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Do you ever think about who you might like to be when you are an old lady? Have you ever considered that you might be best suited for a life as a Salty Old Broad, a la Cloris Leachman? Yes, Cloris Leachman, who is 82, and who, when asked what she would do next with her career (after appearing on Dancing With the Stars, ew), responded thusly:

“I could get pregnant,” she said in an interview in her trailer, where, completely coincidentally, she insisted on changing out of her ballroom gown in front of a reporter. “I’ve got a bit of time before my next project. Maybe I’ll be on ‘American Idol.’ ”

God, Salty Old Broads are the best Broads of all. They get to drink and smoke and say whatever the hell they like because everyone agrees that they are old and kind of crazy. Age gives the Saltiness of the Broad in question a sort of bawdy gravitas; she’s seen whippersnappers like you come and go, and she knows that the problem is not that she doesn’t take things seriously, but that you assume they should be taken seriously in the first place. The Wife of Bath? That was a salty dame:

He was, I trowe, twenty wynter oold,
And I was fourty, if I shal seye sooth;
But yet I hadde alwey a coltes tooth..
As help me God, I was a lusty oon,
And faire, and riche, and yong, and wel bigon,
And trewely, as myne housbondes tolde me,
I hadde the beste quoniam myghte be.

Yes, “quoniam” means what you think it means. Yes, that is awesome.

There are days when I wake up and feel old and kind of wonder where I am going with my life; then, there are days when I remember the Salty Old Broads of this world, and realize that my most awesome years are yet to come. My only regret: every Salty lass must pass through an inevitable period of Quirky Aggression. Read, friends, and tremble.


  1. James wrote:

    Yes, quoniam means what I think it means: because, or since. That’s what you’re talking about, right?

    Monday, October 20, 2008 at 1:25 pm | Permalink
  2. Sady wrote:

    James, would it interest you to know that there is a scholarly paper on this very subject? Because I found one! New favorite opening for a Serious Critical Sentence on Literature: “when she has occasion to mention her pudendum for the fifth time…” Ha ha, we’ve all had nights like that, amIright?

    Monday, October 20, 2008 at 6:03 pm | Permalink
  3. James wrote:

    You know, now that I think about it, this actually makes quite a lot of sense. The Wife of Bath says

    Where can ye saye in any manere age
    That hye God defended mariage
    By expres word? I praye you, telleth me.
    Or where comanded he virginitee?

    Because these words are an explicit textual challenge to the haters, we know that the Wife of Bath can, in addition to her many other skills, read Latin. Would we expect any less of her than such punning?

    Monday, October 20, 2008 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  4. Rachael wrote:

    I love your blog. I’m reading all the entries and just eating them up.

    I also fear aging at times, and when I do, remembering these “Salty Old Broads” brings me comfort as well.

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 10:58 pm | Permalink
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    Love love love your blog. Like Rachael above me, I am currently engaged in reading all of your entries (huzzah for slow work!) and just love it.
    I’ve never really stopped to consider “salty old broads” when I fear aging, and truth be told I do not entirely fear it. Dying perhaps, but not aging. I blame the amazing women in my life for helping me grow up without entirely considering this fear. The older I get the more amazing my life becomes, bit by bit. My mother has expressed to me more than once that you’re only as old as you feel, and other than the fact that one’s body always seems to be in a constant state of change she just never felt any older than she did in her 20’s. You live, you learn, you add to your experiences, but you’re not “too old” for things if you don’t want to be.
    I never intend to be either.


    Friday, May 8, 2009 at 11:43 am | Permalink