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A Huffpost columnist recently wrote that ageism is the last acceptable prejudice and I couldn’t agree more. This may be just another flash of my curmudgeon badge, or you can chalk it up to becoming a cantankerous seventy-something, but these seemingly harmless comments that appear to be complimentary, are just not. Every single one of us will eventually get old.
What can I do for you, young lady? Spoken by a hardware store clerk, a waiter, or a gun-runner.
I am obviously not a young lady. Would you say, “Can I help you Gramma”, to a thirty year old? Being defined as young is not necessarily taken as a compliment.
You and fill-in-the-blank are adorable! (said if two people over fifty hold hands or exchange a kiss in public)
Puppies and kittens are adorable—not two consenting adults. Can’t an older couple show affection without being adorable?
You’re sharp as a tack!
Oh your hair is gorgeous! I keep waiting for my first grey hair and all I get is this dark brown.
Usually spoken by someone who has been dying their hair for ten years.
She is 90 years young.
Don’t assume that young is the default for good and that old is the negative.
You don’t look 73.
Of course I do (Sometimes I tell them I’m eighty-five.) This is what 73 looks like—some droop, a few wrinkles, a lot of grey hair; but no cane, no walker, no attendant. The entertainment, beauty, and fashion industries gain a lot by encouraging people over fifty to do anything possible, at any cost, to appear younger. Fly your freak flag, I say.
Why, you’re still swimming (or skydiving, or working, or robbing banks)!
Everyone over fifty is not in decline. BTW, why is “spry” used only to define older people who operate on a quick, nimble, physical level? No one describes an agile thirty-year old as spry. Just sayin’.