When you are born you are a baby, and then you are a kid, a teen, a young adult, a something, and at some point — usually around "the big four oh" — middle-aged.
Middle age can last for a long time. Middle age isn't a period as much as it is a prediction. It is surprising how many people in their 50s think of themselves as being at the halfway point.
Traditionally, once people hit their 60s or so, they are referred to as seniors, the elderly or just plain old.
These types of traditional designation are not going to sit well with baby boomers, the children of the '60s who are now hitting their 60s in ever increasing number.
So ruling out such terms as geezers, blue hairs and old farts, how do you refer to people in this age group, and beyond, without offending them?
A recent New York Times blog post on this topic was unable to produce a consensus alternative, although judging from the comments, such labels as senior citizen, aged or elderly were not popular.
How then to refer to the 60-plus set?
I like vintage. Vintage suggests a fine wine that is aging well, and is only going to get better with the passage of time.
"Would you like the vintage citizens discount, sir?"
Yeah, vintage, I like the sound of that.
Another possibility is classic. When you hear classic you think of something that was once great and has maintained its aura. Classic music. Classic cars. Why not one's classic years?
Of course, not everything that stands the test of time is a proper substitute for age euphemisms.
For example, I don't think antique works. Antique conjures up images of dusty and musty and being of a bygone era.
Same goes for ancient. Ancient says older than dirt. No one wants to be thought of as older than dirt, although being older than dirt is certainly preferable to being under dirt.
Some other possibilities include masters, seasoned, legends, time travelers, prime timers, and honorable mentions or just honorables.
If it were up to me, I would go with something that connotes both experience and coolness.
Anyone else up for "vintage dudes?"