This ‘elderly’ lady is pissed off. And please note, you younger pensioners, that despite 60 being the new 40 one automatically becomes ‘elderly’ at age 50 – so please read on and inwardly digest. What’s pissed me off? It’s something we pensioners need to address right now and as loudly as we possibly can.
Patronisation! The overly solicitousness of those who view a few grey hairs on our heads or a few wee wrinkles, see the word ‘elderly’ hovering like a crumbling halo over our heads. This makes them react by instantly offering unwarranted assistance.
Studying this phenomenon shows that it is applied far more frequently to women. Men folk, even struggling along with a walking frame, are usually granted their dignity – they are left alone.
Women are asked (in a voice usually reserved for very tiny children) ‘Can I carry that for you?’ ‘Would you like a chair?’ ‘Can you manage?’ ‘Are you all right?’ A few years back, a chap beside me waiting for a walk light to turn green, suddenly grabbed my arm and said ‘I’ll help you across’! The cheek of it. I thought to shout out ‘Un-hand me, Sir’, but he would doubtless not have known the expression.
It is not that I am ungrateful…I lie…I am. I would be very grateful had I asked for assistance, but the assumption that I need it pisses me off. We women fought long and hard for our equality (we still have to) and are only too aware that we need to pay for it. We no longer expect doors to be opened for us literally or figuratively. We no longer expect an adult to give up a seat for us. We can open our own car doors and get out. We can, and we prefer to.
I suspect that junior citizens assist those they consider past it in order to boost their own egos as in, ‘Poor old duck she’s past it, but I’m all right, Jack’. Ooh, now there’s an idea. You know how the phrase ‘pro-life’ was coined to suggest that those who held a pragmatic stance on abortion would be deemed to be anti-life? Well, let’s coin junior-citizens to denote those who sadly lack our accumulation of knowledge, experience and wisdom.
And let’s reclaim the 50 is elderly label and make sure everybody 50 and below is junior. That’ll show ‘em.