Katy Guest: Young enough to have a ball, old enough to know how

32 is the perfect age. But is time running out?

Related Topics

Inside my bathroom cabinet, in case of bad-everything days, I keep a photo of myself at the seaside when I was just 16. I was a size eight. My hair was blonde (it was summer). My teeth were straight (I'd just had my braces off). And I was utterly, truly minging. No matter how bad the hangover now, despite the crease on my forehead that appeared overnight the time I was dumped, I will never look so cripplingly awkward again. I do feel sorry for the immaculate teenagers in Skins and Beverly Hills 90210. What do they have to look forward to when they are old and slightly crumpled?

It is nice to know that I am not alone in this; but there is bad news as well as good in the latest survey about us modern women and our crazy lives. Thirty-two, my age, is the year when most women felt most attractive, confident and comfortable in their bodies, it says. The glass-half-full brigade feels duly vindicated. The rest of us realise that it's all downhill from here.

Last week, Scarlett Johansson confessed that she, too, wishes she were 10 years older. "I look forward to that time when I'll be able to have more of a life that I have experienced to put into roles," said the pneumatic 24-year-old, who recently married. She has a point: those "experiences" that contribute to your immense wisdom at 32 are still to be experienced at 24 – and most of them ain't going to be pretty. Unfortunately, you can't fast-forward until you are old and clever.

There are drawbacks as well as advantages to being the perfect age. You must always get drunk at parties or people will assume you are pregnant. The only clubs that play music you like are gay bars; you become a kind of mascot to semi-naked men.

Contrary to popular opinion, not every single 32-year-old is desperate to get married and breed. My admiration for the novelist Jilly Cooper evaporated last week when she said: "I think many women... would feel a bit frantic to find someone if they were still single at 32."

Nu-huh (as we like to think the kids say). Those of us who were born in the 1970s are apparently going to live to 120 – that's 90 years to spend with someone who passed his peak at 17. And single men the same age are complicated souls. The clever ones want a tormented relationship that will form the basis of the thinly disguised roman-à-clef they are really writing soon. The dumb ones are, well, dumb.

Thirty-two-year-old women know what they want: that's fun, bacon sandwiches, no bullshit and lots of sex with someone they get on with and is relatively clean. Thirty-two-year-old men want to take cocaine and play football while they still can.

A spokesman from the bottled water company that conducted this research says that "women are more confident and wiser at 32, [but] they still have a wild side, which is very attractive to men. They have a confidence in their looks, their ability and a control over their destinies that wasn't achievable in their twenties."

I have three months left at my physical and emotional peak, and I intend to use them wisely. Fortunately, as I am 32, I have the wisdom of Solomon. So I'll see you at the disco, drinking for two, and flirting with gay men. Dorian Gray in the bathroom cabinet will still look worse than me in the morning.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Professional Sales Trainee - B2B

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: First things first - for the av...

Recruitment Genius: Creative Web and UI Designer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced creative web and...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£17000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity is now ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Charles Kennedy: A talented politician and a great friend, with a shared enemy

Alastair Campbell

Caitlyn Jenner's first shoot is a victory - but is this really best version of femininity we can aspire to?

Sirena Bergman
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral