What Pisses Me Off: Age discrimination

Sixty something. Sixty something is my age, not my waist size. I’ve never really been interested in age – always thought it was just a number, but when I came to putting it on paper, I thought “Sh*t, am I that old?”

So ‘sixty something’ is close enough and recently I have discovered that being that age can be so disadvantageous to you, especially if you are a woman.

You will notice as you read this that swearing, or “cussing” as the yanks say, will be frequently evident. Cussing, I like that word… anyway, to get back to it, I didn’t cuss before my 30-year relationship started to fall apart. Oh, there was the odd ‘bugger’ or similar, but believe me, when your partner, the love of your life, turns out to be a low life, you learn to use words you had only heard in movies. Words like ‘prick’ or ‘bastard’ – well you get my drift, don’t you?

Of course my friend Kandy knows all the right words to use to describe something or someone. The words that come from that woman’s mouth continue to astound me. I can only surmise that a cheating husband and the fact that she drove a very large dump truck at a mine have taught her well. She in turn, has taught me the few words I had not yet picked up by the time I turned sixty.  At least I am attributing some of my colourful vocabulary to her! 

All I know is that I know some interesting women, some bitches, some corporate types, some smart, some not so smart and some, I believe, even running them over with a truck will not make them any nicer. But they are all around the sixty something age, some not yet 60, others already past that milestone. The majority of them are now single and not always, but mostly because their cheating scum arsehole husbands have left them for “greener pastures”. Know what I mean girls?

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What does it mean to be a woman and sixty or thereabouts? Most men who bother to give me the time of day seem to think women over the age of 40 have nothing to offer society. Of course these are men fast approaching the 60 age group or already there. Men who nearly run off the road while driving because their heads have turned so far around to ogle a 20-something walking down the street, they look like a scene from the Exorcist. Men who believe they still look 40 when they ‘admire’ themselves in the mirror and men who need a dictionary to look up the words, love, trust and honesty.

Teenagers think 60 is old. They can’t imagine being 60 and although they have been on this earth for only a few years, they know way more than a 60 year old. Oh, I would love to be there when they are in my shoes. Perhaps they will remember me telling them that they too shall hit six decades before they know it and they too will be treated like bloody idiots.

Then there is my favourite – the employer. Now, in this country it is illegal not to employ someone just because they are of a ‘mature’ age. What part of that law don’t they understand? And if you are a sixty something woman, this makes it even more impossible to gain employment. Through actions more so than words, I have had one such person act as though I should be grateful he was even talking to me, let alone considering me for work. Which by the way, I didn’t get although I had 10 years’ previous experience – eight years more than him. He on the other hand, I believe suffers from small man syndrome. You know the type – short, sleek hair, too tight trousers and a shirt that only fits where it touches so he can show off his biceps. He looks down at himself when walking, just because he likes to look at himself. I know women like that too, but that’s another story.

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There was also the woman 20 years my junior who asked me would I be able to see well enough to do the job? Give me a break – really? Yes, I wear glasses for reading and computer work, but have done so long before I was 60, so it has nothing to do with my age. Bet she didn’t ask the cutesie young girl waiting in the outer office that same question – their loss, I say. 

And speaking of cutesie, in my experience cutesie will get you the promotion or the job ahead of 60, female and experienced. Just my opinion. Usually an employer will not give you a reason if they bother to contact you at all, but if they do it will not be that you are too old. I can just picture them sitting in their air-conditioned office, twirling the pencil and smiling down at the little cutesie, while thinking ‘how stupid was the sixty something woman to think she could get the job over this little cutesie?’. Well, I say to all such employers, get stuffed.

So now you are starting to understand what exactly I am writing about, sit back, relax and enjoy. Perhaps you will see yourself or someone you know in these words. Perhaps you will agree wholeheartedly or perhaps you will disagree. You may think I’m a crazy, bitter, twisted old woman. I can tell you, I am not old! Whatever you think, I hope you can relate to and laugh at these chapters that convey my life and the lives of others through the eyes of a sixty something woman.

Thank you to Fran for sending this in. What do you think? Have you had similar experiences to Fran? How have you been discriminated against in your 60s, male or female? Tell us below.