The Middle-Aged Cute

The other day, I had finally had the opportunity to meet XUP Jr.’s latest beau – the dreaded 19-year-old.

I’d been imagining a cocky, bearded frat boy/man with gold-festooned chest hair,  a pocket full of condoms, a Corvette and a pipe. Instead he was shy, slouchy and diffident; wore goofy neon sk8er shoes;  had a lot of hair on his head and in his eyes, but no hair visible anywhere else; arrived on the bus and looked about 16. Yay! Oh, and he was punctual, which earned him huge bonus points in my book.

Naturally, I think XUP Jr. is waaay out of his league, but she likes him for now and he seems harmless enough, so we can all relax. A little bit. Probably.

“Soooooo???? What did you think of him? What did you think of him? Isn’t he gorgeous?” she asks when she returns from the date.

“Well, he’s certainly a lot better than what I thought.”

“Why? What do you like about him?” she begged.

“Ummm….. He was on time…. He was polite….ummmm… he didn’t have chest hair?”

“WHAT? Why would he have chest hair? Is that all? Didn’t you like him?”

“I only saw him for three seconds, it’s hard to say, but he seemed okay.”

“OKAY? Just okay? I think he’s really nice and he was really sweet and he paid for everything and he wrote me a poem and he said he thought you were cute.”

Now, if this had been the first time someone had every called me “cute” he probably would never be allowed to darken my door again. However, a lot of people  before him (who don’t know me at all) have said I was “cute”.  And every single one of XUP Jr.’s other friends also seem to think I’m “cute”, so wasn’t as horrified as I might have been.

“Are you making this up?” I ask. “Seriously – again with the cute?” I said, frowning in a decidedly uncute manner.

“I know! It’s weird, eh? All my friends think you’re cute.” she replied.

 And then….

And then. She. Pinched. My. Cheeks. And said (with a scrunchy face), “You are cute, with those little dimples.”

And then she casually looked me up and down and said, “Am I taller than you yet?”

I think I’m quickly losing the whole “authority figure” vibe thing I had going on for the last 17  years or so. What do you think?

I don’t know. At my age – or at any age, actually – I never, ever aspired to be cute. Babies and toddlers are cute. Gap-toothed seven-year-olds are cute.  Puppies and kittens are cute. Apple-cheeked little old ladies with mountains of fluffy white hair twisted on top of their heads held in place with a pencil are cute.

I’m none of those things. Really, I’m not. I’d much rather XUP Jr.s friends think I’m scary and omniscient, yet available for food and problem-solving. Some of them have come to realize that over time, but really, it should be apparent right off the bat.

Oh well. I suppose if I think about it, there are some middle-aged women we all know that I might describe as cute. Sally Field, Julia-Louis Dreyfuss, Sandra Bullock, Drew Barrymore (though I don’t know if she qualifies as middle-aged yet), Goldie Hawn, Ellen Degeneres….I’m sure there are more.  So, I guess it’s not that bad.

I reckon there are worse things XUP Jr.’s friends could call me. Maybe I should just surrender and go with the cute thing – start wearing dirndls and pig tails…take up tap dancing maybe.

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21 responses to “The Middle-Aged Cute

  1. At least your daughter likes that they think you’re cute. My daughter’s friends always told her, “Your mom’s cool.” and it irritated the frick out of her.

    I never understood why she hated that I was “cool.” My friends thought Dad was “cool” and I loved it. Oh well.

  2. On a similar note, I’m often accused of giggling, and I’m like, “Giggling? I’m not some little girl. I’m mature, I laugh.” But, no, I had to finally admit that I’m a giggler. I can’t help it, it’s just me. Just like you can’t help being cute 🙂

    Guess there are worse things to be called.

  3. Our three grace Jrs outstripped me in height at the ages of 10, 10 and 9. It is very, very difficult to feel scary and omnicient while being scooped up by an adolescent screaming “Oh Mummy, you’re so travel-sized.” What a blessing that I have no (visible to the public) dimples. What a blessing to be past the “latest beau” stage and to have found a good colourist.

  4. i will most definately fall into the cute category to i am afraid. having a hubby that is 6’6″ and only being 5’2″, and having a 3 yr old that is already more than half my height, i think i better get used to it.

    and skye is right, there are much worse things to be called. and if jr’s friends feel they can come to you for food and problem solving, i think cute is definitely the way to go.

  5. I think TD-19YO has it spot on. Cute pretty well sums it up. The dimples give you away.

    Since you can’t escape your natural cuteness (cuteosity? cutetude?), you might want to combine cute and tough. The best of both worlds, as it were.

    In keeping with the ‘Animal Crackers in My Soup’ motif, you may want to toughen the image up a bit. Draw yourself up to your full height and in true “old west” fashion, declare in your best ST voice, “This town isn’t big enough for the BOTH of us!” Holding up two fingers at the word “both” would go a long way to driving the message home to TD-19YO. No curtain of hair, regardless how Emo-inspired it may be, could diminish the impact.

    A powerful statement, no doubt. 🙂

  6. Linda – Dimples can be a real curse – especially when you’re trying to be all grown up and serious and business-like and people are sitting there smiling at you.

    Geewits – My daughter insists that I deport myself with coolness at all times – especially if I’m out in public with her. She has some pretty strict parameters, which are difficult to live up to. In order for teenagers to automatically consider a grown-up cool these days, they have to have tattoos and piercings and some kind of crazy hair – not to mention all the hip clothing. I’ll never make it to cool.

    Skye – Yikes! No one ever accused me of giggling. Is it a sexy giggle at least?

    Grace – Ya, size is definitely a factor for me, too. Most of the child’s friends are bigger than I am now, so I guess that helps to negate the scary factor. Darn!

    Smothermother – I don’t have much choice anymore, I think. I reckon I’ll just grow my hair out and start sticking pencils in it. Bow to the inevitable and prepare for an old age of cuteness.

    Daniel – Ya, I’m gonna go with that. Maybe if I were wearing a loaded pistol at the same time, it would confuse him enough to be scared?

  7. You need to work on unpredictability. Being smaller isn’t a real problem if once in a while you fly into some sort of unexpected fit. Keeps the younguns off balance if they can’t predict your behavior. Maybe get a couple of stuffed animals to leave around the house as well.

  8. When I was a teenager, I hated being called “cute.” I guess I wanted to be hot, or sexy, or beautiful. Anything but cute. Finally, my mother just sighed in frustration at me and said, “Be thankful you’re cute. It’s better than being ugly!” I had to admit she had a point. haha!

    As for if you’re cute? I’ll check out your dimples when I get to see you in person at BOLO!

  9. I get comments like that all the time from DD and her friends too. Sometimes they tack on “funny” or “cool” to the “cute”, which makes it a bit more palatable, but still! I’m also convinced that it has something to do with size, as DD has been taller than me for almost 10 years now. But my sweet revenge is that often, when we’re out and about together, strangers mostly assume that we’re sisters or friends, rather than mother and daughter. Bwahahaha!

  10. I’ve only seen one picture of you and when I saw it I thought “Holy crap, she’s hot, sexy and beautiful” (stole those words from coffeewithjulie but they fit what I thought)..

    But cute is good too.

  11. Dr. Monkey – That’s easy for someone who’s never met me to say, I reckon. Also, I don’t think it’s kosher for my daughter’s boyfriends to even think something like that.

    Jazz – Aw shucks ma’am. And yet millions of ordinary people are able to resist me each and every day. Curious, no?

    Alison – I’m actually a very average size. I just seem little to some freakishly gigantic, leggy blond people. I’ll take your tip on the pigtails under advisement.

    Dave1949 – I’ve done the unpredictability thing – that’s why some of them now realize that I’m not as cute as I may first appear. Stuffed animals to add to the cuteness factor you mean or the craziness factor? I don’t like stuffed animals.

    Julie – Ya, cute is better than “Oh man, your old lady is a beast. Are you adopted?”

    Pinklea – I’ve had funny from a few of them, too. No one has ever mistaken my daughter and for sisters though. And I’d know they were lying if they said so. You must have had DD when you were fairly young, eh?

    Glen – You old story-teller, you. Thank you. When did you see a picture of me? And how do you know it was me? And who paid you to say all that stuff? Was it Julie?

  12. Maybe it’s a combination of the hair and the dimples. Me, I got compared to Whoopee |Goldberg once. Consiser yourself lucky.

  13. So what happened to the car? This is what I want to know.

    (And yeah, you’re cute. I just get weird … I think cute is better.)

  14. my mom gets cute all the time, she seems to revel in it.
    just don’t start acting cute, its not endearing when someone knows they are cute and starts trying to act even more cute. i hate that.

  15. Mary – Whoopee Goldberg?? That’s crazy. Were you wearing dreads at the time?

    Nat – What car? You mean why didn’t he have a car? I think he still uses his parents’ car(s) and it wasn’t available and/or he doesn’t have his G2 yet. It’s fine. I’m much happier when she’s not off in a some nasty boy’s car.

    Meanie – No worries. I’m not sure I could even begin to act cute. If your mom looks like you then I can totally see why she gets called cute. You’re pretty cute, too, despite your hard-ass attitude.