Fighting off ageism

Forget growing old gracefully. Come back in 15 years' time and you'll probably find my teeth in a glass beside my computer.New legislation means my employer can't now get rid of me just because I'm old.

Forget growing old gracefully. Come back in 15 years' time and you'll probably find my teeth in a glass beside my computer.

New legislation means my employer can't now get rid of me just because I'm old.

As of the weekend - October 1 - ageism in the workplace is now outlawed so the colleagues who call me 'old love' and inquire loudly and with heavy sarcasm: "Are you all right, dee-ah?" when I dither over something had better watch out - the grey roots army is on the march.

Memo to boss: It has come to my attention that male employee X is behaving in an ageist and discriminatory manner as he winked at the pretty young woman who sits next to me and not at me.


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Regards, Lynne

Memo to Lynne: I have spoken to X. It wasn't because she is younger than you are it was because he fancies her and he doesn't fancy you. It's a new law, not a ruddy miracle.

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Regards, boss

But I know my rights.

For a start, don't call me old. From now on I shall expect this word to be referred to as *** .

The ***ies will be back in among the little knot of people at the coffee machine in the morning… as soon as they add hot Bovril to the choices, of course.

In job advertisements it will be unlawful to specify an ideal applicant's age in job advertising and even using words like "energetic" might fall foul of the legislation.

Anyone who has seen a Twenty-something arrive at the office on a Monday morning after a weekend of partying will know that the word "energetic" does not solely exclude the ***.

I may struggle with the stairs when my knees seize up in cold weather but I have seen young hangover victims wince when attempting to blink.

I may not have the body of a 30-year-*** (although 30-year-***s are still welcome to apply) but I have the heart and soul of a young woman.

My mind, except for the bit that remembers names and why I went upstairs, is still as energetic and enthusiastic as ever.

Indirect age discrimination could also be a problem - eg I read that "asking for a minimum length of experience in a particular field could exclude certain age ranges".

My experience in a particular field or indeed in any field is almost non-existent although I think I may once have had a moment of passion on a public footpath.

At one point I had the impression that people who might like to leave work before the imminent new statutory retirement age of 102 might find it more difficult now that age is without meaning.

I had visions of tired ***er people devising ways to get themselves sacked by perpetrating incidents of drastic bad behaviour.

Mild transgressions only get a verbal warning, followed by a written warning and so on but this process might have taken years.

No, it would have to have been something b*** and unforgivable. And before you imagine this might be stripping off and running naked round the office shouting 'I want to be a tomato' I can tell you now that you probably won't even get a verbal warning for that one. I've tried

All you'd get for that would be a sympathetic word from the company doctor who will warn you of the dangers of sitting naked on an unfurled paperclip. Meanwhile, your office 'pals' will have gleefully posted the pictures on the internet.

Happily, it seems I can put aside thoughts of any such unpleasantness as people will still be able to retire early if they can afford to do so. (102, then)

No, for crabby old harridan like me (I'm allowed to say that because I'm not going to sue myself) it looks like as if it is all good news.

Crabby, I may be; old, I may be; harridan I may be - but who is brave enough to tell me so?

Ok, ok, form an orderly queue…

At last, I have a proper scientific reason for being hopeless at sport - my ring finger isn't long enough.

The ring finger of great sportswomen is longer than their index finger and, if anything, mine is slightly shorter.

Whew, I am so glad I didn't bother to try.

It was a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that finger length ratio can predict a woman's sporting prowess.

And that's probably down to genetics - so it's my parents' fault.

Women with longer ring fingers than index fingers (and a low ratio between the two) reported better performance at running and running-related sports such as soccer and tennis.

Taking this a step further, my hypothesis is that where the inverse ratio exists then the opposite effect occurs.

Thus, I am genetically pre-disposed to inactivity - I am lazy through no fault of my own.

At school my PE teachers wrote despairing comments on my end-of-term reports.

“Lynne would be better at games if she occasionally remembered to bring her PE kit.”

“Lynne has exhausted the range of excuses to avoid games.”

“Lynne plays hockey like a veteran… of 80”

“It would help Lynne if she managed to arrive on the netball court sooner than 20 minutes into the lesson.”

If only this new scientific information had been available to me back in 1966, when I really hated PE, I could have got my mum to send a note.

Dear Miss Fitt, Lynne is excused games because her ring finger is too short. Yours sincerely, Lynne's mum.

Now I fear I may have to shelve my athletic ambitions indefinitely. Sad, but it's in my genes.

It seems that my ring finger is only good for one thing… rings (husband, please note).

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