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Norb’s Corner: “Girl, you’ll be a woman soon.”

Are we too obsessed with titles? When does a girl start being called a young woman, or a woman? When do we start calling a boy, a young man, or a man? Is it their first job? Is it their age? Is it possibly the age of the beholder? Most places usually mark this difference at 18, but how are you to know how old a person is? Do you ask for a copy of their birth certificate? Is using the wrong title an offense?

The reason I ask these questions is because a friend of mine was doing a restaurant review and they called the person behind the counter young girl. A reader said she should have been referred to as a young woman. Maybe it is a feminism issue. In my opinion, this depends on more than just one thing.

Boy, when referring to a male might have racial connotations, so I don’t use this except when referring to a relative. I have a granddaughter that works as a greeter at an auto dealership and she is only 16. Is she a girl, a young woman, or a woman? Many women in their 30’s, 40’s or older participate in a “girl’s night out”. If they call themselves girls, can I, as a man, be allowed to call them girls?

How about driving a car? When I was younger the drinking age was 18 the same age that you could get your night license. But due to the fact I took Driver’s Education, I was able to obtain my night license at 16. This enabled my buddies and me to go to bars at night and because I was driving, a few bar owners assumed we were 18. We used to drink in Erie County bars until they closed for the night at one o’clock in the morning. Because Niagara County bars closed an hour later, we would then speed north and would close the bars up there.

The legal definition of adulthood is 18 at which an individual is legally considered an adult in New York State.

The legal definition of adulthood is 18 at which an individual is legally considered an adult in New York State. But that is still too young to drink in New York so how can you be an adult? How can you be considered an adult in order to join the military at 18? But why, if you are old enough to die for this country, can’t you have a drink until you are 21? Methinks this is a double standard.

When I was in the Navy, we visited the Caribbean. While there I bought several bottles of rum, my alcoholic beverage of choice. I was 20 at the time. I assumed I could do this because my home of record was in New York and the Navy never stopped me. We landed in our home port of Newport Rhode Island where the drinking age was 21. They threatened to confiscate my booze unless I could find someone over 21 to take possession of this for me. Long story short, I managed to find someone who did this for me for one of the bottles. Four fifths of rum went home with me shortly after that.

You could put young adults into a special category, adolescents, but that is just another title. Then you have to figure out where the subjective point is when society decides they’re actually adults. I guess it all depends if you think the idea of being “men” or “women” implies being a responsible member of society capable of making “adult” decisions. Decisions that reflect the values of society. That’s a valuable opinion but it doesn’t always work. I know several young people that have the maturity of adults and a few that I would classify as children even though they are over 21.

I think that once you have hit reproductive age, if you can have children, you’re an adult. You are an adult physically but you probably aren’t an adult emotionally. You have the desire to do adult things but you probably can’t handle them. I think it’s charming to see people who have arrived at that point as they try to figure out how to handle it. I believe they still need to be protected though from being preyed upon due to their naïveté. That doesn’t change the fact that they’re still adults.

Guy or gal can be used in almost any situation, and can refer to a person of any age, however, it’s more common to use the term for people under the age of 30. However my wife and I have been called “guys” by servers when we went out for dinner who are young enough to be our grandchildren and I assure you that my wife will never be mistaken for a guy.

I think woman is fine when describing a female above the age of 18, and woman is probably preferred by most females that are above the age of 18. However, it’s perhaps more customary for women above 25 to be called a woman, and under 25 to be called a young woman.

It doesn’t seem to matter what you call people, someone will always disagree.

I wish to thank those readers that take valuable time out of their busy schedules to read and comment on my articles. I appreciate it.

Lead image: placardmoncoeur

Written by Norbert Rug

Norbert Rug

Norb is an independent journalist and blogger from Lockport. His work has been published in over 50 periodicals and websites including the Buffalo News, Lockport Union Sun and Journal, Niagara Falls Gazette, the East Niagara Post, The Lockport Star, The North Tonawanda Extra, the Niagara Reporter, and Artvoice. His work has been published on Press Reader, Good Cookery, the National association for Home Care and Hospice, and Konitono. , in over 7 countries and has been translated in at least 5 languages.

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