I realize that many of you refer to us in the older sense because 1) it's a term of endearment, 2) it's an expression of affection, and 3) it's true. To this day my husband still calls me his vieja in bed with that special twinkle in his eyes that means he's about to roll over and fall asleep. I know that he--and you--don't mean anything hostile by such references, but it's belittling to those of us who can carry groceries in the bags under our eyes.
I recently sauntered past a gaggle of young hooligans standing on a street corner. They had obviously been drinking. They were the kind of ruffians I used to gleefully flirt with and then cruelly ignore.
"Can I help you across the street, abuelita?" one of them had the audacity to ask me. POW! I punched him right in the kisser. Nobody calls me abuelita. Not even my grandchildren. What's left of them.
"The next time you talk to me," I warned him, "it better be something inappropriate and sexist!" Whatever happened to those admiring ch-ch sounds Hispanic men used to make whever I would wiggle by?
The last time I was in New York I forgot which city I was in and kept asking for directions to Chico's Tacos, but that doesn't mean I'm closer to the end of my days than to the beginning. Sure, the only thing that gets me moving these days is Ex-Lax, but that doesn't mean I'm antediluvian. It just means I have such a wealth of experiences that some memories shove the others out of the way. Did I mention I've been to New York?
For our part, elderly--I mean, mature--Latinas need to stand up and demand we be sexually harassed just like our younger rivals. When my group of geriatric friends and I get together we call this the "anti-mija" factor, and then spend the rest of the day getting soused.
So, please, treat me with respect, and I promise one day I'll do the same for you...
Fifty Shades of Satire