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to not get what the phrase 'women of a certain age' means??

(32 Posts)

hmm I find this phrase really meaningless, where did it come from!?

Dexterrocks Fri 03-Dec-10 19:24:51

Does it not refer to woman experiencing the menopause? That is what I always understood it to mean anyway. Maybe I have been misunderstanding everyone's euphemisms for years!!
I will watch this post with interest just in case!

tinselthechaffinch Fri 03-Dec-10 19:30:53

I'd think it's probably intended to refer to someone over 35 ish.

Sounds a bit sexist though, I'm not sure why <ponders>

masochismTangoer Fri 03-Dec-10 19:31:29

I thought it was a euphemism for the menopause and all mad odd behavior that can cause?

query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE4D615 39F931A35754C0A963958260

"The Oxford English Dictionary defined that sense of certain as "which it is not polite or necessary further to define."

...
Reached in San Francisco, Dr. Rubin, whose book indicates she is now in her early 70's, was surprised to learn of the long English history of the phase because "it has a long history in French, where it refers to women of fortyish and thereabouts who are able to initiate boys and young men into the beauties of sexual encounters. The early use in English seems to be about spinsterhood, but the French meaning has nothing to do with marriage."

dexter73 Fri 03-Dec-10 19:35:45

I think it means a menopausal woman too.

AgentZigzag Fri 03-Dec-10 19:37:08

I thought it was 'women of a certain age' said with a kind of les dawson bosom heave, and is talking about the menopause.

Over 35 tinsel?? Shit, I'm a woman of a certain age with that definition shock

I love MN, always an answer to everything LOL!!

I just find it a bit coy and patronising, also sexist but again not sure why??

motherinferior Fri 03-Dec-10 19:41:29

I think it's used by err women of ahem my age when we are coyly feeling that we don't want to be 'middle-aged'.

I am 47 btw. A presentably youthful 47 but 47's 47, really, innit.

motherinferior Fri 03-Dec-10 19:42:21

I like to think of it as a French 'femme d'une certaine age', you see, in a vaguely Catherine Deneuve-ish way.

Which would work a lot better if I weren't a short lefty type who wears thermal vests.

masochismTangoer Fri 03-Dec-10 19:42:52

Because it has derogatory connotations - only applies to women and obviously not young nubile young woman. Connected to spinsterhood - not a state that has a lot of social status.

Often used in derogatory way - women of a certain age should not dress/behave like that.

Quattrocento Fri 03-Dec-10 19:43:38

What I think it means is that it is the sort of woman who would like an electric blanket for christmas.

So age isn't so much an issue of physical age - but a state of being.

masochismTangoer Fri 03-Dec-10 19:45:13

motherinferior - I took the French meaning to be like the USA "Cougar" ie predatory older woman after young male flesh.

traceybath Fri 03-Dec-10 19:45:29

I agree with Mother smile

But died a little inside when I read Quattro's post as did indeed have a lovely fleecey electric blanket for christmas 2 years ago blush

masochismTangoer Fri 03-Dec-10 19:47:25

So age isn't so much an issue of physical age - but a state of being.

I need to change my state of being - switch from sensible mum mode to fun loving just over 30 ish woman else that electric blanket is going to start looking appealing.

mousesma Fri 03-Dec-10 19:48:02

I think it refers to frumpy older women who think Bon Marche or Per Una clothes are trendy rather than vivacious older women of the Helen Mirren variety.

Not to do with age as such more about attitude.

motherinferior Fri 03-Dec-10 19:48:06

I've always worn vests, though. Even when young and relatively nubile.

I still wear quite short skirts, albeit with thick woolly tights.

5Foot5 Fri 03-Dec-10 19:48:37

Oh I like your definition Quattrocento!!

I rather thought I might be "of a certain age" (I am 48) but I definitely don't want an electric blanket so that is alright.

A friend of mine had another definition which might be relevant - when you are younger if you happen to fall over then you say "I fell over". When you get "to a certain age" then you say "I had a fall". Or is that a Northern thing?

Anyway - thankfully that doesn't apply either. Not that I fall over very often.

masochismTangoer Fri 03-Dec-10 19:52:23

I still wear quite short skirts, albeit with thick woolly tights.

At least you have a skirt - not like on this thread
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/10954 74-to-be-a-bit-surprised-at-how-many-people-look-l ike-theyve-forgotten-their-skirt-these-days
clearly DH is correct am I have started to channel my mother ( from 100 miles away not from beyond the grave grin).

traceybath Fri 03-Dec-10 19:54:28

You see I wear short skirts etc etc but still like a toasty bed.

Hmm a state of mind eh... Are we talking elasticated high waisted trousers and decorated cardies from per una? I imagine a woman in her 50s going by comments on this thread.

ontariomama Sat 04-Dec-10 02:56:44

Its that time of life when you dye your hair menopausal red and get a bob cut..... "cause blonde looks too young, and black bleaches you out, but a nice warm auburn will put the bloom in your cheeks" : )

echt Sat 04-Dec-10 05:07:26

I think it's the age when a woman stops being called "hot", and if she's lucky, gets called "elegant".

Don't get me started on "well-preserved" or "spry".

Yours menopausally, and, at the moment hot, but it's Aussie heat not, you know.

Echt.

sunnydelight Sat 04-Dec-10 06:21:15

It's when even the flirtiest French waiter called you Madame rather then Madmoiselle!

Beattiebow Sat 04-Dec-10 07:06:26

it's when you start wearing sensible shoes.

maybe footglove or the like.

onimolap Sat 04-Dec-10 07:11:43

I thought it was just one of those mildly irritating euphemisms for people who don't want to give their age.

But when I try to picture someone who fits the description, I get someone 45-55, who has clearly aged naturally somewhat; but who still has definite (but discreet), possibly dangerously edgy, sex appeal.

Right so now I'm imagining Glenda from Eastenders (for those who watch) rather than Carol grin

mousesma Sat 04-Dec-10 10:14:04

I actually think Carol as the dowdier of the two is more a 'woman of a certain age'

agedknees Sat 04-Dec-10 11:08:03

I think its the age you become the invisible woman.

Isn't it a phrase that only men of a certain unpleasant character use? I think it is a derogatory term and if anyone uses it near me, I would ask them to explain themselves. Hayah! (that is a karate chop noise btw)

Can't bear this sort of low level misogyny

Anniegetyourgun Sat 04-Dec-10 18:06:08

I'm not "a certain age", I'm an actual age, and I don't mind telling people what it is.

(51, since you were going to ask.)

adrenalinejunkie Sat 04-Dec-10 18:07:22

i hate that term , i also hate milf , she looks good 'for her age' and cougar, cougar makes me think of a woman prowling the bars for young men and dragging them home in her jaws . IM married but if i became single and had the choice of tired older man with a paunch or young hot stud with lots of energy and a six pack the six pack would win every time
(ps im not saying all older men have paunchesand if george clooney wanted i would be more than happy to give him a shot)

Chandon Sat 04-Dec-10 18:18:50

am I the only one thinking of the Tina Turner song?

WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE
THEY LEARN TO RELY AND JUDGE ALL HIS RESPONSES
HAVING PLAYED THE MATING GAME
SHE'S DOESN'T WASTE TIME ALL THAT SHE WANTS IS
REALLY HONEST EMOTION
ONES HE CAN'T HELP BUT SHOW
THOUGH I HARDLY KNOW YOUR NAME
I KNOW ABOUT LOVE AND I KNOW

I DON'T WANNA LOSE YOU
I DON'T EVEN WANNA SAY GOOD-BYE
I JUST WANNA HOLD ON THIS TRUE LOVE TRUE LOVE

WOMEN WHO HAVE MADE MISTAKES
ARE A LITTLE AFRAID
THEY DON'T LIKE TAKING CHANCES
SHE WILL PLAY THE WAITING GAME
SHE'S NEVER IMPRESSED BY THE MANLY ADVANCES
I KNOW I'VE JUST MET YOU
MAYBE I SHOULD KNOW BETTER
BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT ME THAT WAY
THERE'S SOMETHING INSIDE THAT'S SO RIGHT

I DON'T WANNA LOSE YOU
I DON'T EVEN WANNA SAY GOOD-BYE
I JUST WANNA HOLD ON THIS TRUE LOVE TRUE LOVE
I DON'T WANNA LOSE YOU
AND I ALWAYS WANNA FEEL THIS WAY
'CAUSE EVERYTIME I'M WITH YOU
I FEEL TRUE LOVE TRUE LOVE TRUE LOVE

Anyhoo, I think it in the UK it is a term used in a somewhat derogatory manner to describe women over, say, 45, who are to be pittied, because "past it".

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