Not So Beautiful
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been out with the kids and one of them has said something inappropriate about a stranger walking by. This is understandable but still awkward. When the kids see someone unusual, they want to tell me about it.
Of course, few people like to have their unusualness pointed out.
My standard response is to shush them. We’ve been over all the rules: not being rude, not hurting feelings, and so on. They’re still kids, though, and they still respond to what they see. I just try to keep it as quiet as I can.
The other day we were sitting on a bench in the airport waiting to pick up Papou (my father in law), when a tall woman with long blond hair and a full length dress walked by. The torso of the dress was fairly tight-fitting, but from the waist down it was long and flowy. She was in high heels and was walking very deliberately and gracefully.
As she passed us, C (the four year old) said “ooohhh… She’s beautiful!”
I smiled and nodded, relieved that – for once – I didn’t have to shush him. My response apparently wasn’t appreciative enough. He repeated himself, more loudly. “But, Daddy! She’s Beautiful!”
I agreed. “Yep, she sure is.”
She walked a little ways past us, stood there for about five minutes watching the gate, and then turned and walked back past us again. Sure enough, the little guy said it again: “Oooh… She’s Beautiful!”
Of course the woman heard. She’d have had to have been deaf not to. Amazingly, however, she looked over her shoulder and gave us the meanest glare you could imagine. I tried to smile back at her, but she had one of those withering “you’re not worth the dirt on my shoe” sort of looks. My smile froze.
The kids, who had both been about to say “hi” also, shrunk into me. After she had left, C whispered. “Why was she so sad, daddy?”
His little brother chimed in. “Yeah, why? Why so sad?”
Unfortunately, I didn’t have an answer. In fact, I still don’t.
In Victorian times any comment upon a person’s appearance was considered rude, complimentary or not. This continued long enough that I was taught it when a child. Today, in most situations, this does not apply, but there are exceptions.
Heh, heh… I do believe you are the first commenter to actually admit they were around in Victorian times…