“A handbag?” – Lady Bracknell, The Importance of Being Earnest.
The English are very polite. I was reminded of this at the end of my first Pilates class this week. Somewhat zoned out from having reconnected with my pelvic floor, I watched the others take a black water bottle from a ledge and return to clean their mats. Following suit I took a water bottle and the Japanese style cleaning pouch next to it. I was giving my mat a quick spritz when a woman tapped my shoulder.
“Excuse me, I’m sorry, but that’s my handbag.” She said.
On closer inspection, there was no denying that the object in my hand was indeed an embroidered silk purse. I was mortified. In my defence I do live in LA and it’s been a while since I’ve seen a cleaning flannel.
So moving swiftly on… I was going to tell you why I changed my age on Facebook. Once I turned fifty all Facebook adverts changed. Gone were the aspirational Caribbean cruises, the timeshares in Anguilla, the hotels in Paris, the perfumes, vintage wines, images of Tuscany and everything else that made life worth living. Even the mildly irritating ads for neck creams and teeth whitening were absent. Overnight they were replaced with ads for elasticated trousers, incontinence pants, comfort shoes, stairlifts, crematoriums, funeral parlors, arthritis medications and Alzheimer care homes. Who wants to be reminded of their mortality every time they go online?
Facebook algorithms are designed by people who passed mathematics at school and understand nothing of the lives of those of us who failed mathematics at school. They target our ads according to outmoded stereotypes of age and thus I decided to change my birth date. I am twenty-nine on Facebook. Life is glorious with streaming ads for discount trips to Vegas, Airb&b’s in Spain and cocktails on the Riviera. I do see a lot of engagement rings and baby pictures though… so if you feel you are being targeted, why not change your age? They let you do it a few times so have fun. Create your own algorithms. Why not? Do let me know if you do. We could start a movement together. Let’s take control.