Who the #%$@ are YOU?!?

I was walking home from the supermarket with my younger son yesterday.  We were chatting happily with each other when all of a sudden some strange man in his 50's (I'm assuming), started talking to my boy.  I looked at him warily from behind my shades (I love shades for that reason) while assessing if he posed any threat. 

Seeing none, I paused in my walking to hear whatever it was he had to say.  

That was dumb of me in this case; I should have kept on walking and ignored him, but I digress.

50's dude said: "Hello there young man, it's so nice to see you taking old people out for a walk, because you know old people need it."

I was kind of taken aback, so I had no snappy come-back, no retort, no nothing.  I just sort of smiled like an idiot and walked away!  My younger son can hide from strangers behind my bum and though he didn't this time, he was clearly confused by the entire exchange.  

As was I.  What the heck did he mean by "old people?"  I'm OLD?  How am I old?  Was his statement an "age" statement truly or a statement more related to the fact that he thinks I'm overweight and NEED to walk?  

I am now going to seemingly contradict myself, but hear me out.  I am, in fact, old enough to know that a gentleman (an old fashioned title meaning: a man with manners and public decorum) does not ask a lady her age and nor does he dare to comment on her weight!  I don't think that is appropriate with people you might see on a regular basis, never mind a complete (bleeping) stranger!  

So this is 2013, where it's now OK for a man to insult a woman he does not know, while she is walking with her child, even if the insult, quite possibly, wasn't intended.  Whether he was talking about my actual age or my overall size (which is quite upsetting because I have lost over 10 INCHES off of my entire body so far; see "Challenge Accepted!!!" and you will understand this reference) it doesn't matter.  What does matter is that I think something precious has been completely lost if a man, older than I am, does not know that it's inappropriate to comment on either a woman's age or dress size directly or indirectly.

I can appreciate old fashioned propriety.  It's nice to have someone open the door for me, or help me on with my jacket, certainly not because I am unable, but because it makes me feel special.  Every woman may not feel the same way, and that's fine.  That standard of behaviour is not for everyone.  

Conversely, I am quite modern and forward thinking in some areas.  Essentially, I'm a unique mix of modern and old fashioned, lady and tomboy and it works for ME!  With certainty, I am hardly the only woman who would claim to fall somewhere in the middle of the old fashioned-modern spectrum.

That moment in time is gone and I can neither change it nor bring back "rudeness un-gentleman" and say something to him.  So instead, here is what I would hope for, if the universe could just line things up properly for me with regard to this random stranger and his smiling insults: once I have lost all of the weight that I want to lose and I look damn good, I HOPE that I get to see that man again, and what's more, I hope that he recognizes me so that I can look at him like so much dust floating in the air, make a derisive noise and walk away!  

Yes, I know, that is not the high road or terribly mature.  What it is actually, is a complete statement of frustration.  Besides, I think my hypothetical behavioural response is better than a verbal exchange that would definitely go like this: "However many months ago, you, a complete stranger, insulted me while I was walking with my kid and I was just wondering, who the #%$@ are you?!?"