Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Welcome To Your Carlsberg Years


I was lingering at Starbucks recently and ended up listening to a bunch of girls (sidebar: when I re-read that sentence during the editing process, I recognized that it made me look a bit creepy, but seeing as I’m gay… I think I can get away with it) discuss their university mid-terms and the logistics of the CGPA.

These twenty-something’s were complaining about their friend Jessica because she had a 3.8 CGPA and may have slept with a bunch of dudes on their reading week ski trip.  Although I don’t know her – I agreed on principal: Jessica seems like a total skank.  

Anyway… as these girls discussed the rest of their semester – I couldn’t help but hearken back to my own tenure at McGill.  I contemplated joining in on their conversation and asking if we had any of the same professors or had taken the same bird courses (The Chemistry of Food and Children’s Literature were classics of my day) but soon my memories from McGill started to coalesce into one. Did the kegger where someone showed up in a rented chicken costume happen in first or second year? And what was the name of that hot CanLit TA who used to wear those skimpy white t-shirts which highlighted his un-TA like biceps? If anyone reading this took CanLit with me in second year (I think) and remembers who our TA was – I’m totally down for a good old Facebook creep, which I remind my dearest was a totally foreign concept until my final year of McGill.     

As all of these memories started to puddle together I realized that I have been an alumnus of McGill – a school Marge Simpson once referred to as the Harvard of Canada (which prompted) Lisa Simpsonto say: anything that is something of the something isn’t really the anything of anything, longer than I had been a student there. And yes… I know that nothing dates someone more than a Simpsons reference.  

And so as I sat there, lamenting my own misbegotten twenties, I did what any self-respecting man sitting alone in Starbucks does: I pulled out my iPhone (which truthfully, I can barely use) and texted my best friend, asking her: when did we get so old?

Her reply was frank: somewhere around 2007.  

I didn’t disagree with her; in fact when a co-worker told me she was turning 23 – all I could think to quip was the infamous Jessica Simpson line where she says: I’m almost 23, which is almost 25, which is almost mid-twenties 

Being the cunning pop-culture linguist that I am I dropped the J Simp rhyme only to find that my joke was met with a resounding thud; barely anyone I work with remembered Jessica Simpson as a poor man’s Christina Aguilera (who herself a poor man’s Britney Spears). 

It appears that Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey have been sent to pop-culture heaven only to be replaced by Kris Humphries and that damn Kardashian.  

When I was 18, my older cousin Janice admitted to me she and her husband had finally and quite sadly stopped listening to Montreal’s modern rock station, realizing that most of the bands they liked had at some point migrated to the classic rock channel.

I vowed at the time that this would NEVER happen to me!  And while I still listen to Kiss 92 and Mix 99 (sorry – Virgin Radio) in an attempt to learn the lyrics to the latest Nikki Minaj and LFMAO song I honestly don’t think I’ve moved past Britney Spears (pre-crazy), the halcyon years when Justin Timberlake’s music consisted of more than just a cameo on SNL, and when Lady Gaga was just a speck on the horizon of Avril Lavigne’s still relevant career and when Lana Del Ray was but a phase in the Mar Del Ray retirement community where my grandmother lived. 

As my friend Brandon noted recently - we have about 15 years max to learn how to helli-ski before we become too much of an insurance risk.  Suddenly he noted there wasn’t that much time to learn how to golf, solidify our careers, become bad-ass boxers, have kids and do all of the things one is supposed to do before the onset of middle age, abdominal fat and the contemplation of botox. 

I think I’ve entered into what a Canadian marketing team once referred to as Carlsberg years.  The Carlsberg Years, a late nineties/ early millennial advertising campaign, targeted late twenty and early thirty something men with taglines such as: "You and the bank own a lovely home. Welcome to your Carlsberg Years."  A commercial from the same campaign showed a group of male friends selling their university furniture (think street signs as art) before they helped each other move in with their girlfriends.  Another advert showed a man and woman sneak into a dirty motel, before ending with the tagline: “A friend of mine tried to tell me that the best sex you’d have was with your wife? Welcome to your Carlsberg years.” 

Now I know… I know what you’re saying: 30 is old?  Well… it isn’t in subjective terms. However, only as you get older, and only as you reach your Carlsberg years, do you realize that we are a culture that fetishes youth.  (Groundbreaking analysis, I know)