“Have a seat, young lady.”

May 28, 2018

Like millions of women, both old and young, I have been called, “young lady” a billion times and I’m heartily tired of it.

The other day I went in for a routine chest x-ray. The technician called me “young lady” and made not too funny jokes, thinking to put me at ease, I guess. I’ve had tons of chest x-rays over the years. There is nothing scary about them.

When I pointed out that I wasn’t young. He made jokes about my being 20 years younger in “Bob years.” His name was Bob (not really – of course I changed it.)

Do I want to be 20 years younger? Well, it would be nice if my body was 20 years younger, but I’ll keep my brain and my experiences at 75, thank you. If you think you’re flattering me by calling me young you obviously think there’s something wrong with my actual age. I must be “over the hill.” Well, I’m still “climbing” and expect to keep climbing until I die.

But I think “young lady” is always an insult regardless of its intent. Even when I was thirty I didn’t like it. I remember clearly thinking, “I’m not a lady, I’m a woman.” (Actually, I remember thinking, “I’m a grown woman.”)

What is the difference? “Lady” used to be term reserved for woman of middle or higher class – not for all women. “Ladies” were not really allowed to fully grow up. They were kept ignorant of many things that were not considered acceptable for “a lady’s ears.” They were not allowed to study certain subjects (architecture was reserved for men even after WWII), to enter in any profession except teaching (and then you had to quit if you got married), and even by the time I came along it was frowned upon if a “lady” worked as a waitress or a sales clerk in a department store.

For me when I’m called a “young lady” the implication is that I’m curtailed in what I’m allowed to do. I have to behave in a certain “lady-like” way, I have to cow-tow to the men in my life, I’m not allowed to go to certain neighborhoods, or have friends who are not in my “class.”

Well, phooey on that!

I’m a strong seventy-five-year-old woman. I have an exciting future in front of me and much of it, like my past, will not fit in the former “lady-like” requirements.

Just watch what happens the next time someone calls me “young lady.”


In my book, The Earth Woman Tree Woman Quartet, the protagonists, who have shape shifted to the form of one of their Tla Twein (see former post “Exploring Our Tla Twein”), are trying to bring humans back into the sacred Dance of Life, the Tsin Twei.  You can order print versions from Powell’s Books or your local independent bookstore, or purchase print and ebook versions at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Want to explore your own Tla Twein? In the fall I will be presenting a workshop in Oakland, CA where we will move and sing, write and create art work in search of the reason our particular Tla Twein call us. Contact me at connie@deephum.com for more information.  Put “Tla Twein Workshop” in the subject line.

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