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.