Gen X Dream Girl Phoebe Cates Turns 50


I’m turning 50 next year, and I can’t decide if hearing that Phoebe Cates hit that miserable milestone first makes me feel better or worse.

As the girl in the red bikini in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Cates climbed out of a pool and was pause-buttoned into the brains of millions of teenaged Gen-X boys, where I’m pretty sure she remains.


Meanwhile, almost as many Gen-X gals, including me, are jealous as hell:

Phoebe Cates married the talented and adorable Kevin Kline in 1989.

She dropped out of acting, opened a cute little Madison Avenue boutique called Blue Tree, and still looks exactly the same.

What’s not to hate?

Anyhow, by sheer coincidence, Salon just posted a piece called “Generation X Gets Really Old: How Do Slackers Have a Midlife Crisis?” so I guess I have “getting really old” on the brain.

Strictly speaking, I’m passed “midlife,” but, hey, I’m still always up for a “crisis.”

Turning 50 is bothering me a lot more than turning 30 or 40 did, probably because of the whole menopause thing.

When I was doubled over with cramps at 14, I couldn’t have pictured myself decades in the future, crying in the drugstore, overcome with bittersweet tristesse at the sight of — I kid you not — towering rows of Super Ultra Deluxe Maxi Pads (Unscented).


But anyhow, happy birthday, Phoebe Cates.

Now when Molly Ringwald turns 50…?

Oh, man. We should probably start prepping now, Y2K style, for what I predict will be a nation-wide meltdown.

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