“Don’t Call Me Young Lady!”: A Journey of Self-Acceptance and Sexuality

Lead Article, Reviews

By Donasia Sykes
 
Carolyn Meyer spent her whole life being defined by other people. Now, she’s defining herself. Discussing her past and her current relationships, Ms. Meyer delivers a funny and truthful story about what she’s learned about sex and living her truth.
 
Ms. Meyer grew up feeling like she wasn’t pretty, compared to her mother and her classmate Janine. Her mother was a conservative woman who told Carolyn that the worst thing she could become was an unwed mother. Carolyn’s mother was a pretty blonde, musically talented, and had won awards that Carolyn aspired to win herself. She sought her mother’s approval, despite being a brunette with no musical ability. But she knew she wanted to be a writer one day.
 
Her father, on the other hand, saw her as a perfect girl, which made her terrified of disappointing him. When she became pregnant with her third child, not being married, she was anxious to tell her parents. She went to them for help after an unsuccessful abortion attempt, and weathered her mother’s scorn.
 
Carolyn’s friend Janine was perfect, to Carolyn’s consternation, especially around boys. Janine had blonde hair, musical ability, and the attention of guys. In high school, Carolyn was very insecure around boys, and her mother dressed her strangely. Despite her insecurities, she became engaged to an aspiring minister, until he broke her heart when he decided that she was too vulgar to be a minister’s wife. She later married another man.
 
After her husband’s death, she tried online dating, and dating younger men. Many pejoratively called her a “cougar,” while men who dated younger women were praised. She visited sex shops and became interested in expanding her understanding of sexuality. When she was growing up, talking about sex was taboo, and sexual education was spread through rumors.
 
People expected her to be an “acceptable” widow. After grieving her husband, she took an improv class and discovered that she loved performing as much as writing. By expressing herself through performance, she learned more about who she was outside of her parents and partners.
 
“Don’t Call Me Young Lady” is a hilarious and enjoyable solo performance. Ms. Meyer’s story is relatable and easy to connect to. Having spent her life trying to be the person others thought she should be, she finally began living her own life, and learning about who she really is.

 
Don’t Call Me Young Lady!
Performed by Carolyn Meyer
Directed by Barry Simon
October 27th at 2 PM
Photo: courtesy of the production
2019 United Solo Theater Festival
Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
 
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DONASIA SYKES is a freelance writer currently based out of Brooklyn, NY. She graduated with a BA in English and Textual Studies with a concentration in Creative Writing from Syracuse University, where she saw and performed in various small stage shows.
 

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