The Danger Of “Call Me Old-Fashioned But…”

Everyone has their pet phrases. My kids will tell you that one of my favorites is “patience is a virtue.” They will also tell you that I repeated it ad nauseam when they were growing up.

Another standby comes from my high school French class. Although I took five years of French, my knowledge is compacted to this succinct phrase: chacun à son goût.

Which brings me to the phrase: “Call Me Old-Fashioned, But….” It’s not a phrase that you’re likely to hear uttered from my lips. Yet, it is a phrase that seems to be everywhere.

From Cartoons…

'Call me old-fashioned and sexist, but our new boss is a woman. I'm not sure I can work for a woman.' 'Oh sweetie, you've been doing it for years. Here, go wash the windows.'











To T- Shirts

T shirt










To Snarky Postcards









To Truisms

Call Me Old Fashioned But 4


The problem isn’t the phrase or even the sentiment. The problem is hearing it from someone like me…a 63-year old female who is still in the workforce.

When you hear a thirty-something say,” Call Me Old Fashioned, But…,”it’s amusing.  You actually feel some empathy for the speaker because you hear in those four brief words a sense of resignation.They know by declaring they prefer things the way they used to be, they are saying good-bye to a part of their youth.

It’s hard to say good-bye to youth. But you can afford to be magnanimous to the past when you are still in your prime.

At 63, I don’t feel that I have the luxury of pining for the good old days out loud.  It is dangerous to go there. Saying things like “Call Me Old-Fashioned, But…” calls more attention than I want to the fact in two years I qualify for Medicare.

I want/need to be seen as relevant, capable, and adaptable to change. I can’t afford to give anyone the excuse of thinking of me as  “Grandma” or a “Dinosaur.”

My first pair of Fluevogs. The Prodigy which is a slingback is no longer available. Although the floral print is available in different styles.

My first pair of Fluevogs. The Prodigy, which is a slingback, is no longer available. Although the floral print is available in different styles.

While I usually think of dinosaurs as people who refuse to adjust to change, that’s the exact word I thought as I recently read about Weight Watchers current woes.

Two days after I started counting Weight Watcher Points again ( the fourth time), I read in the Washington Post  that Weight Watchers– the corporation– was losing too much — too many customers, that is.

Seems that people who want to lose weight are opting for free apps rather than pay the somewhat pricey membership fee for WW. While WW does help people lose weight, keeping the weight off is another matter. It’s not as if the 50- yea-r old company has solved the obesity crisis in America. It hasn’t.

As a result, the iconic weight loss giant is shrinking. According to the report,

 its third-quarter revenue had plunged to its lowest point since 2010, extending an unprecedented seven-quarter money-losing streak. Its market value has fallen to $1.1 billion, its lowest point in history.

Normally, I don’t get emotional when a business is forced to change strategy, shutter divisions or downsize. And yet, the news about WW made me a little melancholy.

I have no idea what strategic missteps the company has made. I have no idea if they could have done anything to thwart the “there’s an app for that” competition.

I think the melancholy was really more nostalgia.   Weight Watchers problems are  a reminder that the icons of my generation are fading in part because they are old-fashioned: Think Jay Leno and The Blackberry. In a competitive environment being old-fashioned means ” you no longer cut the mustard.”

It is mustard that is my most memorable Weight Watchers story. Long before I ever thought of joining Weight Watchers, I briefly lived in a sorority house where several of the “sisters” were on the program. At lunch one day they were eating iceberg lettuce with mustard on it and swearing to those of us watching that it tasted just like bologna.

I remember thinking at the time that what they were saying  was a bunch of bologna and that lettuce and mustard meal  prejudiced me against the Weight Watchers program for several decades.

Weight Watchers did help me lose weight. I am very grateful to the program. About six months ago, I wanted to see if I could maintain my weight loss without tracking points every day. Thanks to a rigorous exercise regime, I have managed to maintain.

Now I want to lose that pesky 10 pounds that seem to suffer from separation anxiety every time I try to get rid of them. They just don’t want to leave my hips.

Do I need WW to lose that weight? Of course not. There are plenty of great free apps for that.

But now, Weight Watchers is like an old friend and I am of the age that I don’t want to let go of my old friends before it’s absolutely necessary to say good-bye.



Call me old-fashioned,” Deepak said, “but I’ve always believed that hard work pays off. My version of the Beatitudes. Do the right thing, put up with unfairness, selfishness, stay true to yourself… one day it all works out. Of course, I don’t know that people who wronged you suffer or get their just deserts. I don’t think it works that way. But I do think that one day you get your reward.

Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone





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