One of the perks of growing older today is the fact that numerous stores have lowered the qualifying age for senior discounts. I’m thrilled that I can now shop at my favorite low-priced emporium and, on any Tuesday, receive an additional ten percent off. Yet, several years ago, an event occurred at that same store that was far from thrilling. In fact, this disaster was so emotionally charged, it’s permanently imprinted upon each of the memory centers in my brain. I can recall every detail: every sight, sound, feeling, and nuance of that fateful encounter. And, although it still makes me wince, I’ll share my story as a cautionary tale for those of you who tend toward the flirtatious side.
I thought I looked especially fetching that day, and had been smiling playfully at the darkly handsome, twenty-something clerk from the moment our eyes met. He began busily ringing up my selected merchandise—a saucy little number that brought out my baby blues—when he posed a rather unusual question. Responding to my openness, he actually asked me out on a date! Did I “want to go to Señor Disco?” he inquired.
Flattered by his interest, I wondered if there was a new discotheque in town geared to our Latino population. Didn’t this youthful stud recognize that I was a few years older than he? That I was wearing a wedding ring? Perhaps I shouldn’t be so flirtatious, I thought; this nice young man must have totally misconstrued my signals.
Although I was definitely pleased by this modicum of male attention, I was somewhat taken aback. I was about to state that I was a married woman and did not pick up or date men who were… um…checking me out, when I realized I may have misinterpreted his heavily accented proposal. So, to eliminate any potential misunderstanding, I asked him to repeat. Raising his head, his dark eyes locking with mine, he willingly obliged by slowly and distinctly restating his question. And he did this in a commanding voice that was loud enough for the entire checkout line to hear: Did I WANT THE SENIOR DISCOUNT?
The sensation I felt bordered on the spiritual; for a moment, I actually floated above my body and observed the scene below. Upon corporeal reentry, my once friendly demeanor turned to outrage and indignation as I answered—also quite clearly and loudly—NO!
Now, however, with a few more years under my belt and a yen for fashion accessories that flatter the face and draw attention away from the derriere, I’d return with an entirely different attitude.
“Si Señor,” would be my grateful and ever-so-feisty reply!