Recently, while noticing my feet in the bathtub, I realized it has been decades since I had overheard indirect meant-to-be-overheard comments on my appearance as I walked by. Things like “I don’t like her hair” or “She should wear more makeup.”
Going about my everyday business was the equivalent of parading on a stage in front of judges at a beauty contest, though the people making those comments did not themselves appear as qualified as judges, or decent human beings, as the judge who repealed the federal mask requirement. She was deemed unqualified by the American Bar Association, and was appointed by the person previously occupying the office of president after his election loss.
I do not miss those days.
That does not, however, mean I am jumping with both feet into the celebration of cronehood, which seems to be a thing now. Aside from a couple of my Facebook friends who are my contemporaries, most of those celebrating are 15 years younger than me, which would make me post-crone.
Maiden, mother, crone: each based upon the state of one’s reproductive organs.
None are words I wish to be identified by.
I have some objections to trying to reclaim or redefine this term, the first of which is, as an old fogey, I simply don’t like adopting new definitions of words.
If you “impact” something, in my mind (and please don’t) there had better be an extinction event afterwards; if you “align” anything, it ought to be your ducks in a row.
While languages and women’s bodies undergo changes naturally and inevitably, the recent redefinings have the marks of marketing upon them, as if coined by consultants corporations hired to “engage” employees with exciting bonding exercises such as giving all the employees plush stuffed fishes with which they are supposed to wildly gesticulate when disagreements arise, even perhaps tossing them at each other to remind them they are members of a team who should shoal together.
Having been several times through corporate consultants’ employee-engagement processes, one of which ended with every member of the team hating every other member and taught me that half my team lied through their teeth regularly, the only reason for the existence of corporate consultants I could conceive would be a way of paying some board member’s hapless nephew money which ought to have gone to the employees actually doing real work.
Which brings me to the second reason I don’t want to identify or celebrate cronehood.
As the word “corporation” arises from corpus, therefore also corpse, so “crone” comes from “Old Northern French caroigne ‘carrion, cantankerous woman’, caroonje ‘carcass, old ewe’ and Old French term Charogne, meaning corpse, carcass,” according to Google’s English dictionary via Oxford Languages.
A perhaps not fully multilingual company has named a perfume “Charogne” and describes it thusly: “CHAROGNE 100 ml - €140; Floral, Gourmand, Leathery. The skin is soft and warmed, yet in some spots almost transparent. Opalescent lily. Forsaking flirtation and prudery, the beauty reveals her inner self, daring to expose herself as she truly is, superlatively nude. It is the perfect moment. Ripe flesh awaiting to be picked. Undaunted, she casts aside the urge and it is now in complete silence that the fatal attraction operates.”
Please don’t ask me to consider myself a crone. No, thank you.
My feet, however, look as young as they ever did.
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