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Melissa Stetten's Bratwalk

Fuck Ever Getting Old

The only jobs I'm getting right now are ones where I have to play a "young mum". FML.

Melissa Stetten

Melissa Stetten

I always imagined it would be during a life-changing relationship that I'd have the epiphany I was ready to be a mother. Apparently last week my booker decided to go ahead and make that decision for me. Thanks to him, instead of the usual “Attractive Model-Type” or even “Thin Late-Teens-Looking Tall Girl” parts I usually try out for, I'm now the "Smug, Pregnant, Yoghurt Lover". No kidding, the last three castings I've shown up to have been all "Smile and look wholesome, honey!" This is very unsettling. Wholesome? I can barely take care of myself, let alone something that is a lot smaller and more delicate than me but produces the same amount of puke and tears. How did I suddenly graduate from kid to responsible baby-mama – maybe my new denim jacket doesn’t have enough holes in it? Or my hairdresser screwed me over? Unless... Am I old?! I can't be old! The minute I become "old", I'm automatically unemployed. Fuck.
 
This might surprise you, because I know no one else ever does this, but it isn't the first time I've freaked out about age. When I was living with my much older boyfriend in his mini-mansion in suburban New York, I was basically 100 years old. The neighbourhood was full of successful Jewish accountants who I had to ride a train into NYC with every day, and they all smelled of wrinkles and cash. I breathed the same stale air as them. My life was soundtracked by the sound of their dry mouths clasping together and their spines slowly disintegrating. Slowly but surely, I absorbed their decrepitude.

One evening back in suburbia, I had to make a run to the pharmacy for my copious amounts of anti-everything pills, and my boyfriend texts me: “Hey, can u pick up my propecia and blood pressure pills too?” Propecia is what balding men take to re-grow their hair. Men who are usually over 50 (which my "boy"friend was). I proceeded to have one of those “so this is what I’m doing with my life” moments, as I queued behind an elderly woman who was asking the pharmacist all sorts of quite important but very frustrating questions about insurance and dosage, wasting more and more of the precious, fleeting time I have before I curl up and die alone in a dark corner of Whole Foods. Hurry the fuck up, oldie! For some reason, "Lost in the Supermarket" by The Clash is playing. How fitting.

I returned home with my paper bag of prescription bottles, sat on the couch next to my old-ass manfriend, tried to think of something "young" to talk about, gave up and started glugging chardonnay in front of the TV. 'I was born in the motherfucking 80s,' I think to myself. 'I'm not old... Yes, I went on a cruise once, OK, maybe two, but those giant lawless death-traps are more fun than you think. Especially when you get shitfaced and make-out with the Portuguese butler while your crazy boyfriend's in the depths of the casino doubling down on seven hands of Blackjack. Plus, I swear I never wore a visor...'
 
Gradually I spent more and more time lost in these meandering fugue states, and I realised I had to dump that prehistoric loser. Which I did, but somehow I'm back here again, at the first of my “young mother” auditions, pretending to be at a bachelorette party, pretending to be embarrassed by male strippers. Why do you have to be a mother to be embarrassed by that? Like all women are libidinous, fucktard penis hounds until they squeeze out a baby and suddenly they develop common sense and basic decency? Still, I put on my best “Oh goodness, someone shield my eyes from that tempting monstrosity of a human” look and not to blow my own horn. It was really convincing, guys. You should’ve seen it.

The second audition was a commercial for diapers. I’d rather my cat shit in my mouth while I’m sleeping than have to clean gross baby poop off one of those alien-looking newborns, but I did it anyway. This is my job, remember? So I got there and surveyed the waiting room and saw the dreaded Future Me: women with short hair and red lipstick wearing dark blue blazers and Banana Republic trendy jeans with high-heeled brown boots and turquoise earrings. The brief said officewear, but I had an audition before and after this one, so I wore Levi's and a white shirt, which probably makes less "young mum" and more "despised aunt".

I got callbacks for every single one of those castings. So unless I die in a botch-job face-lift accident before filming, I can’t wait for you guys to see me in "mom" ads knowing that I keep Plan B tucked under my mattress and have my first abortion doctor all picked out already.

Follow Melissa on Twitter: @MelissaStetten

Photography courtesy of meinmyplace.com. Illustrations by Sam Taylor. Follow him on Twitter @sptsam or visit his website at samtaylorillustrator.com.

Previously: Everyone in My Hometown Thinks I'm a Superstar