Q: Well, after getting scorched on your use of “young lady,” you need to hear from those of the aging male persuasion and one who is in complete agreement with my “elderly” sisters. I’ve never been called a “young gentleman,” but “young man” will draw a searing stare from me.
And don’t get me started on “spry,” a word you have used and which I’ve never heard applied to anyone under 70.
Jim Bangsund, San Jose
A: Spry is a no-no, too?
Q: As you are eating crow about referring to older women as “young lady” I will mention another one that bothers me.
Spry: You aren’t the only one to use that term for older people who are active. There’s a magazine insert intended for older adults called “Spry Living.” The term implies that older adults who are active are the exception and that it is expected that they are frail, so another adjective is needed to affirm that they are not.
Tom Farrell, Santa Clara
A: Tom turns 60 today and says, “I’m not quite old enough to be called spry.”
Q: I moved back home to Santa Barbara from San Jose 12 years ago, but I still follow your column every day. What a joy to laugh out loud Monday at the “young lady” and “month/year” sticker problem. Great way to start the day.
Jan Oldham, Santa Barbara
A: Let’s bring in another guy who loved to use the “young lady” line.
Q: I do not know if this helps anyone feel better about it, but a better-known idol than you has made the same faux-pas calling women “young lady.” I am talking about the late Alex Trebek, who routinely addressed female Jeopardy contestants that way. I sincerely hope his successors avoid the error.
A: Well …
Q: I just finished reading your “young lady” column. How Midwestern/older gentleman of you. Thank you for publishing that to add to my education. I’m sure that I may have inadvertently done the same thing.
Mike Cognitor, San Jose
A: And …
Q: I have been called “young man” several times, and I just smile. Why should this be patronizing? It is a harmless joke and a sign of affection. I am 77. Some people have thin skins.
A: They do?
Q: I cannot believe the “heavy-handed PC swat” you received about a term I use all the time — “young lady.” You clearly meant no disrespect, and I don’t think you deserve the response you got. You provide a great service and that puts you out in front for people to target.
Keep on truckin’.
A: That’s the goal for this young man.
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Author: Gary Richards