After finishing up my Christmas shopping yesterday, I took myself out to lunch. I have always loved going to restaurants by myself; I bring a book with me, and thoroughly enjoy my date with myself.
I’ve done this since my 30s, but in recent years, I’ve noticed a change in attitude of the servers. Not that they are snide or spit in my food or anything; they are generally friendly, helpful and professional.
The difference is this: I’m 65 now. I have a generous amount of silver in my hair, and my face has permanent smile lines. These days I use a cane for stability since I had a knee replacement in October.
So what’s the point of all this background? It’s the “honey” factor. All of a sudden, I am addressed as “honey.” Or “sweetheart” or “darling” or “dear.” All sweet nomenclature to be sure, BUT I don’t think of myself as a “honey” quite yet.
When I lived in the South, women of a certain age were referred to as “Ma’am” or “Miss <insert first name here>.” If I lived in Hawaii, women my age are generally called “Aunty.” Another sweet and non-offensive label.
Look, I know that the servers are being polite, and they do mean well. My issue is that, whenever I hear myself addressed as “honey,” I internally grit my teeth. I would love to tell them, “darling, I am hardly doddering yet!”
But I don’t. I am still trying to make up for all the snappish retorts and snarky comments from my younger days. I guess that this may be my penance.
To any folks who are in the service industry who may be reading this, please try to remember that the ‘old lady’ you are serving might not want to be addressed as “honey.” You may think that she is old and used up, but in her heart, she is still the willowy young woman she once was.
Also, there is this: my cane is handy and your knees are really close to me.