The Thirty Club

Spending timeWe go into the evening like wild jackals hunting down furry prey. OK, not prey so much as wheat beers and ribs. But today we must welcome our youngest member, Collin, into the Thirty Club.

Welcoming someone into a club is one of the major perks of being in a club. There is usually a festive atmosphere and some variance of hazing, camaraderie and old war stories. When membership in said club is imminent, either because you can’t choose against joining (age) or have already ‘signed the papers’ (your wife is pregnant) then the veteran members of that club like to exaggerate the difficulties which come with membership in the club.


Two reasons: It’s fun to watch the new guy sweat and misery loves company.

It’s no fun to tell newcomers how easy and smooth things will be. Mothers never tell pregnant women that labor’s a breeze; they always talk about 61 hour back labor with no anesthetic and a ska-loving doctor. Veteran expatriates always – myself included – regale newcomers with stories of 17 hour waits at the foreign police office, shoving matches with Russian Mafián and bureaucrats who were obviously kicked out of the SS for not being cuddly enough.

As we welcome our youngest brother into the Thirty Club this evening, I find that we are doing very much the same initiation. His eyes are growing wide with terror, though that could be the whiskey. Here’s the gist of what is said.

Food and Your Thirty Year-Old Body

Your body will never enjoy the same relationship with food ever again. Each slice of pizza is just heartburn in disguise, waiting to attack you in the middle of the night. Each hotdog is an emergency sprint to the toilet. Ice cream, pancakes, sausage, all foods you love to eat will cause you a great deal of discomfort in parts of your body whose smooth functionality you have, until now, taken for granted.

And you will never believe that something you love so much can do so much to hurt you.

Sort of like babies.


As one friend told me as I was entering the Thirty Club: “It won’t take long for you to realize that you are thirty, but you drink like you’re twenty and recover like you’re forty.”

What’s a night of drinking and talking about the woes of the post-thirty something if you don’t talk about booze, right? Twenty-Nine year old Collin seems optimistic about his chances of not dying from a hangover on Sunday, but the thirty-somethings are far more pessimistic. Each shot is calculated in future head pain, each beer is weighed against gas and its ultimate destination hanging over our belts. It is painful.

Gone are the days that a hangover is measured in hours, parts of a day, or even single days; hangovers for the thirty-something are a three-day affair. I drank four days ago and just started getting over the hangover this morning. That hangover. The consequences of tonight’s shenanigans will be unbelievably painful tomorrow, and then linger for two more days in manifestations of exhaustion, anxiety or inability to do math. By Wednesday I might feel human again.

Wait. I am having ribs and probably won’t be in bed til late. So Thursday I’ll feel human again. Right in time for next weekend.


The post thirty-something makes decisions he never thought he’d make. Decisions that make the remnants of his twenty-something self cringe and hide his copy of Fear and Loathing as he buries his head in shame. The new thirty-something might find himself deciding to stay in and watch movies rather than go for a drink with friends. He might organize tax forms instead of going to a party. Oh, happily, by the way. Last year I gleefully cleaned my bathroom and groomed my cat instead of going to a beer festival.


Because your thirty-something mind has a whole different set of priorities than you’ve ever had before. These priorities are set by reasoning and a number of rationales. There is avoiding bodily pain and suffering, exhaustion and enjoying alone, pantless time. Moreover, after twenty-nine years of decisions that have led to stress, aggravation, trouble, frustration, and jail, it’s about time for a change, right?

Warning, for the first time in your life you might say this: “It’s pretty late, let’s have sex tomorrow.”

Membership Gifts

You might not be a ‘pill’ person, but you will be! You will surely go to aspirin to attack the headache that just sprang up in the middle of a movie. Or you might find that you are not the same person without your morning vitamin. Laxatives and stool softeners are a constant companion on weekend trips, because you just never know what’s going to stop you up after thirty. Especially if you eat like your age still starts with a 1-.

Medicines are a fact of life to the Thirty-something as is the genesis of your body’s slow decline. This is not to mention the lotions, creams, and tools you will need to ease hemorrhoids, moisten dry skin, soothe rashes, and pluck hairs that start growing out of spots you didn’t know could support hair growth. You will become very aware of your body.

Oh yeah, buy stock in antacids. Now.

The evening ends with several drunken thirty-somethings wandering to the KFC and making some very poor late night dining choices.


So, make that Friday.

Any of you post thirty-somethings out there have any more advice or comments for our newest member?

  1. #1 by Lonnie P on May 13, 2013 - 2:25 pm

    Happy birthday Collin!

    Also – the 30s brought along some bleeding-related bathroom trips that I thought only happened to people in Uganda.

    I now know that much like my girlfriend I’m only “spotting” and two days away from booze I’ll be back to regular* bowel movements.

    *Regular bowel movements in your 30s can be defined as slightly irregular bowel move your 20s.

    • #2 by Damien Galeone on May 13, 2013 - 3:23 pm

      LP, if you tell him all the fun that awaits what will he have to look forward to!?

  2. #3 by Tiffany N. York on May 13, 2013 - 5:42 pm

    Appreciate your knees!!! You’ll miss them most when they’re gone. The way I walk up stairs now is so NOT sexy. My knees crack and hurt when it’s about to rain. I can’t jump out of bed anymore. I sort of have to slide out gently.

    And no, the 4-day hangovers are not fun. I had half a bottle of wine the other day (amateur stuff) and the next day my stomach was blech and I was nauseous and cranky. Really?! I used to be able to do 15 shots of tequila when I was 14. Come on!

    • #4 by Damien Galeone on May 13, 2013 - 8:35 pm

      Good golly, you used to jump out of bed? I’m usually too busy crying to do that.

      I truly do have hangovers for about 3 days. I imagine one day gets added every decade. It’s why old people either never drink or never stop drinking.

  3. #5 by Ginny on May 13, 2013 - 8:18 pm

    Hilarious article, Damian, and great voice! As part of the thirty-something club I can commiserate on a few points.

    • #6 by Damien Galeone on May 13, 2013 - 8:37 pm

      Thank you! We should have a once-a-year thirty-something party where we talk about this stuff. Well, I guess that’s what high school reunions are for, huh?

  4. #7 by Renfro on May 13, 2013 - 8:21 pm

    Say goodbye to sleeping in. Regardless of the prior evening’s activities or when your head hit the pillow, you will wake up by 8am. Even more perverse is that you will grow to love it.

    Welcome to the club, Collin!

    • #8 by Damien Galeone on May 13, 2013 - 8:38 pm

      Man, that’s true! On all counts. I love it and I’m up early every day. We suck!

  5. #9 by Tiffany N. York on May 13, 2013 - 11:14 pm

    Okay, in truth I never jumped out of bed. I hate mornings. I don’t do them well. No one is allowed to talk to me until I’ve had my first cup of coffee. The only time I have ever jumped out of bed is when I’ve had to throw up. From drinking too much.

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