Commentary: How Old Is Too Old To Be A "Young Woman"?
Submitted by ErikaJ on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 12:13.
My attendant-services file says I'm a creative, highly intelligent young woman. In addition to the embarrassments inherent in having an attendant file, I'm feeling relegated to life's kids' table by that remark, although I suppose it was nice for the last worker to write in it to leave things on a decent note. And I'm not an old woman, for sure, but at 35 years in this body that wasn't even supposed to leave the hospital, ain't I a woman? Full stop? I ache like a woman, I want things like a woman, I 've got debt collectors mispronouncing my name like a woman. Can we let "young lady," take her seat on the graveside of my personal history along with channels ceasing programming at midnight,3 1/2 floppies, and my regrets about not winning all those slamming MTV "Let A Rockband Take Over Your House" contests from back when?(I suspect if I had won, it would have created a huge PR challenge, though. Everybody wanting to trade places with the crippled girl. OMG.) I'm not exactly *insulted* by the usage, but it no longer seems appropriate to be addressed by the same terminology my mother used to get me to stop picking my nose in fifth grade. Even though I'm nobody's wife or mother and I'm not rushing off to some office job in my little Target Separates... .I suspect I'm making a big deal out of this because it does remind me of my eternal lack of place, the thousands of days being neither fish nor fowl, and the "friendly" disrespect with which social services is permeated. Like when the apartment I shared with my disabled roommate was always "the girls'" Even though there were a lot more dudes, sometimes it got up my butt and I'd ask those in charge whether they'd ever call an apartment shared by two guys in a sea of estrogen "the boys' place" I don't know why that awkward silence afterward was such a sweet reward. Because after that we got the Jean-Harris-jail-memoirish "ladies", which didn't make me feel better at all and probably scuffed up the 1995 edition of that same file, to boot. These days, I can see why people treat me like a teen. I have my first responsibilities, but I still have to ask for rides and a trickle of cash. But I feel older than the hills sometimes and hardly glow the way a smart young woman ought to. I guess I'm just awaiting my next instructions.