Every once in a while one of my co-workers will giggle and say to me, "Donita, you're so cute!" I think she's around twenty years old and she's quite the girlie girl. Usually I'll get this comment after I've done something smart (in her eyes, anyway). I've told her a few times that I'm not cute, just experienced. She doesn't get it.
I recently read an article about some of the things that younger people will say to a woman over fifty. Often it's something like, "You're so cute!" or "I love older people. They're so adorable." At my sister's fiftieth birthday a very drunk 20-something girl said to me, "I love you! You're sooo oooolllld!" She said it more than once. Jesus Christ.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately because it's been happening a lot and it's kind of a new thing for me. Apparently I've reached the age where young, pretty girls think it's clever to give me this belittling, back-handed compliment. The next one to do it may end up missing a handful of hair.
Listen up, girlie, and ponder this a while. I'm almost sixty years old. If you don't die in a texting accident, you will someday be where I am now. One day you will do or say something in the presence of some future twenty-year-old, who will marvel at the cleverness and common sense you achieved from a lifetime of experience, and she will somehow be threatened by it. She will giggle and say to you, "You're so cute!"
One thing I can say with certainty: when I was young I NEVER said anything like this to an older person. I'm grateful for that.