Yes, ma’am, you may be growing older, but you don’t feel old, you don’t act old, and you’re still beautiful, and I’m sorry I called you ma’am just then.
Or maybe you do feel old, act even older, and are perfectly aware the beauty ship sailed off into the sunset years ago.
Your beautiful, perky receptionist fresh out of high school wants you to like her and has no idea how close she comes to the edge whenever she tries to connect by saying she loves vintage TV like I Love Lucy and Friends; she knows of Nirvana, but has never actually heard them because her iPod doesn’t get an oldies station; and wonders aloud what life was like before computers and turns to you expectantly, waiting for a story.
You’ve kept a mental tally of her failed compliments, like the times she’s called you “a role model for young women” or described your clothing as “handsome.” Today will be her last day in your employ as the misguided compliment balloon bursts when you debut your new hairstyle and she greets you with one of the following comments:
1. “You look so respectable and dignified…like Judge Judy.”
2. “It’s so pretty. So, so pretty. Who did you go to? Had he cut your hair before? Who recommended him? Was the person who gave you the recommendation someone you were fighting with who suddenly became nice again and you weren’t sure why?”
3. “Sometimes it’s fun to try something new, even if it’s all wrong for the shape of your face.”
4. “Isn’t it funny how everything in the mirror is in reverse when you cut your own hair?”
5. “Wow, you look so classy! Are you going to a fancy bingo party after work?”
6. “I love the way your bangs sweep up and distract the eye away from everything beneath your bangs.”
7. “You look so beautiful. I’ll be happy if I age half as gracefully as you. Wow, look at the goose bumps on my arm! I totally just got chills when I thought about being your age!”
8. “Wow! Very professional. You look like you could be a retired doctor.”
9. “Good for you! I’m trying to save money, too, but I don’t have your discipline. I guess that comes with age.”
10. “I love your hair! I love, love your hair…have you heard of this new magazine Cosmo? Because I was reading Cosmo last night and guess what they said is coming back in style? Hats.”