The story behind “The Old Bag”
By gayle lagman-creswick
(Note: I do not know if this letter was from a Colorado, Nevada or Arizona reader. It was written in regards to the “Ask the Old Bag” column in Colorado, which was the old name of my Arizona and Nevada column. I mentioned this in my Gabby Gayle column last month. So I will answer it for both!)
Dear Gabby Gayle:
You write a column with wisdom balanced by levity. Why perpetuate such a silly, outdated term used to denigrate older women? “Old Bag” is much like “Old Fart” for men. Do these titles appeal and are they even humorous in our current culture when we are trying to uplift women of all ages?
A few years ago, some women were complaining about the name of my column, “Ask the Old Bag.” So I took a poll and also asked them to suggest a new name, if they wanted it changed. I said I would change it if I received more letters wanting it changed than wanted “The Old Bag” to stay. The ones who wanted it changed won by two letters in Arizona and Nevada. However, the Colorado readers voted to keep “The Old Bag.”
Years ago, my office was in a retirement community in Scottsdale. While waiting for the elevator one day, there were three ladies sitting together nearby. I overheard one saying, “Who is that lady?” The other answered, “I don’t know, but she sure looks like an old bag.” I looked around and saw no other person. They were talking about me! I took the elevator to the first floor and went into the restroom and looked into the mirror. I did look like an old bag. Then I smiled and I did not look like an old bag anymore. I said to myself, “You are going to have to smile more, you old bag.” I told this story to my friend Peg and she thought it hilarious and has called me “the Old Bag” since. I relate this story for two reasons. Sometimes hearing yourself called an “Old Bag” can be a real growth experience! The other reason is that today I believe we are getting carried away with political correctness. It is okay to make light of ourselves. I can call myself an “Old Bag.” However, I would never call another woman that… I don’t think!
Dear Gabby Gayle:
I heard you joined a dating site and I figured if you could do it, I could do it. My very first experience was not good. This woman’s profile said she had a “few extra pounds.” That was the understatement of the year. She must have weighed 300 pounds and was about six foot tall. She could have been the center for the Green Bay Packers. My second experience was better and I am dating her. Please tell your readers to be honest.
Thanks for writing. I cannot help but wonder how many beautiful women or men were overlooked because they were heavy. I will know we have arrived when we can look at the heart of another instead of size, color, etc.
Dear Gabby Gayle:
Why is it that at some doctors’ offices you have to wait for up to two hours and at others you wait five or ten minutes? The other day I waited two hours. I had to take time off work to go to the doctor. My time is valuable too!
Certain doctors get called away for emergencies or to deliver a baby, or even for personal reasons (they probably have families, too). If there is going to be a wait like that, the office person should tell you and give you the option of coming back for another appointment. I had a lawyer friend who waited two hours and sent the doctor a bill for the two hours at his going rate, which was $150 an hour. Surprisingly, the doctor paid! Always complain or it won’t get better. In this day of writing reviews online, I suspect it will get better! I guess I am lucky; I rarely wait over 10 minutes.