stupid sayings and "reworked" vintage are for twentysomethings, not someone who remembers when Beverly Hills 90210 debuted on TV.

Chiara, who I consider one of the greatest things I found on the Internet, just turned thirty and she got all up in 30's face and was like, Look at me 30, I am a freaking GODDESS of Turning Thirty and you best step aside because I have some songs to be be singin' and some cake to be eatin' and CHECK IT, THIRTY because I own you. [She tells a much prettier version.]

1975 was obviously a banner year, because many of my favorite people are turning 30 in the next 9 months. It's just that I don't wanna go first! I am happy to get the tattoo or go bungee jumping or try the super-spicy salsa, but from experience I know that the ones who are like, fourth in line have a better time because they have already seen me do my belly flop and learned how to avoid the burn. But among my close girlfriends, I am first. Some of those bitches are only 27...

But I'm first. And I'm trying to figure out how I want to celebrate.

First are the Money Is No Object scenarios. They are very, very good.

I would like to take a long weekend (30th birthday conveniently falls near Memorial Day) and fly to Paris with husband and eat as much cheese as possible in a three-day period, then buy myself some fancy, outrageously expensive perfume.

Or, I would like to fly with husband to Charleston and spend the long weekend with our friends Emilie and Jake, and force them to take us to places that provide all manner of South Carolina fare, including, but not limited to, shitloads of fried seafood.

Alternatively, I would like to fly without husband to Charleston and spend the long weekend alone with Emilie while husbands take care of our various dogs and watch baseball. Emilie and I would not have to share all the fried seafood with our husbands in this scenario, plus we could drink lots of beer and margaritas and potentially flirt with inappropriately-young men. Shoe shopping and pedicures are included.

Another idea I have is taking my friends out to dinner – potentially at Tim's restaurant because it is so much fun to pretend to be Famous and Important when I am there - and after a gigantic and delicious meal, just as people are reaching for their wallets, Kent and I would say No, no, put away your wallets, you are our guests tonight and we invited you to celebrate, not to pay, It's our treat. I think this would be superb, because it actually happened to me one time and that was the GREATEST THING EVER, even better than the time I got bumped to first class on a flight to California, and that was real first class, meaning someone came and asked if I'd like a hot fudge sundae and if so, what would I like on it. When that happened I said that Yes, of COURSE I want a hot fudge sundae and I prefer vanilla ice cream with hot fudge sauce and nothing else because whipped cream in nasty and I hate nuts. And when the other thing happened, the one where I went out to dinner for my friend's birthday and it was at a Nice Restaurant downtown, Kent and I almost cried with shock and glee when my friend's fiancé paid the WHOLE BILL, for all 12 of us. We talked about it for weeks, and I have always thought that would be a lovely, classy, fun way to spend a birthday.

Train to Montreal, where we pretend we are in Paris but with a better exchange rate and no jet lag. To make up for being NOT in Paris, I am allowed to buy lots of things in this scenario.

Oh, and Vegas. No explanation needed, right?

Sadly, money is still somewhat of an object for me (stupid money trees! Grow, dammit, GROW!!!), so I am looking into Plan Bs.

My leading Plan B contender is to host a Proper Dinner Party. I have done this before, which leaves me torn about doing it for my birthday. Torn because I know myself, and I know that I will want everything to be perfect and when I am concentrating on making things perfect I am Not Relaxed...but on the flip side, am confident in my ability to pull off a kick-ass evening. But still, do I really want to be "working" for my birthday? Maybe. [An additional concern is that what I really want is a dinner party in which Colin Firth shows up and saves the day, and maybe even licks the back of my knees a little. The chances of that happening are slim to none, and I would hate to set myself up for disappointment.] But the idea is growing on me, and I am imagining the possibilities. I could send out Proper Invitations and ask people to Dress Up and, if people didn't smack me for my overuse of capitalization, it could be lovely. Is a definite possibility.

As is going out with husband and perhaps a few friends for expensive sushi and lots of it. I like this option very much. In fact, it comes close to duplicating my last birthday, which was spectacular.

An adventurous and spontaneous road trip falls in this category, but the chances that it happen are slim. However, am willing to drive pretty far for fun/food/friends, so could happen.

After my Expensive But Great ideas, and my Plan Bs, here is what I'm left with:

Assume husband and/or friends are planning delightful things for me and therefore stop worrying my pretty little head over manner in which I will turn thirty. Or, order a custom sweatshirt from Neighborhoodies that says "I'm 30, Suck It" and get drunk on margaritas with gal pals and respective spouses.

A plan not without warrant, I have to say...

I keep trying to recall how other friends have spent their 30th birthdays, and perhaps I really am the oldest person in the world, because I can barely think of anyone who has turned thirty. My friend Jay did it best, however. He invited his nearest and dearest to dinner at Balthazar, and once our entire group was seated and ordered and had wine, he told us he loved us and that he would not be sitting there were it not for us. Then, in case we weren't crying hard enough already, he handed out cards to everyone on which he had written a personal message of thanks and love. He told me I was his chosen sister. That is turning thirty with class, style and dignity. Me, I am more likely to turn thirty with tequila, take-out and a sunburn, but the precedent is there. Two months and counting...

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