I’m Not Talking!

Apr 06


“I’m Not Talking.”

This will come as a shock to those who know me, and may raise the related question: Will you also stop blogging?

Hell, no.

I’ll blog away blithely (blithely blog away?) in order to clarify that initial comment. And I do have some serious “splainin” to do.

The thing is this, for a long time so many things I say turn out to be either politically incorrect and/or potentially offensive to someone, somewhere, somehow. And this is getting seriously out of hand.

For example: I just read in the Times that if you refer to a “mature” woman as “young lady,” you are actually insulting her, calling attention to the fact that she’s not young at all.

Jeez Louise!

(And Louise Gikow, I hope you will respond to this in your usual unique and insightful way, although a simple, “Right on” will do. Just don’t say, “You go, girl,” because, oh, you know.)

I often use the terms “young lady” or “young man” in what I mean to be a humorous context. Those I am addressing know all too well that they are not the young things they once were, but using these phrases, to me at least, conjures up those gentle reproaches we used to get from our elders when we WERE young.

But that‘s me. Apparently, I have been guilty of inadvertently hurting the feelings of many a mature person, including, potentially, my gentleman friend: we’re too old—There I’ve said it!— to call each other boyfriend or girlfriend. Anyway, he’s a tad younger than I, so does that count? The man doesn’t seem to mind, and just smiles when I tell him to respect his elders.

Hello? Folks? This is called being playful. And it didn’t used to be fraught with danger.

On a more serious note, I am so afraid of saying the wrong thing, or god forfend, using the wrong pronoun, when talking to or about anyone other than those who are obviously heterosexual, that I tend to say nothing. Me! Say nothing! It’s an affront against nature.

Hmmm. I probably HAVE affronted nature. Odds are good. I remember using the term “Mother Nature” more than once. Who does that offend? Fathers? Mothers? Mothas? This cartoon character? Must be somebody. Mother Nature could probably cancel me in a heartbeat, if she/he/it/had a mind to.

And so, dear reader, in this Age of Covid, when I can’t do so many things, including hugging my family and friends, I must watch every damn thing I say for fear that the wrath of the Politically Correct Police will come crashing down on me. I’d prefer a friendly word or two , but that’s the way the conversation crumbles these days.

That recent item in the Times put me over the edge, and if I didn’t have this blog where I can speak my mind, lord knows what I would do.Something really terrible, like telling someone that they look good on Zoom. Or using “him” instead of “them.” Or calling someone, “young man.” Them’s hanging offenses in these parts, and don’t you forget it, young lady/man. Or do you prefer not to specify?

And to further complicate things, I just realized that we say, or used to say, “young lady,” but not “young gentleman.” Sexist pigs that we were. “Young woman” was also used, but to less comic effect. No problem these days because any attempt at humor is a hazardous endeavor.

And this is why, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I vow to say no more.

Wanna guess how long that will last?

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