It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Antiseptic Scrub, please.

Suffered a nasty start to my day, at our local coffee shop. I had arranged the boys (Arthur, Hunter, George, and Darcy) on a curved bench in a corner, pulled a chair to the other side of the small round table, and we were set for a happy half-hour of conversation and snack, me with my coffee, they with their bagels and cheese, before heading off to the park. The boys are adorable, chattering at reasonable volume, remembering their pleases and thank-you’s, being just about as sweet as it is possible for a three-year-old to be. Which is plenty sweet! Sitting as we are by the front door, several people stop to comment on the children, or exchange simple pleasantries with them.

A grandfatherly type is sitting at an adjacent table. Fifteen minutes or so after our arrival, he rises to leave.

Looking at me, he chuckles, “That’s quite the crew of boyfriends you’ve got there.”

It’s hokey, but he’s of a generation that talked like that, and I’ve been raised to be respectful to the elderly, so I smile. Even as I open my mouth to respond, however, he continues,

“Don’t you think you should pick someone closer your own age?”

My smile falters a bit at that, for by my standards he’s veering into the realm of questionable taste, and it felt just a little barbed, but he’s still chuckling, so I try to respond lightly, going along with his feeble joke, humouring him until he goes away.

“I’m rather partial to three-year-olds,” I say with a grin. He’s on his way out the door. This uncomfortable exchange won’t last much longer.

He’s not done with me yet, though, and he tosses this last at me as he pulls the door open. “Well, you can still abuse them.” Pause. “Or beat them up.”

My stomach contracts with shock and utter disgust.

“I don’t think I’ll do either, thanks!” I call after him, with some savagery, but he’s already passed through the door and probably has not heard me.

Yuk. Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk. It took a good two hours in the autumn sunshine to wash the taint of that exchange from my soul.

October 3, 2005 - Posted by | eeewww, the dark side


  1. Ewwww, *shudder* that’s horrible!

    In the early part of the story, I was reminded of a quote I saw today:

    “Men show their character in nothing more clearly than what they think laughable.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    The remainder of the post proved this one to be true.

    Comment by Sharkey | October 3, 2005 | Reply

  2. ewwww….I’d feel dirty after that one. I wonder what HE imagines about 3 year old boys…eewwww!

    Hope you were able to reclaim your fine day!


    Comment by Heather | October 3, 2005 | Reply

  3. Eww.

    I wonder if he’s one of the weirdos who wind up at my site with their icky Google searches.


    Comment by Susan | October 3, 2005 | Reply

  4. Whaaa? How wretched!

    Comment by Misfit Hausfrau | October 3, 2005 | Reply

  5. It’s awful enough that he said it, but to say it in front of the kids was truly disgusting. I love the Goethe quote. Amen to that.

    Comment by SO not Martha | October 3, 2005 | Reply

  6. Sharkey: Thanks for that quote! I’m rereading it, trying to commit it to memory. It’s very true.

    Heather: Exactly my question, if he managed to find something questionable about my interactions with the little boys. Happily, the sunshine and the playground eventually worked their magic, and I had a very nice rest of my day.

    Susan: If he’s not, he’s of that type. Nasty man.

    Hausfrau: Let’s hope he doesn’t have any grandchildren, shall we?

    SNMartha: I’m a very non-confrontational person, but in this instance it was only the presence of the children (who were entirely oblivious to overtones of the exchange, thankfully) that prevented me from reacting much more forcefully. I’d have frightened them by my reaction, even though they hadn’t understood him at all. Bleah.

    Comment by Mary P. | October 3, 2005 | Reply

  7. Gross! Gross gross gross! How horrible! I’m glad you called after him, even if he didn’t hear you. I would have probably been too shocked to react. This is definately one elderly man I would not judge you for disrespecting!

    Comment by Haley | October 4, 2005 | Reply

  8. There are some nasty people out there. Some who parade their nastiness as humour and some which don’t.

    I think your elderly ‘gentleman’ is the latter.

    And bravo to your fine boys for showing how a real gentleman behaves 🙂 Well done Harry, Hunter, George and Darcy (why does that sound like a law firm?)


    Comment by craziequeen | October 4, 2005 | Reply

  9. Haley: That’s my response, too. It took me a beat or two to realize this despicable man really was being as nasty as it seemed, which was why he was out the door before I responded. But I am pleased I said something, even if it wasn’t as strong as was warranted!

    CQ: Elderly he was, but definitely not a gentleman! Not like my four, you’re quite right.

    Comment by Mary P. | October 4, 2005 | Reply

  10. No! No! No! NOOOO!!!! I would have been so appalled that I wouldn’t have been able to think of ANYTHING to say to that wreched idiot until way after he left. Then I would have come up with some superior retort and then would have wished I had his phone number so I could have called and told him! Sicko Freak!
    Thank God that your little guys are way too young to have realized what he was saying!

    Comment by Jill | October 4, 2005 | Reply

  11. Sadly, there are such people in the world. Well done Mary for being above it. Just spare them a moment of pity and then get on with enjoying life and being glad to be alive.

    Some people view life as something to be survived, I choose to work to enjoy it and cherish it.

    It’s also why I don’t use my kid’s names on my blog!

    Comment by Simon P. Chappell | October 4, 2005 | Reply

  12. Eew, yuk & ick! I can’t believe he said that, right there in an open public place!

    I’d be minded to report him to the authorities just on that conversation, as he obviously thinks like that. I’m not a big believer in some of the current child-protection principles, but that’s disgusting & slandering you as a professional. Thank God none of the children could understand what he was talking about.

    PS what fascinating spam you get. It quite lightened my mood. Why even bother trying to pretend to be a proper comment about such an unlikely subject?

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | October 4, 2005 | Reply

  13. Jill: Normally that would be me: rendered mute by shock, and full of clever retorts after the fact. I don’t think my retort was all that clever, but I’m glad I managed to spit something out! He needed to be rebutted at least a bit.

    Simon: They do indeed exist, and you’re absolutely right: life is to be savoured. Which is why creation is so beautiful, and we’ve been given an appreciation of beauty, I think. The amber fall light through the changing leaves did much to restore my peace.

    Anonymous: Welcome, and thanks so much for spamming me! I’m so glad you found my information on Hair Removal (where? when?) helpful. While it’s not a high priority in my life, I’m sure it is in yours, oh hirsute one.

    Mrs A: I’ve never felt the need to have the CAS phone number programmed into my cell phone for quick dial-up, but that would have been an appropriate occasion.

    In fact, there’s a second Hair Removal ad somewhere on the blog. I know this because all comments appear in my gmail account, but I can’t find it. Rather insulting that they think I need two such adds, really…

    Comment by Mary P. | October 4, 2005 | Reply

  14. That’s just downright SICK. Run far. Run fast.

    I’m so glad Anonymous posted. I’m interested in having some hair removed.

    Comment by MIM | October 4, 2005 | Reply

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