Where Did This Lady Come From?

by Amelia Wilson

The first time someone addressed me as anything other than a girl, I was nineteen years old and working at a sporting goods store over my summer break. The mother of a young boy was trying to wrestle a can of tennis balls away from him so that she could put it up on the counter to pay.

"Come on, Peter," she said (yes, I still remember the kid's name). "Let me give this to the nice lady so we can go home."

I was startled. It even took me a moment to realize that she was referring to me. LADY? Moi? I'm almost sure that I looked down at my own chest-- taking in my modest bosom, jeans-clad legs and sneakered feet. But I was a girl! Couldn't she see? Not a *lady*! Not a grown-up! Eew!

Well, that was a decade ago, and I'm still not sure I've got this what-I-am thing figured out yet. At 29, even the most euphemistic assessment would no longer land me in girl-dom. And I'm a feminist, damnit! I'm not supposed to be hanging on to youth obsession. Except that my aversion to being labelled by my age has never had anything to do with beauty and its attendant neuroses-- it's just that maturity has never seemed terribly *fun*.

Women. Ladies. Adults. Somehow those words represented all things stuffy and serious and too-dignified-to-scrape-your-knees. You know. Uncool. Fuddy-duddy. Ick. Yet, suddenly in the past year, being a woman/lady/adult hasn't seemed so bad after all.

I've gotten married. I've bought a house. I've started a business. All very grown-up things indeed. And you know what? I've realized that I'm still the same. Just because I pay my bills on time doesn't mean that I don't still sometimes laugh so hard that milk comes out of my nose. And treating clients in a professional manner and negotiating contracts has nothing to do with whether or not I still like to run around in the yard for no apparant reason.

In fact, maturity and responsibiIity have not stopped me from cracking dumb jokes, eating pop-tarts, sweeping dirt under rugs, buying toys, singing badly, gossiping with friends, watching too much TV, or any of the other goofy things that I hold so dear to my heart.

Yep. I'm a woman. I'm a lady. I'm a grown up. And that's just fine with me.

Amelia Wilson is a writer and designer of World Wide Web sites, including NrrdGrrl! an online haven for independent-minded women. She lives in New York City with her husband David and 2 crazy kitties, Toby and Ms. Pickles."

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© Copyright 1997 - Amelia Wilson. All rights reserved.