• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Baby, It’s Cold Outside


I am what I am


Yesterday, I was at the gym reading about Kelsey Grammer’s divorce from his wife of 14 years. Kelsey, according to his ex-Camille, was going to New York to prepare for his role in La Cage Aux Folles (a production I saw!?!). She wanted to go with him, but he begged off explaining that the rehearsal schedule would be arduous, he’d never see her or the kids. Okay, she stayed in LA. Of course, you know where this is going. He embarks on a new relationship. (Yes, a flight attendant but so fucking what.) Camille finds out from a friend. And this is where my heart nearly stopped and not from my exertion on the tread mill. She called him to ask if it were true. She begged him to give their relationship another chance. She wept. What about the kids, the years together. According to her account he replied thus: Grow up.

When my husband worked for a major trade publisher, he asked for a raise and was denied. Then, he was offered a job by another publisher, nearly doubling his salary. When he went back to his employer with the news of the offer, she immediately matched it. He asked her where the money was just weeks ago when he wanted a raise. She said, Grow up.

What does it really mean, grow up? Does it mean stop pretending you don’t get what is happening? Does it mean I am far superior to you, child. Does it mean give up your foolish dreams? Does it cut to the chase? Or destroy it? What the fuck am I writing about? I realize I could apply those two words to about ten situations I’m in right now and I would feel chastened because all the angst and misery that pretends to be cloaked in some kind of confusion is bullshit. Grow Up!

Two questions: what the fuck is this post about?  Second: is there anyone you would like to tell to grow up and why (apart from me because this, after all,  is my sandbox).

36 Responses

  1. Sounds like a power play–a way to dismiss the person you have wronged because you have the power–the philandering husband vs. beseeching wife; the arrogant ex-boss vs. former employee (who bested her). Arrogant bullies.
    You can’t tell your boss to grow up without risking your job. No power.

  2. I think that telling someone to “grow up” is just another way of telling them to “deal with it”.

  3. To be fair to Kelsey though, expecting someone to honor things like wedding vows and parenthood IS a little childish.

    Chasing one’s hormones hither, thither and flight attendant to the detrement of all those who love and depend upon you however, very mature.

  4. “Grow up” generally means we expect the other person to have the same perspective on Situation A that we have.

    Do we really know this much?


    Sometimes not.

  5. To me to tell someone to grow up is the equivalent of saying ‘get over yourself’, with all the hostility implied but it’s worse because there is an adde4d implication, namely that you are young and with that inadequate sand inferior. I’m inclined to agree with Backcountrywriter, it’s all about power play, about trying to intimidate and it seems an inadequate response from someone who can’t deal with the situation but wants to get the upper hand. I’d avoid using the term. It’s abusive and unhelpful.

  6. It’s a way of dismissing the other person and avoiding fair fighting and/or inner-exploration (I wanted to write inner ear exploration, for some reason). Very efficient and smug, too. No, I don’t use it but if I did it would be to tell people who remind me of myself at my more self-indulgent hours. Iwww…

  7. It’s patronizing and insulting, meant to halt questions and /or discussion. Like all patronizing, insulting comments, it says a lot more about the speaker than the recipient.

  8. what I’d like to say to a few people is grow down or go down or back to a time before you became so polluted by what you think being a grown up is all about and start over, become a better adult …seems to me the person saying grow up is really saying, i’ve lost faith so should you, everything you thought you believed in (whether it be love or merit) is shit, it’s all a big game and nobody wins…

  9. I don’t believe in growing up, just growing.

  10. I’d like to tell the stereotypical mean girl wanna bees grown up, who live down the hill to grow up. Those sharp, dumbed-down words I use are not jokes. I don’t want to be your friend. My girls will never hang out with yours. Get a clue. Or a dictionary.

    Yeah, it’s definitely a patronizing, power thing. Not so bad on the giving end.

  11. “Grow up” in both instances actually means “How dare you think about yourself, when as we both know, you’re supposed to be thinking about me.”

    I’m not going to tell you to grow up. The implication of saying that would be that *I* have grown up, and I haven’t. Not yet.

  12. “a flight attendant but so fucking what.” Indeed. That’s good. Did you see what you were doing there? Bet you did.

    I do not know what the fuck this post is about. Telling someone “grow up!” is I guess sort of like a dope-slap upside the head. We’ve all got people we’d like to dope-slap upside the head, not infrequently our own selves.

    But yeah, “grow up!” is about power. It’s about “shut the fuck up and see things my way and stop troubling me with your troubles, all god’s chillun got troubles.” It’s about “I hurt, too, I’ve lost things that meant a lot to me, too, you’re not so special, welcome to the circle of pain and shut up about it.” It’s about “chillax, bitch, you’re harshing my buzz.”

    Yeah, there’s someone I’d like to tell to grow up, and I probably did fairly recently, and it wasn’t me, and the details are personal to the extent that I will not harm that person in this forum or any other by addressing the matter any more directly than this. Or–why I write fiction. Anybody asks about any of my more realistic stories, “Is this true?”, I can say, “It’s as true as you want it to be. You can’t catch me, I’m gone like a cruel tease.”

  13. When I’ve told people to Grow Up it’s code for “I don’t have the time to explain reality to you because your idealism is naive/ or your life is cliche and I don’t like you enough to craft a tactful response to your stupidity.” I said that a lot to Ralph Nadar voters in 2000, to almost every Republican I know, and to people who “invest” in Thomas Kinkaid paintings.

    When I was younger I’d just tell people to Drop Dead so this “Grow Up” thing is me being nicer, and very grown up for me.

  14. Maybe today’s post is about honesty. Way too much is made of fame and fortune these days. I mean, c’mon; perverted athletes and people in reality shows (whose reality?) are considered stars. That’s what we aspire to? I can’t cast judgement on Kelsey Grammer, but to tell his wife, who apparently has been responsible and committed to raising a family, to grow up while he tries to recapture his youth with a new honey pie, is kinda missing the boat. It’s like walking backwards into a shitstorm in order to tell everyone running the other way that what you can’t see won’t hurt you. Shit is still shit.

    Bosses lying is nothing new, but how is it a sign of maturity? Big business in the early part of the 21st century–how well did that work out?

    I guess it’s all a matter of priorities, but when they tell you to grow up, it means they’re still children. No, I take that back. Kids are honest. Who do I want to tell to grow up? Anybody who is not facing their responsibilities to family and friends.

  15. It means the “adult” has behaved badly and is cranky because a lesser someone is calling him or her out on it.

    “Grow up” always comes from a person with a lot of growing to do.

    • I think that this is generally true. Very well said.

      Also, I agree with some of the others above who mention the phrase as being a short-hand for something else such as “deal with it”, etc.

      So along the lines of “deal with it,” and in the spirit of Betsy’s question about who I want to address this to, it would have to be my father (and not my mother because she’s already dead). Deal with what? That I don’t really feel like your son and you don’t really feel like my father. To quote a song lyric, you gave me a name.

  16. I don’t wait for someone to tell me that, I say it to myself often enough. I said it Saturday and wrote in an essay called “Why I Shop at the Homeless”.
    If you desire, you can read it at my blog

    And there you can grow up every day!

  17. I need to grow up. Two people I can’t stand both have hardcovers coming out next year. True, they’re both disgusting people, but I’m so jealous I am burning with the heat of 10,000 suns. Also true that my jealousy fuels my writing but I’m so annoyed right now, I want to tell the internet how awful they are. So yes, I guess I need to grow up. Hate them with me.

  18. When I’ve used it, it’s meant “stop being so self-indulgent.” I can’t think when I’ve ever said it to someone’s face. It’s usually what I say to their phantasm before I start composing a tactful statement for actual delivery.

    It sounds as if people often use it to reinforce their feelings of superiority over someone they have betrayed.

    It’s a wicked world, but challenging ratty behavior doesn’t make a person naive.

  19. Darn right it’s your sandbox. And don’t let no cats dump a Garfield in it. As for Grammer, his grammatical use of ‘Grow Up’ is just so much inarticulate scat. He’s nothing but a grammer cracker and deserves to be flushed down the John with the other turds.

  20. who knows what it means? it certainly shut their conversation down, didn’t it?

    growing up. it’s funny how your definition of it changes over time. when i reach a certain age, stage, developmental milestone, etc. etc. at this age, i’ve come to the conclusion that the final hoop to jump is when your parents die. that’s when you’re truly grown up. there’s no comfortable layer between you and that black leather jacket clad Dr. death.

    • That’s very true. And before that, for me, came the realization that my parents are people. Flawed, rounded people. I’m not sure what I thought they were before that, but as a child it never occurred to me to consider them in four dimensions.

      • Your parents have to die before you can really start to understand them. They don’t become people until that biological link you share is twisted loose by death. That’s been my experience, but I’m a lot thicker than I suspected.

  21. why doesn’t kg grow up and never get married? maybe millions would be better off never married, and better off never having children.

  22. That is an irritating statement. I usually wonder why I should even listen to the person who said it, and then I wonder why I use it on myself. It forces me to look around and say grow up to what? Then I could start the list of the way things are supposed to be but the only creates more misery and a mirroring hate list. So, back to the beginning, I says to myself, I says, grow up to what?

  23. I think the post is about genuine disappointment in people,and about the difficulty as we age and truly mature of continuing to see the “best” in people.

  24. I think the phrase “grow up” means “hey, stupid, you should have figured this out for yourself and now that I’ve had to spell it out for you, get over it.” In any event, it falls into the cruel-insulting category. The phrase I like lately is the one bandied about by Republicans–“Man up.” I think it means “swallow this s—- we’re feeding you” or something like that.

  25. This post is about how no matter how tough-as-nails Betsy comes across, she can still be moved, maybe even shocked, by the pathetic prospect of a wife pleading with her husband to not be a prick and give the marriage another chance.

    As if.

    “Grow up” is the grown-up (I use that term loosely) way of saying “just ’cause.” I want what I want regardless of who gets screwed, and I don’t have a good answer to your “why?” We’re all supposed to be on the same page (mine), and I don’t want to feel morally obliged to you by your probing, pleading, pathetic questions. Just because. You don’t get it? Grow up.

    KG doesn’t have a good answer for his wife, yet can’t own up to being a prick for cheating on her. “These things happen; grow up.” As if his marriage and his children didn’t happen. He’s the one who needs to grow up.

    I tell people (including myself) to grow up when they don’t live up to their commitments. Nobody is required to make commitments (it’s called being a bum), but you have honor the ones you do make.

    That said, there are always two sides to every story.

  26. I just found out that someone who’s been really rude and mean to me has a memoir being shopped in London. That bit of information brought my jealous inner five-year old raging to the surface. I had no idea I still had it in me. If I believe there’s a God at all, I have to take that as a goad to write. Nothing stokes me quite like competing against someone who annoys the hell out of me.

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