In a recent column, I rambled on about how things used to be. I also shared a view that could have been understood to say “women weren’t part of the workforce like they are now (which is part of our problem)”. That isn’t what I meant, but that is how it read to the women who quickly shared their correct view that what had been written was offensive.
I could have spared myself a lot of trouble if I had just listened to my editor and lovely wife, Kelly. Observant readers will recognize here that Kelly is a woman and was warning me about something that would be offensive to women.
This sage advice I ignored because I had four sisters, raised my daughter alone, and have basically spent a great deal of my life around women. Even the dog is female. I automatically put the seat back down in the bathroom. I am trained. I am sensitive. I get it. But I am still a man.
It appears I really don’t get it, after all. A lifetime of having women in my life didn’t qualify me for anything except being wrong (yet again) about women. Like all men, I am a slow learner and deeply convinced of my cleverness. Of course I knew how women think. I naturally appreciate how women feel.
Well, I was wrong. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend with chickens, you still can’t lay an egg, no matter how much clucking you do. That I may have lived in the henhouse doesn’t make me one of the chickens.
What I should have done when my wonderful bride suggested the column needed some sensitivity work was to thank her for sparing me the embarrassment I was heading for and embrace the changes. After all, I was getting advice from a highly qualified person to speak on what might offend women. Kind of sounds like a no brainer as you read this, heh? (Instead, I did listen to the editors who called with comments in time for an improved column to be submitted.)
The ridiculous part is that if a person of color had suggested I was being a bit offensive, I would have listened. Make it about women and for reasons that have no basis in reality, I thought I knew what I was doing.
What has all this got to do with aging? Nothing, I guess. It just goes to prove one can get older without getting wiser. I’ve got grey hair. I’ve got knees that crackle and pop when I get up out of a chair. I’ve dealt with a lot of women over a very long time and all I know for certain is that I’ve got knees that crackle and pop when I get up out of a chair.
Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident, but accidents happen.