I discovered today, for the first time, a new word and a new identity. I am, it turns out, a Xennial. Not old enough to be Generation X, not young enough to be a Millennial, thank God. I am something between the two. And I am disgusted.

The reason I am disgusted is that I have inwardly cultivated a persona that closely matches the one above. I am 40-something, with the body of a 20 year-old and the temperament of a 70 year-old. I shun all labels, especially one as prosaic and non-entitical as Xennial.

If you’re bothered, you can find out if you are a Xennial here.  Of course, I passed.

Like all these kind of stupid labels, it is doing the rounds across the British press today. Which only goes to prove how transient it is. I know nobody who knows they are a Xennial. Nobody in the real world has ever used it in writing or speech, not once.

So: no real people use it. Point one. Point two is that the word looks and sounds stupid. Point three is that it defines a group of people, which incidentally is running all of Silicon Valley at the moment, in terms of being ‘in between’ two other groups of people. This reduces it to the status of the word tweenager, which is equally repellant. Again, real people do not call themselves tweenagers.

Point four is, like The West and The Public, which also do not exist, it is stupid to group millions of people together based on what year they were born or where they live. I have very little in common with anyone who lives near me, and precious little in common with other 40-somethings.

I’m still young enough to consider a long umbrella or cane a fashion accessory rather than a mode of transport. Still young enough to wear a flat cap and be considered fashionable.

But I very much feel that I am old enough not to be not one thing nor another, something between some other people, half of which are so old they no longer make sense and the rest who are so young they never made sense at all.

I have quite a lot in common with three boys who were in my kindergarten class 35 years ago although, to be honest, two of those three are so different from me now that you wouldn’t realise we went to the same school in 1980.

So forget it. I will not be pigeonholed so that some five-year-old journalist can write an article about millions of people I have nothing in common with. You need to do better. I am happy for you to use words such as renegade, renaissance and raconteur.

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About Author

P. C. Dettmann is the London bureau chief and contributing editor at The Z Review. Born in Hull, living in London, he is the author of Locksley: A New Spy, Ernest Zevon, and as Paul Charles, From Beyond Belief and Kicking Tin.

2 Comments

  1. 40… so old!!! Do you use a walker? Do you still have all your teeth? How can you still have the energy to type?

  2. Dude you don’t have the body of a 20yo. You look 40 something. And if you are 40-something, you are definitely Gen X (at least in the US).

    When did you first start seriously using the internet? If it was post-college –> Gen X. See, its that simple, you are old!

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