The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine

The Midults’ guide to…

The new buzzword


THERE IS A NEW linguistic tic on the block. ‘Literally’ (‘I literally died,’ ‘I was literally speechless,’ ‘I am literally going to kill him’) is, happily, on the wane. It is a blessed relief that ‘actual’ hasn’t stepped into the breach. As in, ‘What the actual?’ and, ‘It was an actual baby/penguin/crisis.’ Those two words are, thankfully, rather unfashiona­ble these days.

‘Right’ is hanging around. As in, ‘I know, right?’ and, ‘You’d think, right?’ and often just, ‘Right?’ Always with an upwards, California­n intonation.

But the new one that we are having to tackle and increasing­ly include in our every waking sentence is… ‘even’. As in, ‘Who even am I?’ and, ‘Who even are you?’ and, ‘What even is this?’ Our endlessly scrolling eyes have absorbed this micro-horror through Instagram and, well… Are you even alive if you haven’t heard it?

So we thought, are we even Midults if we don’t explore this phenomenon? Today you will find us in deep philosophi­cal mode, battling with the concept of our own identities. Asking the difficult questions. Are you even ready?

1. Are you even normal if you don’t keep all the old cables in your house just in case someone comes round with a Nokia and urgently needs to connect it to a fax machine?

2. Are you even in an airport if you don’t eat everything you can get your hands on because airport calories don’t count?

3. Are you even human if you haven’t experience­d a stabbing pain in one of your organs and thought, ‘Ah, it’s finally happening.’

4. Are you even a feminist if you don’t tell angry-looking men that they are much prettier when they smile?

The linguistic tic we are increasing­ly having to include in our every waking sentence is ‘even’

5. Are you even woke if you don’t refer to Bradley Cooper as Man Gaga?

6. Do you even work in an office if you don’t complain about the temperatur­e all day?

7. Are you even a grown-up if you don’t walk into other people’s bathrooms and wonder where they hide their antidepres­sants?

8. Are you even a grown-up if you don’t moan about being tired every second of every day?

9. Are you even trustworth­y if you followed your heart and it didn’t lead you to the fridge?

10. Are you even on a trampoline if you don’t slightly wet yourself ?

11. Do you even get an organic vegetable box if you don’t cry every time a turnip arrives and then order Deliveroo?

12. Are you even a woman if you haven’t tried to feel nothing and accidental­ly felt everything?

I’m Absolutely Fine! A Manual for Imperfect Women, by The Midults, is out in paperback on Thursday (Cassell, £8.99);

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