Some Old Man

Some old man in the restaurant where I was eating breakfast whistled for the waitress, and when she didn’t come, he kept right on whistling. Louder and louder, until his wife was clearly humiliated, and some other old man was shouting at him that “She is NOT a dog.” “She is NOT a dog.” The wife, of course, being a woman–I dare say, a lady— of a certain age, thanked the other old man, and said “I told him that, but it just wasn’t taking.”

This was not a sit-down restaurant. It doesn’t offer table-service, and the most you ever get out of the staff is a coffee pot round if they’re expecting a rush at the counter.

And, while I know you’d have to be senile to whistle at a waitress in 2017, I’m a less sure how much leeway you should give the little old men of the world. The waitress in question is from a culture that respects elders, and never, ever tells them to go fuck themselves, no matter how desperately they need to be told to go fuck themselves. So, she ignored him–worked a little harder, pretended not to notice him.

As far as I know, the only people who respond to whistles in 2017 are drug dealers.

My general recollection from childhood is that the approved form of address was something along the line of “Hey (Waitress’ first name, which you knew, because it was a small town, and also she’d already said something like my “name is…”), when you get a chance…”

No whistling, no snapping of fingers, no implication that you expect her to interrupt whatever she’s doing.

So, exactly when whistling might have been classy is anybody’s guess. (Never.)

I have my own geezer to worry about, and he’s teetering at the edge of tolerable and calls to his doctor to mention personality changes.

I suspect a lot of women have qualms about distinguishing between older gentlemen having dementia, and just plain being a pig.


  1. Reply

    Yeh, I hear what you are saying. I have a father who is 95, demented, and thinks it’s OK to comment loudly about other people. Today as we were leaving the hospital, he said embarrassingly judgmental things about a woman’s legs.

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