On a recent trip to The Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville (fun for the whole family!), it came time for the traditional birthday shout-out. People raised their hands and, one by one, the M.C. called on them. His questions were the same for everyone. “What’s your name?” “How old are you?” But one woman (I’m guessing late-thirties), could not spit out her age. She was blushing and giggling and hemming and hawing. Someone finally shouted, “Move on!” Immediately, a woman who hadn’t originally raised her hand, raised her hand. She said her name. She said her age. Then she said that it wasn’t her birthday, but her daughter was with her and she wanted to set a good example.
I’ve read the “Don’t ask a woman how old she is” crap in several books. It’s always presented as a joke, but hearing it so often must leave an impression on the readers. And if we don’t need to reinforce those ideas in our books, then why do we? Don’t we have a responsibility as authors for children and teens not to perpetuate these ridiculous insecurities?
No. I don’t think it is our responsibility. Writing is an art, and we only have a responsibility to our art.
But, like finding stereotyped characters in a book, it’s often the sign of a lazy writer. Be interesting! Say something in a unique way! And besides, in my opinion, a woman who’s confident enough to tell her age…no matter what her age…is hot!
So, what about you? Are you hot? Prove it! Tell me your age. Cuz if you do, there’s something I wanna tell ya…
ACTING OUR AGE
Ellory (8), Jay (31), Genevieve (11), JoanMarie (30…and proud of it!)
At Farmer’s Market, we got some cool body art. They each picked their own designs. Then my nephew whispered into the artist’s ear the design to paint on my face…a heart.