Ronni Age 7
Sensing Some Loss

Grumpy Old Men and Crabby Old Ladies

Crabby Old Lady is miffed. Next week, on 21 December, BBC2 will broadcast – in England - a comedy program titled Grumpy Old Women.

And Crabby was not invited to participate.

It’s enough to turn a Crabby Old Lady even more cantankerous, cranky and crotchety. She is feeling thoroughly dyspeptic and ill-humored and she has been irascible, irritable, peevish and surly ever since she discovered the existence of this show. She is deeply offended at not being included.

And, what were they thinking in regard to the title? Everyone knows old men may be grumpy, but old ladies are crabby. And do please note: we are ladies, not women. Crabby Old Lady has a ring to it. It rolls off the tongue with lyrical ease and sings of self-parody, irony and jest while leaving room for the significant and serious. "Grumpy old women" lands on the ear with a thud.

But then, BBC2 probably thought they had no choice. They are trying to capitalize on two seasons of a phenomenally successful four-episode/one-special series titled Grumpy Old Men wherein a bunch of not-so-old (35 to 54) celebrities bemoan the state of the world around them. In naming the spinoff, the producers – not a group that is widely known to respect the audience - undoubtedly believed viewers are too dumb to make the connection between the phrases grumpy old men and crabby old ladies.

Or, they were being excessively literal and too thick to see the more elegant symmetry between the male grumpy and female crabby.

Because she has never seen them, Crabby cannot critique the programs, but the men, it seems, take on such topics as cell phones, body piercing, designer clothing labels that spell the F-word wrong and one of Crabby Old Lady’s favorite rants, telephone menus.

Most intriguing to Crabby, however, is a short clip from one of the Grumpy Old Men 2003 programs speculating that grumpiness is bred in the bones:

“I’ve been grumpy since the age of ten,” says Sir Bob Geldoff, “so it wasn’t a generational shift. I never expect anything to get better. I just am grumpy.”

“I didn’t turn into, at the age of 30, a grumpy old man,” say Rory McGrath. “I was a grumpy teenager as well.”

And a Brit television star whom Crabby can’t identify is downright churlish about his fans. “I’m a bit of a grumpy old bugger, really. And sometimes it is really difficult to be nice when people come up and say, ‘Hey, I’ve seen you on the telly. How’s your dog?’ And you’re thinking, ‘Actually, I just want to go empty the bloody dust bins now.’”

Crabby feels a kinship with these guys who wear their grumpiness proudly for as Geldoff says, “If you aren’t grumpy, that means you are content with the world. And who could be that?”

If you want to see malcontent, just ask Crabby about being overlooked especially when BBC2 - program title notwithstanding - is encroaching on her territory. Elliot Gould was the token Yank for the men and he’s hardly famous at all anymore. Surely Crabby Old Lady could have been the token lady Yank.


IN UK parlance, crabby is probably slightly worse than grumpy. Grumpy is tolerable, crabby has connotations of being rather nastier.

Well Ronnie

If after reading this...should the BBC2 ever poll the USA for opinions on their Telly programs, I'm going to put my two cents worth in for you to be right along side of Elliot.

So twaddle to them.

I would send my sympathetic feelings your way, Crabby, but I suspect that you just used the occasion to show off your erudite spelling capabilities. Wow!
I told you a few days ago that being ill-humored was in the male genes. Well, perhaps it's also a state into which female genes mutate with age?? Go for it, Crabby. If BBC should call, I'll send them your way.

Slightly off topic, but Microsoft have a 'Crabby office lady - solid advice with an attitude'. See

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