Richard Ord: Are funerals the new nightclubbing?

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Are funerals the new nightclubbing for the over-50s?

I ask only because an eye-catching survey out this week declares that 37 is the age when it is ‘officially’ too old to be seen in a nightclub.

Sounds about right to me. By my reckoning, that’s about the age I was last I was persuaded to step into a nightclub.

It wasn’t much fun.

I felt like a headteacher given a watching brief at the end of term fifth-form leavers’ disco.

A feeling only emphasised when one clubber nicked by mortar board while another wrote ‘kick me’ in chalk on the back of my cloak.

I don’t know, you try to dress with a little gravitas …

These days I have more fun at funerals. Come to think of it, I have more fun at funerals now than I ever did at nightclubs in my twenties.

For a start, you get better company. You see old friends and meet new people.

They even lay on free food and drink.

The door policy is a lot looser too. You can get in with trainers.

The music is sometimes an acquired taste and they don’t do requests, but there’s far less pressure to dance.

Admittedly the chances of pulling are limited at a funeral, but they were limited for me back in the day at nightclubs.

I’ve certainly been to more funerals in the last decade than I have nightclubs. Three in the last couple of months.

They are becoming more upbeat occasions. At one of them, the mourners were asked to turn up in Hawaiian shirts and shorts! The deceased had a good sense of humour. So much so, that I was relieved to see the rest of the congregation in Hawaiian shirts and shorts when I arrived.

It would not have surprised me if he had insisted that his funeral invitations went out with three wild cards thrown into the mix. One insisting mourners turn up in Hawaiian shirt, another as pirates and the final invite asking mourners to dress as an astronaut. Now that would be funny. Three people turning up in fancy dress while the rest are all in black.

“Who’s that guy in the space suit? Some people have no bleedin’ respect!”

My wife appreciated the sentiment, but said she wouldn’t want her funeral to be an upbeat affair.

“No,” she said. “I want everyone in black and in full mourning mood. I want tears and sobbing.”

I’m not sure if you can insist on people being upset, but I admire her honesty.

She went further. Pointing out that often the loved one left behind is expected, after a period of mourning, to find happiness again with a new partner. The theory being that the departed wouldn’t want their widow to live out their days sad and lonely.

“I’m not having that,” my wife said. “I expect you to stay single for the rest of your life. Pining for my love. Mourning my loss to your dying day.”

Jeez. What a thought.

Honestly, I almost called off the hitman...