Molly Innes: Middle-aged? Moi?

I have long regarded myself as 'on the cusp' of middle age. OK, it takes about three hours for my face to settle down in the mornings and lose the pillow marks. And half a bottle of Frizz-Ease to get rid of the electrocuted witch look.

But yesterday, as I caught a glimpse of my sixteen year old son's budding mustache I suddenly wondered if my own budding mustache might not be equally visible - in a certain light.

Perhaps it's not so much on, but over, the cusp.

There have been other clues. Like when I explained to the optician that I might need to change my prescription because of the hours I spend in front of the computer and he smiled (oilily): 'that, and they number of birthdays you have enjoyed, Madame.'

Then last week, I was at the doctor, berating him about my absolute, permanent exhaustion and he ask, flipping idly through my notes, 'and you're now how old? 51? 52?'
What?? I thought Frenchmen were meant to be natural-born seducers…I am not 51. Or 52. (Close, maybe.) Surely he could tell that just by looking at me. (Obviously not.)

The final humiliation came on a recent trip to London. On a red London bus, in fact. A charming young man, sitting on one of these sets reserved for war veterans and the elderly infirm, got up to offer me his seat. And, no, I wasn't carrying any heavy shopping.

Poor lad. Part of me was enchanted by his impeccable manners. And he wouldn't have understood why I promptly burst into tears.

Anyone else been getting any warning signs lately?

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