Ouch! The Combination Compliment/Insult …

by Jan Velco Soolman

Ouch! The Combination Compliment/Insult …

I met a great friend for dinner the other night, and felt compelled to write a quick story to say that I, mini-van-driving Mommy, was carded after ordering a glass of wine. And believe me, it’s been a long time since that’s happened. A LONG time.


But let me reassure you that the restrained euphoria I felt was quickly squelched when the twenty-something server read my ID. She studied it with a slight snarl on her face (the kind you’d make if you just found a hair in your sandwich) then slowly uttered the word “Wow” as she handed back my ID.


She might as well have given it back to me and said, “Geez, I had no idea you were THAT old. Do you want me to mix some estrogen into that Pinot Grigio? Would you like a side order of Retinol-A to go with that appetizer?”


Got to love being hit with the combination compliment/insult. It starts off as a compliment and you’re feeling pretty good, but then winds up having some form of insult neatly tucked in there.


Age is a funny thing.  Perceptions certainly change. When I was a teenager, I used to think thirty was really old. I associated it with a point in life when a person becomes very practical and has a full set of matching luggage. Now I think fifty is still quite young.


Likes and dislikes shift, too. I’d much rather pay $8.50 to stare at the older and graying George Clooney for two hours than at one of those shirtless teens from the Twilight movies.


Let’s face it, actual ages may be fixed, but my perception of those ages is constantly changing depending on where I fall on the range. The great thing about aging, though, is that you always maintain who you are. There are some twenty-two year olds who are already old, and I am convinced that I will be a young and often silly eighty.


And even then, I still won’t have a full set of matching luggage.