A lot of things happen to a person as they age. Your skin starts getting slack. Your natural color of hair starts vanishing as the gray starts taking over. And that is if you aren’t losing what hair you have. The lines around your eyes stop being cute laugh lines and start being cruel and unforgiving wrinkles that don’t just show up when you smile. Your bones become brittle and your muscles become stiff about the same time that you start losing your balance, making getting out of bed in the middle of the night an Olympic challenge.
I think, however, most Baby Boomers would agree that one thing they all take an issue with is being called an endearment by a stranger. You know what I mean. That grocery store cashier who says, “Hon, that will be $42.73.” Or the restaurant server who asks you, “Sweetie, can I get you another cup of coffee?” as she begins to pour even before you have a chance to answer.
The Me Too Movement brought to light the issue of men harassing women, usually women in less powerful positions than the harassers. And then the movement died out because everyone became focused on a worldwide pandemic that all-told, has killed more than three times the population of North Dakota. How can I worry about harassment when I can’t find any toilet paper?
I’m not saying Baby Boomers should have ignored the life-threatening danger of the COVID-19 virus. And I’m in no way comparing sexual harassment of women to an Ace Hardware employee saying, “Let me show you where we keep the hammers, Dearie.”
But what I am saying is STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW.
When I was young and my skin didn’t sag and I could wear makeup without my 7-year-old niece being shocked to see that I had eyelashes, I never — not ever — called an older person by an endearment like honey or sweetie or doll or dear. Because if I had, and if my mother had overheard, I’m certain that she would given me a little talking to. She’s not here for me to ask, but my mother spoke her mind when necessary, and she would have thought a total stranger calling her dearie deserved a comeuppance.
Our country has bigger issues, like how will I spend the next $1,200 check the government is going to send me and how pissed are our grandkids going to be when they figure out how much debt we Baby Boomers have left them. But when my brother tells me that the sales clerk at the cigar/liquor store at which he frequently shops calls him Dear, I know there is a problem. There is no one in the world who looks less like “Dear” than my brother. He lifts weights every day and he wears t-shirts without sleeves. He looks like he could kick someone’s ass if he put his senior citizen mind to it. And yet even he has to put up with the sheer disrespect of being called Dear.
Seniors, when we are all vaccinated and can gather together (masked and socially distanced) let’s take our case to the streets.