Now that the cat has tumbled mewling out of the divorce bag and she's begun saying nasty things about her husband in public, pop icon (popcon?) Madonna is at a metaphorical crossroads. Where do you go once you've escaped suburban Detroit banality, conquered the grimy 1980's New York City club scene, become a music and fashion superstar, attempted acting in movies and Broadway plays, borne approximately 143 reinvention comebacks from your be-hot-panted loins, settled down with a film director husband and cobbled together a hodgepodge of children, become a fitness-obsessed British lady, written children's books, directed your own film, worked your arms into clobbering, veiny horror shows, and then suddenly the happy quiet marriage dissolves and you're free to be yourself again? What's a material girl to do? We'll offer some suggestions after the jump. Become a Worldly, Knowing Head of State She's not tearing up the charts like she used to, she's not setting hearts aflutter, she's not even shocking anyone anymore. It's time we all—bourgeoisie and rebel—face the Music: the Age of Madonna has ended. Hell, the Age of Britney has ended. The pop music world is now dominated by skinny, moaning white boys, fiercely syncopated black ladies, and throwbacky retro British chicks. There's no room, really, for a 50-year-old with a message. Which is why Madge ought to hang up the riding crop and rest comfortably on her throne as the lifetime achievement Queen of Pop. (There's a spot next to hers where Michael Jackson should be sitting, but that whole thing went off the rails somewhere a few years back). Let the young ones claw their way around the industry, hoping for some attention. They're all trying to be Madonna anyway. Why mess with a classic and release subpar albums and muddle through rickety tours? Take a break, babe. You deserve it. And hey, now that your husband's out of the picture, you can declare Prima Nocta and bed every Joe and Jim Jonas who comes sexually blossoming across your path. They're yours by right. By Godly cree. Pause For Some Introspection The great thing about being a fabulous, wealthy, creative superstar is that when you fuck up or are fucked over, you get to stern your face up, put on some amazingly big sunglasses and be strong about it. People will call you a hero simply for breathing in and out, putting one foot in front of the other. So maybe Madonna should emulate her adopted country's stiff upper lip, turn inwards, and then a year or so from now, release some quiet, heartfelt album about what it means to be 50-years-old and alone again (save for those kids, but whatevs). Pen some soaring tunes with lyrics that talk about change and rebirth and the mystical cycles of things—the moon spins and so do wheels and carousels and what's so amazing that keeps us stargazing and how are we moving forward if all we're doing is turning around and around. That kind of thing. People will call her brave and reinvigorated and the definitive voice of her generation. (The funny thing being that Madonna's fans have generally always been just slightly younger than her.) She'll play Carnegie Hall and maybe even chat with someone on NPR and she'll finally get that classiness she's so desperately craved ever since she had a fleeting taste of it back in the Bedtime Stories/Evita days. Go Crazy Yeah, maybe she should just go nuts. Turn into an eccentric woman-of-a-certain-age. Hole up in her London apartment and emerge only to yell at songbirds or snatch cats off the street or go floating down the street swathed in caftans and turbans. She could say big, sweeping, beautiful things like "What a world it used to be, the old world. It's dead now. Dead and gone. In the old world we had parties every day and nobody cried because they were sad. Even when we were sad, we were happy." And she could become a drunk and always have some glass of amber-colored something or other swirling around. And maybe she could grab beautiful young men by the ears and cock her head a little nuttily and say, almost to herself, "so pretty. Pretty pretty little pet. I wonder how much you are. Everything's so expensive these days. Everything costs so very much. Don't they, pretty pet? Don't they..." and then she'll glide off cackling. It could be pretty fucking awesome, and at the young age of 50, she'd be getting a good head start on it. It could grow and change and evolve over the next 30-plus years! By the time she's 85, she could be writing long, curious letters to the editors of various newspapers in South America, accusing lampposts of being Nazis and calling the neighbor's dog Mussolini. And it would be fabulous. Or, you know, she could just continue working out and raising her children and maybe spend a little more time in New York than she has been and that will be that. Maybe she'll move to Connecticut and buy a Volvo. The world will just have to wait and watch. And really, isn't that the wonderful thing about Madonna? You just never know what's coming next.