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Pickle Me This

June 22, 2009

It's hard to be hip over thirty


I’ve been rereading my copy of poetry collection It’s Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty by Judith Viorst (of Alexander’s No Good Very Bad Day). My edition is a gorgeous Persephone Book (endpaper as above) and I’m rereading because I’m turning thirty on Wednesday, and as I certainly found it difficult enough to be hip under thirty, I need all the help I can get. From the title poem:

All around New York
Perfect girls with hairpieces and fishnet jumpsuits
Sit in their art nouveau apartments
Discussing things like King Kong
With people like Rudolph Nureyev.

Meanwhile the rest of us
Serving Crispy Critters to grouchy three-year-olds
And drinking our Metrecal,
Dream of snapping our fingers to the music
If only we knew when to snap.

But it’s hard to be hip over thirty
When everyone else is nineteenm
When the last dance we learned was the Lindy,
And the last we heard, girls who looked like Barbra Streisand
Were trying to do something about it.

We long to be kicky and camp– but
The maid only comes once a week.
And since we have to show up for the car pool,
Orgiastic pot parties with cool Negroes who say ‘funky’ and ‘man’
Seem rather impractical.

The Love Song of J. Aldred Prufrock,
Which we learned line by line long ago,
Doesn’t swing, we are told, on East Tenth Street,
Where all the perfect girls are switched-on or tuned-in or miscegenated,
But never over thirty
Trying hard
To be hip.

3 thoughts on “It's hard to be hip over thirty”

  1. starrlife says:

    Is there a poem/book about hip over 50? Between 30 and 40 were pretty good years.

  2. Rona Maynard says:

    Check out Judith Viorst's book of poems Forever Fifty and Other Negotiations (she has one of these for just about every decade). I haven't read it but Viorst's wit and insight never fail.

  3. Rebecca Rosenblum says:

    I first read this book when I was 12, and thought it was brilliant even then. It's like I knew exactly where i was headed. Happy birthday!

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