Once, Twice, Three Times An (Old) Lady

It is Groundhog Day, so is it okay to say that this week has been Crazytown Bananapants, even though I started out my last post in that exact way? Yes? Okay.

Something happened yesterday that got me thinking; what I wanted to write about today is not the topic that I am about to embark on, so my Theory of Behavioural Economics As It Applies To Shopping Carts will have to wait until next time. There’s a teaser for you! I just like to keep things fresh, and my readers on the edge. Next time, I promise.

What I want to talk about today is Aging.

I’m going to come out and say it: aging does not bother me. For one thing, I would rather age than be dead, which is the only other option. Also, I think life becomes more interesting, colourful, and nuanced with experience and age. Sure, my roots may be grey for two out of five weeks, sure, I might feel like the Crypt Keeper some mornings, but in general, I think with age comes not only wisdom, but interesting experiences.

Side note: my friend (HI DENISE) told me that I’m actually very lucky to be so grey, because “granny grey” is the hottest new colour trend. I looked at her with extreme skepticism, but it turns out that she’s right. I should have known, she’s actually one of the most fashionable people I know, you should see her shoes, for the love of god. My hair therapist informed me that many, many girls and women are opting for granny grey, and honestly, who knew I was so in vogue? Certainly not me. But I am not ready for that step. It’s one thing to be a sweet young thing with stylish granny grey hair, it’s quite another for me. This is not unlike wearing knee-length, round collared, floral-print dresses; if you are of a certain age it might look cute and hip, but if I tried that, I would look like my own grandma wearing a housedress and would only require a pair of sensible shoes to complete the ensemble. Maybe a strategically-placed pin so as to ensure no possibility of cleavage would be revealed. And a slip.

Do women still wear slips? I remember it being a little risque, at least in my family circle, to not wear a slip. Does anyone wear a slip anymore? Do they even sell slips anymore, now that Sears is no longer in business? I have so many questions.

Another side note: I had brunch with a group of women that I hadn’t seen in eight years. Eight years! (HI LADIES) The years have been exceptionally kind to them; not one of them looked any different from what they looked like eight years ago. All of them retained their youthful, unlined faces. In particular, one of the women who shall remain nameless for the purposes of privacy but who knows who she is (HI) is turning fifty this year and she does not look a day – NOT ONE DAY – over thirty-five, with her dewy, glowing complexion. This is in comparison to me, one step away from becoming an apple doll. Jealousy is an ugly thing and yet, I cannot help but be envious, and to stock up on retinol.

Ah, vanity.

But something happened yesterday that made me feel older; older than not really knowing who anyone is who is featured in People magazine or on awards shows, older than having a discussion about arthritis with some of my students, older than realizing I am now dependent on my daily dose of special vegetarian glucosamine, older even than when I realized my friends looked the same as they did eight years ago and I, most assuredly, do not.

I got called “young lady.”

Now, it’s not like I don’t get called “young lady” often – after all, I spend a lot of time at the Co-Op, and older gentlemen often refer to me as such. But there is something very different about being called “young lady” by an octogenarian who is thanking me for moving my cart so he can reach the high-fibre bran cereal, and a fellow who is much, much younger than me.

Frankly, it made me feel like I was in the nursing home and a nice intern referred to me in that jokey way that people do when it comes to the elderly, as a “sweet young lady.” Or maybe in a would you like to be wheeled over to the arts and crafts room, young lady? We’re making macrame owls! kind of way.

Don’t get me wrong, I was not in any way offended by the greeting. I would never be offended by a kind and heartfelt greeting, which is what it was. And anyway, what’s the difference between that and being called “miss” when you’re clearly a “ma’am?” Or being called Senorita when you are obviously a Senora? Technically, there is no difference, and YET THERE IS. I cannot put my finger on it but the difference is as gaping as a plunging neckline in need of a pin, or maybe a nice brooch.


  1. Yeah I think at some undefined point Young Lady goes from fine to condescending and I’m certainly in that zone (unless, as noted it’s some 90 year old person calling me that, in which case everything is relative).

    I generally don’t mind aging except that I do resent the drop off in my physical condition. Specifically, when I was in my 20s I could miss a week or two of exercising for vacation or illness or work or whatever and then jump right back where I was. Now if I miss a week or two I have to dig out of the pit and claw my way back to where I was. My mind insists I can keep behaving like I’m in my 20s when my body clearly informs me that that is not the case. I’d just like to be able to maintain my fitness level when I go on vacation or get a cold for crying out loud. Sigh.

  2. My last eye doctor was in the habit of telling I was “not 18 any more,” but he retired.

  3. Macrame owls – *dies laughing*. Aging is hard, but I agree with you – it beats the alternative, and the few fucks I give are a decent trade-off.

Leave a Reply