Every so often, I get reminded that I'm no longer young. Earlier this week, rereading the Wife of Bath's Prologue, when she talked about how she was forty and married Jankyn, who was 20, I couldn't help thinking, "Forty! Why that's not old at all!" But even as I thought that, I recalled the decades of work that sees the Wife of Bath as a rather dirty old woman.*
When I first studied Chaucer, I had an older male prof who clearly identified with Pandarus. At least, it seemed clear to me. I wonder if my students think I identify with the Wife of Bath?
Then there was class the other day, when I walked in and said something about what a fine day it was, and one of my students responded cheerfully, "holler."
(One of the advantages to having linguistics types as friends is that they explain all about things like this.)
*And before anyone gets all "life expectancy" on me, remember that a huge cause of a low life expectancy was infant and child death, and death in childbirth. Anyone who made it to 20 in the middle ages, had a pretty good chance of making it to, say, 50. Making it to 20, though, was really iffy. And if you were female and got past your child-bearing years, life probably got safer. The Plague becomes an issue in England in 1348, but that didn't sort much by age.