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In Sickness and in Health
July 18, 2009 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Sassy lesbian couple in Florida celebrates 70 years together after having to keep their relationship secret for decades. You go, girls!
posted by digaman (76 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hawt.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:31 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's something to be said for staying power. Good for them.
posted by metagnathous at 12:34 PM on July 18, 2009


Leto smiled. "Cute, isn't she?"

I love it!
posted by ericb at 12:52 PM on July 18, 2009


Thanks for the article but - Sassy? Really?

How about Heroic.

They've been patronized and belittled for most of their lives, I'm not sure they need it here, too.
posted by pomegranate at 12:55 PM on July 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


awwwww! that is awesome :)

also, I love the word sassy
posted by supermedusa at 12:57 PM on July 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


posted that comment prior to seeing pomegranate's...not tryin' to start somethin' just sharing
posted by supermedusa at 12:58 PM on July 18, 2009


Pomegranate, not sure what dictionary you're using, but "sassy" is a praise word from me.
posted by digaman at 12:58 PM on July 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


And yes, heroic too.
posted by digaman at 12:58 PM on July 18, 2009


sassy |ˈsasē|
adjective ( -sier , -siest ) informal
lively, bold, and full of spirit; cheeky.
posted by digaman at 12:59 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the article but - Sassy? Really?

Sassy:
Lively and spirited; jaunty.
Stylish; chic.
posted by ericb at 1:00 PM on July 18, 2009


At that age I hope someone calls me "sassy," but it's more likely I'll be considered "assy."
posted by ericb at 1:00 PM on July 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Very nice. My wife and I have been together for 16 years, and I hope we can make it at least as far as these two.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 1:03 PM on July 18, 2009


Great story, and sassy is a great word.
posted by languagehat at 1:07 PM on July 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


the hat has spoken... now drop it!
posted by HuronBob at 1:12 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wonderful - and SASSY!
Excellent post.
posted by hooptycritter at 1:15 PM on July 18, 2009


Ain't love grand?
posted by From Bklyn at 1:18 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd probably be gassy.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:23 PM on July 18, 2009


[this is sassy]
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:24 PM on July 18, 2009


Great find. They sound like a lovely couple.
posted by cmgonzalez at 1:26 PM on July 18, 2009


Nice human interest story, but the article itself suffers a little too much from the THEY'RE JUST LIKE REAL PEOPLE tone that always makes me think of The Onion.
posted by adipocere at 1:26 PM on July 18, 2009


After a courtship of about a year, Magazzu, a teacher, and Leto, a telegraph operator, moved into a tiny house in New York.

I'd just like to say "suck it" to everyone who pulls their hair out and screams "KIDS THESE DAYS!" every time a gay couple moves in together after a year. [cf. Uhaul Lesbian Joke] Gay relationships have a different trajectory than straight relationships. Though, in recent years I've seen a lot more straight relationships that follow a more typically gay set of milestones and that's heartening.

If you want gays to behave like straight people, give us our damn rights. We still wont behave the way you want us to, but we'll be more polite about it.
posted by greekphilosophy at 1:28 PM on July 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


The article itself suffers a little too much from the THEY'RE JUST LIKE REAL PEOPLE tone that always makes me think of The Onion.

Hua? Where did you get that from? It's a short, sweet little story, and it strikes me as honest and respectful.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 1:31 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aw . . . yay!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:31 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


For all the "serious" people who talk about supporting laws against gay marriage, adipocere, I can only assume that the notion that gay people are just like real people is still a headsmacking revelation they haven't had yet.

Sign me,
Still legally married in CA
posted by digaman at 1:32 PM on July 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


@greekphilosophy A: [is] next date.
posted by hooptycritter at 1:47 PM on July 18, 2009


Nice human interest story, but the article itself suffers a little too much from the THEY'RE JUST LIKE REAL PEOPLE tone

That may be because there are still many that need to be convinced.
posted by napkin at 2:08 PM on July 18, 2009


Great story - thanks for posting it digaman.
posted by garnetgirl at 2:10 PM on July 18, 2009


There's a blog post (blog generally NSFW unless your bosses approve of sexy naked gay people doing sexy naked gay stuff together, but this particular post has just some naked males in paintings in the header graphics - art, we used to call it) here with a picture of the two women and, pasted into a blog comments, another article about them from 2004. Much better biographical details in the 2004 article.
posted by pracowity at 2:12 PM on July 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'd give up my ability to get married and give it to them, if that were allowed.
posted by jamstigator at 2:15 PM on July 18, 2009 [10 favorites]


Sassy, heroic, or just plain incredible, God love them and may they have many more happy years together.
posted by blucevalo at 2:17 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I liked this story. The fact that these stories are becoming more and more common and getting more and more attention as time goes on is really kind of a big deal. I like the normalizing effect it's having. Best of the web indeed.
posted by heyho at 2:18 PM on July 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sprechen Sie Sassy?

Wonderful story -- thanks for posting. Makes me wonder if they ever met Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon.
posted by scody at 2:41 PM on July 18, 2009


Wow. That's a long time ruining marriage for the straighties. Perhaps by setting the bar too high?

And they have more sass in their nineties then I did at nineteen. And I sassed with the best.
posted by Jilder at 3:20 PM on July 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ms. Leto and Ms. Magazzu sound like wonderful, charming people. I applaud the strength and longevity of their love, and admire the bold example they've set as well as their willingness to share their stories openly now. I wish them many more happy years together.

I still, however, hate Florida.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:26 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Leto, a telegraph operator

Not too many of them around anymore, either.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:20 PM on July 18, 2009


Eat THAT, conservative "traditional family", multiply-divorced heteros! In your FACE!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 4:26 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't ... entirely have a problem with the use of "sassy," but to those who are dismissing the complaint, ask yourself this: would the journalist writing that headline have used "sassy" for a gay, male couple? How about for a straight couple?

Sassy is a positive word, but it's also a "cute" one. It pays a woman a compliment but it's also a diminutive. That's why people are annoyed.

Not speaking for anyone else, I don't think it's the end of the world, but I'm glad it was pointed out.
posted by bettafish at 5:02 PM on July 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


The age of this partnership kinda puts the kibosh on the "throughout history" argument. Homophobia is ruining the traditional institution of gay marriage.
posted by DU at 5:04 PM on July 18, 2009


"Sassy" is used for old people, couples and singles, all the time. But that doesn't mean it isn't diminutive. Just that the condescension isn't due to their sexuality but their age.
posted by DU at 5:05 PM on July 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


> would the journalist writing that headline have used "sassy" for a gay, male couple? How about for a straight couple?

Why on earth not, if they fit the definition? I'm quite sure I've seen "sassy" used for many, many straight people. Sometimes an adjective is just an adjective.
posted by languagehat at 5:07 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a wonderful story. And don't miss the blog post that pracowity linked to above. It's even better than the FPP link.

Although I don't know if Florida is the best place for them to be living, especially since one or the other might require the services of a hospital in the coming years.

Equal rights, including full marital rights, NOW please. Oh, fuck the please, just NOW.
posted by marsha56 at 5:16 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't ... entirely have a problem with the use of "sassy," but to those who are dismissing the complaint, ask yourself this: would the journalist writing that headline have used "sassy" for a gay, male couple? How about for a straight couple?

The word doesn't even appear in the headline, bettafish. I'm the journalist who applied the word "sassy" to this couple. And I'm a happily married gay man who felt inspired by the story of these women. And yes, I certainly would have applied it to any number of spirited, funny, charming, cheeky people who aren't lesbians, or old lesbians, or what have you.
posted by digaman at 5:32 PM on July 18, 2009


ich bin ein lesbiner.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:04 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whoops, sorry. But in that case, I might as well tell you that I associate "sassy" with pre-feminism novels where a male character is gallantly, and condescendingly, complimenting the heroine on her spunkiness.
posted by bettafish at 6:13 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, I can't really help that. It does not have those associations in my mind.
posted by digaman at 6:35 PM on July 18, 2009


Well, now you know there are people - because I'm not the only one in this thread - who do find it condescending when used for women and older people.

*shrug* Like I said, I don't think it's the end of the world, but I do think it was worth pointing out. The end, I guess.
posted by bettafish at 6:40 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm sure it's just a phase they're going through.
posted by Abiezer at 6:42 PM on July 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Sassy is a perfectly acceptable word in this case and in many others, and the people who think it has a weird disrespectful connotation are probably the same people responsible for the "that's where I'm a viking" faux-controversy.

You word-terrorists.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 7:07 PM on July 18, 2009


Terrorists. You never hear them called sassy.
posted by found missing at 7:30 PM on July 18, 2009


Not everything is about you bettafish.
posted by The Monkey at 7:40 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think sassy is a great descriptor for a couple, especially an older one. Too often, people in their 90s are stereotyped as shells of their former selves, living on auto-pilot until the next meal time.

"Sassy" shows that they've still got vim & vigor. To me at least.

(Also, what word/phrase works better? Argumentative? Cute? Normal-functioning despite their advanced age?)
posted by Turkey Glue at 9:41 PM on July 18, 2009


I think sassy is a great descriptor for a couple, especially an older one. Too often, people in their 90s are stereotyped as shells of their former selves, living on auto-pilot until the next meal time.

"Sassy" shows that they've still got vim & vigor. To me at least.


'Sassy' struck me as inappropriate because it seems like such a heavily 'gendered' word. I honestly can't recall hearing a male person described as 'sassy', outside of a deliberately camp context. I mean - is your grandfather sassy? Your dad? Would you call any of the blokes down the pub sassy? Do they call each other sassy? It's similar in many ways to 'feisty' - yeah, it's a positive word, but it's a cutesy-poo one we only apply to women. Have you ever heard of the magazine 'Sassy'? If you hadn't, would you assume it was for teen girls or some other demographic? And isn't 'sassy' related to 'sass' - to talk back to one's parents/elders? It suggests mature women rebel in the same way and for the same reasons teenagers do, and puts the patriarchal society they're pushing back against in the position of long-suffering, indulgent parents. A 70-year same-sex relationship is put in the same category as a teenage escapade. The word 'sassy' reeks of condescension..

(Also, what word/phrase works better? Argumentative? Cute? Normal-functioning despite their advanced age?)

Why replace 'sassy' when you can just get rid of it and let the post stand on the facts alone? We get why it's great that these women have done what they've done, we don't need someone up the back of the room shouting 'You go, girls!'. We're not on 'Oprah' here.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 10:27 PM on July 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow. Is it fun in there, in the tornado of empty words?
posted by digaman at 11:17 PM on July 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


The word 'sassy' reeks of condescension.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. This was a positive story about a gay couple. Full stop, if you can manage to do it on a dime.
posted by dhartung at 11:25 PM on July 18, 2009


Wow. Is it fun in there, in the tornado of empty words?

Are you sassing me? You are a feisty little thing, aren't you! I like it! Now fetch me a coffee, toots.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 11:26 PM on July 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


All words of affection are either diminutive ("that's cute") or admiring. Just coz anything complimentary can be misconstrued doesn't mean it has to be.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 11:35 PM on July 18, 2009


When I think of Sassy, I think of all my female friends telling me how great that magazine was until about 10 years ago, so it actually has feminist connotations to me.

But apparently only to me.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:37 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


All words of affection are either diminutive ("that's cute") or admiring.

Diminutive or admiring? Well then, why not choose something that's admiring without being diminutive?
posted by eatyourcellphone at 11:40 PM on July 18, 2009


Because diminutive affection is endearing as well? We've got to stop saying "you lovely thing" or "good boy" now?
posted by Non Prosequitur at 11:55 PM on July 18, 2009


Eat, I appreciate that you've built yourself a little podium from which you can do your thing. I'm just saying: to me, the women in the FPP are the reason for this post. They're 96 and 97 years old. They fell in love at the beginning of World War 2, and they still flirt and tickle each other's nerves. They lived as a virtually married couple when homosexuality itself was a crime in most states, they're celebrating their 70th anniversary in a Florida temple, they polka, they wrote their own book called "An Unadulterated Story: Young and Gay at 90," and kept a monkey called Chi Chi as a pet. If these women aren't sassy, no one is. There's nothing condescending or patriarchal about me saying so, as would be obvious to anyone who read the tags on this FPP or reflected for half a second about why a married gay man might want to post this story here. My godparents, Hazel and Alice, were two wonderful lesbians who I wish could have lived long enough to get legally married, like my husband and I, or at least celebrate their 70th anniversary, like Leto and Magazzu in the FPP. I appreciate that you find close analysis of language bracing. So do I. But you're offbase here.
posted by digaman at 11:59 PM on July 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Because diminutive affection is endearing as well? We've got to stop saying "you lovely thing" or "good boy" now?

You seriously can't think of situations where 'good boy' might not be an appropriate expression of approval?

I don't think it's so outrageous to suggest that people tread carefully with certain sorts of infantilizing endearments, especially when talking to/about women.

There's nothing condescending or patriarchal about me saying so, as would be obvious to anyone who read the tags on this FPP or reflected for half a second about why a married gay man might want to post this story here.


I certainly didn't imagine you disapproved of these women's lifestyle. I just wished you had couched your approval in less cutesy and condescending language. Being gay and married yourself is not a magic talisman against patronizing other gay people, especially gay people of another sex and generation. And there was no need to respond to bettafish as rudely as you did. She was trying to explain why your word-choice seems inappropriate much more politely and clearly than I have.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 12:21 AM on July 19, 2009


What turned me off about bettafish's statement was not what she was saying about sassy, but that it appeared she hadn't even read the FPP, or skimmed it so fast that she claimed the allegedly offensive word was in the headline. This concern trolling has nothing to do with the women I posted about. They wouldn't have a problem with my post. Life is too short, even when it's long.
posted by digaman at 12:29 AM on July 19, 2009


It's not a binary question. Of course calling a woman or a gay man sassy can be problematic the same way calling anyone "catty" or calling a latina hot-blooded is problematic. The problem with these arguments is that nowhere in real life is treading carefully lest a bucket of dynamite explode in your face as neurotically encouraged as on these sorts of contexts on the web. It's the most neurotic thing ever. Anyone can be resentful about anything. Is there a pattern of condescension? Is the addressee complaining? No, but we gotta get up on our little jihad-mobiles.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 12:32 AM on July 19, 2009


it appeared she hadn't even read the FPP, or skimmed it so fast that she claimed the allegedly offensive word was in the headline.

Her objection to the word was seriously meant and deserved to be taken seriously, even if she inadvertently misattributed it. You were unwilling even to concede the possibility that perhaps the word has connotations/nuances of which you are unaware. You came out fighting right from pomegranate's first comment.

This concern trolling has nothing to do with the women I posted about.

Yeah, I'm sure they've only been discriminated against as homosexuals, not as women or elderly people. Other people care about issues other than, or in addition to, the ones that excite you.

Of course calling a woman or a gay man sassy can be problematic the same way calling anyone "catty" or calling a latina hot-blooded is problematic.

And just as easily avoided. So avoid it.

The problem with these arguments is that nowhere in real life is treading carefully lest a bucket of dynamite explode in your face as neurotically encouraged as on these sorts of contexts on the web.

I didn't call anyone a 'word-terrorist'. Perhaps if digaman and others had responded with less than outright disdain to the notion that other people attach slightly different shades of meaning to certain words, we wouldn't be having this 'neurotic' conversation.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 12:54 AM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


can we stop this sassy derail, please, and get back to discussing how awesome this couple is?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:55 AM on July 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yes, please. They are rather awesome - as in, I think I'd be a little tiny bit intimidated by how cool they are if I met them. They had a pet monkey! Plus, people who are still in love after 70 years... wow. I can only assume they've had their ups and downs, and it's great that they weathered it all to be as still in-love as they were when they met. We should all be so lucky.
posted by harriet vane at 2:01 AM on July 19, 2009


Well, now you know there are people - because I'm not the only one in this thread - who do find it condescending when used for women and older people.

I find it more concerned that apparently we are meant to assemble a filthy, impoverished little language to descibe our world, berefit of any word or turn of phrase that might twiddle the trunk-sized stick that some have up their arses; that we are apparently meant to live in a joyless, colourless world bereft of anything beyond "good" and "ungood" to describe it in case someone, somewhere, can dredge up an unflattering connotation, based, perhaps, in their own illiteracy; a world that would make the grey monoliths of Stalinist architecture seem like a Mardi Gras by comparison.

I'm also underwhelmed that such a beautiful article about such an uplifting story has been royally shat over by self-obessessed ratchet-heads.
posted by rodgerd at 3:36 AM on July 19, 2009 [9 favorites]


We should all be so lucky.

Hell, I'd count myself lucky to hit that age and still be in possession of my faculties. That's a good start right there.
posted by rodgerd at 3:43 AM on July 19, 2009


Note to eatyourcellphone: You're not convincing anyone of the point you're trying to make, and you're not coming off very well. A word to the wise from an old feminist.
posted by languagehat at 6:30 AM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


How about Heroic.

How about no? Can we not call every good person in the country a "hero" please?

That word has been milked of whatever value it ever had, now that every paramedic, schoolteacher, cancer survivor and even every odd victim of a crime is routinely called a "hero" by the press. It hurts my head.

Sassy, on the other hand, is just fucking perfect. It's celebratory, vivacious and most of all in-your-face, and that's just what the story called for.
posted by rokusan at 7:34 AM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I honestly can't recall hearing a male person described as 'sassy'.

My girlfriend often calls me a sassy little bitch.

(But only when I deserve it. Like now. Meow.)
posted by rokusan at 9:26 AM on July 19, 2009


Sigh. I want to be in a relationship for seventy years with someone, and for it to inspire a dumb argument on the internet because someone wanted to get offended on my behalf. But I'm a romantic old fool that way.
posted by Casuistry at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Amor Vincit Omnia. Many more happy years to them.
posted by Alles at 5:00 PM on July 19, 2009


I'm pretty damn sassy. And I'm a straight male.

Zing!
posted by grubi at 5:53 AM on July 20, 2009


Can we plz stop beanplating the word "sassy" and start talking about how this awesome couple had a PET MONKEY?

I love lesbians, monkeys, and lesbian monkeys.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm not a lesbian, but I like to be held.
posted by The Monkey at 5:49 AM on July 21, 2009


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