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Old 11-07-2015, 03:03 PM   #41
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One of the benefits of getting older is you stop caring what people think. In fact, I love saying scandalous things now just to shock people.

As to rudeness, the good people I know and care about are never be intentionally rude. Strangers who are realize instantaneously they've just made a big mistake.
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:10 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by MooreBonds View Post
Just don't forget to consider the counter-scenario.

Granted, I'm sure there are some settings where it's not necessary to ask, but there could be some situations (healthcare setting, where spouse has rights for medical decisions, as one example) where it is genuinely necessary to find out who the person next to them is.

And perhaps you will concede that the number of instances of a large age gap in a marriage is probably much less than the number of instances where you do have a legitimate case of 'just a parent and child' instead of the 2 people with a large age gap being married.

If you were in such a setting (where you were with a non-spouse relative who was indeed a generation apart), how would you feel if someone instead assumed you were married? Would the younger person feel insulted that they appeared much older? Would one or both feel insulated that they appeared as someone who just goes after someone younger as a sugar momma/daddy?

As I said, many times it's not necessary to ask - but don't forget about the potential ramifications of someone who is truly trying to guess for perhaps a valid reason, and is instead assuming the situation is one of the vast majority of cases of 2 different generations, rather than you being married to each other (which is a much smaller % of times).
Your post helped me understand Amethyst's situation.

I Disagree with you regarding the frequency of "need to know" situations justifying asking for the details of a relationship to be identified. I think these situations would be relatively rare. Yes, in a medical situation, the medical staff needs to know who you are, but they can ask without coupling the question with a guess or assumption. They can ask "who are you?" as opposed to "are you his wife or his daughter?" Or "are you married?"

When I go to my disabled grandson's school to pick him up, I am asked to identify myself. I clearly look old enough that I'm likely to be grandpa and not dad. But no one ever asks "are you junior's grandfather or his dad"? They simply ask who I am. And when I identify myself, they check for the letter in the file authorizing me to pick him up and leave with him. (I take him to Easter Seals for therapy.)

I doubt that many situations beyond these kind of examples (with legal implications) arise in life. And they'll be fairly rare. It seems Amethyst's situation involves rude, nosy folks who are just idly curious and want to inappropriately know more and press for details.

Here's another example. The school asks who I am and checks ID when I pick my grandson up during the school day. I understand and It's perfectly OK. Then, on the way home from therapy, we stop at a restaurant for lunch. A nosy waitress wants to know if he is my son or grandson. Inappropriate and rude. I could have fathered a child with a younger woman or he could be my grandson. But no business of hers even if she means no harm by the questioning. Zero tip for that b#tch.
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:16 PM   #43
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MooreBonds,

We have no problem explaining in a doctor or dentist's office, where a "need to know" exists. For one thing, you usually introduce yourself in such places. They don't come up to you out of nowhere :-) I was seeking ways to deal with people who had no business asking in the first place, or won't let go.

I don't think it's any more legitimate to assume a "sugar" relationship because there's an age difference, than to assume a "green card-seeking" relationship if there is difference in race or nationality. If I did arrive at such an assumption, I wouldn't inquire of the parties to find out if I was right

.[/QUOTE]
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:25 PM   #44
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And how did you respond to the shocking facts so revealed?



One thing that strikes me about this thread is that several people have counseled me not to "let it bother me," as if I were at fault for being annoyed when people openly betray their bigotry.

It's funny; we have many lengthy threads about "what to do when people criticize my early retirement," and my thought is always "if they're happy, why do they let what others say bother them." I guess where you sit is where you stand, or words to that effect.
Well, we didn't think it was shocking--is it? I must be oblivious because I've never noticed random stranger commenting to me about personal things and no criticisms about ER either.

My aunt looks several years older than her husband even though he is actually older than her and she still laughs about when an airline ticket agent told her that her "son" had the tickets--no harm, he just meant that guy you are traveling with and made an assumption. I don't think it was a form of bigotry but I am not sitting or standing there so maybe it was.
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:26 PM   #45
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Exactly. We are adults; we know how to introduce ourselves. A couple's introduction will tell you how they are coupled. "Hi, I'm Sam and this is my brother, George." (You don't go up to them and say, "Hey, are you guys gay?")

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Your post helped me understand Amethyst's situation.

I Disagree with you regarding the frequency of "need to know" situations justifying asking for the status of a relationship to be identified. Yes, in a medical situation, the medical staff needs to know who you are, and they can ask without coupling the question with a guess or assumption. They can ask "who are you?" as opposed to are you his wife or daughter? Or "are you married?"

When I go to my disabled grandson's school to pick him up, I am asked to identify myself. I clearly look old enough that I'm likely to be grandpa and not dad. But no one ever asks "are you junior's grandfather"? They ask who I am. And when I identify myself, they check for the letter of file authorizing me to pick him up and leave with him. (I take him to Easter Seals for therapy.)

I doubt that many situations beyond these kind of examples (with legal implications) arise in life. It seems Amethyst's situation involves rude, nosy folks who are just idly curious and want to inappropriately know more and press for details.
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Old 11-07-2015, 04:30 PM   #46
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A nosy waitress wants to know if he is my son or grandson. Inappropriate and rude. I could have fathered a child with a younger woman or he could be my grandson. But no business of hers even if she means no harm by the questioning. Zero tip for that b#tch.
Wow, I had no clue this was inappropriate. I've asked this question before to older folks at my kid's gym playtime and at the park. Just making conversation and trying to relate to other people. "Is that your son/daughter/kid?" is about the nicest way I can think of to ask this question without presuming relationships that might be offensive. The person might be a social worker/case worker, therapist, aunt or uncle, sibling, grandparent, friend of the family, etc.

A trickier question is "are you the mom or the nanny?" when I see a very young mom with many kids close together in age but not obviously multiples. "Is that your kid?" seems to work well in this situation too.

If these people don't want to talk or reveal anything about themselves, it's easy to take a hint and bug off. I can't recall getting the bug off signal though. Or maybe I'm clueless.
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:00 PM   #47
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You can ask "is/are they your handsome boy(s)/beautiful girl(s)?" It's a friendly compliment that assumes nothing. You will surely learn "yes, my kids/grandkids/I'm out with my kids and my sister's kids today" or "Oh, I'm their nanny," in return. That would apply whether it's a man or a woman with the children, since nowadays, some nannies are men.

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A trickier question is "are you the mom or the nanny?" when I see a very young mom with many kids close together in age but not obviously multiples. "Is that your kid?" seems to work well in this situation too.
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If these people don't want to talk or reveal anything about themselves, it's easy to take a hint and bug off. I can't recall getting the bug off signal though. Or maybe I'm clueless.
No, it just means you're not doing anything to make them feel uncomfortable. Our issues are with nosy strangers, who aren't interested in making friends with us. Their only goal is to find out a) what our relationship consists of and b) how far apart in age we are.
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:10 PM   #48
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If these people don't want to talk or reveal anything about themselves, it's easy to take a hint and bug off. I can't recall getting the bug off signal though. Or maybe I'm clueless.
In my world, being probed by total strangers for relationship information, even if just for small talk, is inappropriately intrusive. In a circumstance such as you describe, where there is at least some common ground (you said gym playtime), if you asked me out of the blue whether junior was my son or my grandson, I'd likely tell you. But I wouldn't appreciate the fact that you probed for the information as opening remarks.

Whether I'm " social worker/case worker, therapist, aunt or uncle, sibling, grandparent, friend of the family, etc." is something I'd rather not be pressured to tell a stranger as the first words of our meeting. And I think that's a fairly common feeling here in our urban area.

If you were to introduce yourself first giving a significant amount of your own personal data, that would make a difference. "Hi, I'm Fuego. I live over on 5th street near the school. That's my daughter Betty Lou over there on the jungle gym." After that I'd likely respond with "Glad to meet you Fuego. My name is youbet and I'm here with my grandson junior there on the slide."

But having you just walk up and ask if I'm dad or grandpa or social worker, etc., I don't care for that.

Now at Easter Seals, where I take my grandson for therapy, relatives and care givers all get to know each other pretty well over a short time. We have something in common. We introduce ourselves to new people and introduce the new people to other veterans. It's not uncommon to know quite a bit about folks you've only known for a few months. We have some strong common ground.

BTW, I notice your kid doesn't look like you. From your wife's first marriage? Adopted? Does the biological dad have visitation rights? How's it working out? (Some personal, probing questions from total strangers can just make you feel uncomfortable.)
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:28 PM   #49
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I tend to think that most people are way more interested in themselves than they are in others. If someone rudely blurts out a question about a couple's age difference, yes, I would probably think it was rude. But still, I might muse about the incident later on. Perhaps that rude person's heart was broken, because of choosing not to marry the love of their life who was 20 years older, a long time ago. The only reason I might be thinking that, is that maybe it would be human nature for the rude person to be consumed with thoughts of his/her own past, rather than curious about somebody else's present.
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Old 11-07-2015, 06:23 PM   #50
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My DW is 25 years younger than I and while I look young for my age it still leaves plenty of room for obvious age difference. Now after 4 years together I would say we have never received a rude question or comment related to our age difference. It may be because virtually always when we go somewhere together we have our toddler with us which makes the nature of our relationship pretty clear to most. Would I ever receive a rude question from a stranger, this thread has given me plenty of good tips for a response.
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Old 11-07-2015, 06:52 PM   #51
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I'm a full 18 months older than DW. She has some health issues and looks about 20 years older than her age. I (of course) am the emblem of a healthy ER and look about 17.

OK, it isn't that bad, but why would we care what others think? Our friends and family know she isn't a cradle robber and I'm not a (male) gold digger so WTFC?
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Old 11-07-2015, 07:04 PM   #52
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My husband is a lot older than I am. He is my second husband, and eminently the better of the two. We have been married longer than almost anyone I know...some of the people who said it wouldn't last, are now dead My family and friends never cared about the age difference.

Still, I'm well aware that people are curious when they see any couple with a noticeable "difference" (race, age, what have you). Most people don't say anything. Lately, though, I have been getting an increasing number of remarks and questions from virtual strangers.

To me: "So you're father and daughter, right?" "No, we're married."

Embarrassed silence from the other party, as if they've just uncovered some dirty secret! This just frosts me. I feel like saying, "So, are you reporting us to the Age Gestapo?"

And then, some people - old men, especially - don't want to leave the subject alone. "Really! Are you using Botox?" As if they think I am really my husband's age, and just had some work done! That frosts me even more!

So, I want to nip the subject in the bud without a fuss. I can see the humor in the situation, and I've tried using humor to defuse it. However, I resent having to do this, because these people don't deserve it. Our ages, and even our relationship status, are truly nobody's business, except at the doctor's office. At the same time, I don't want to get all hissy and "that's none of your business," which could make me sound defensive.

Any ideas? This group is usually so good at coming up with comebacks!
This just goes with the territory. I think if you step back and try and understand how others perceive your noticeable age difference its just natural for people to be curious.

I know its easy for me to say. But if I married someone thats 10 to 15 years older or younger I would expect some strange reactions from some people.
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Old 11-07-2015, 07:33 PM   #53
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Exactly. We are adults; we know how to introduce ourselves. A couple's introduction will tell you how they are coupled. "Hi, I'm Sam and this is my brother, George." (You don't go up to them and say, "Hey, are you guys gay?")
I guess Sam saying, "Hi, I'm Sam and this is my brother, George. We're both gay" just encourages more rude questions--or maybe it opens the door to a very interesting conversation.
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Old 11-07-2015, 07:36 PM   #54
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You can ask "is/are they your handsome boy(s)/beautiful girl(s)?" It's a friendly compliment that assumes nothing.
If a male stranger said that my child was a "handsome boy" or "beautiful girl", I'd definitely be wary, and likely the warning siren would be going off in my head.
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Old 11-07-2015, 09:10 PM   #55
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My late husband was a lot older than me and we were never questioned or got any remarks . My SO & I are the same age but people are always asking "Are you married ". It really does not bother us we just say we forgot to get married .
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:29 PM   #56
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And how did you respond to the shocking facts so revealed?



One thing that strikes me about this thread is that several people have counseled me not to "let it bother me," as if I were at fault for being annoyed when people openly betray their bigotry.

It's funny; we have many lengthy threads about "what to do when people criticize my early retirement," and my thought is always "if they're happy, why do they let what others say bother them." I guess where you sit is where you stand, or words to that effect.

I have been thinking about this a bit and I think you are being a bit rude to get upset at someone for asking a normal type question....

It is the norm that when you see and older man and a younger woman that the relationship is father and daughter and maybe much older brother and sister.... so asking the question 'are you father and daughter?' is a natural question.... you answer it 'No, we are married' and that should be that....

My daughter is 45 years younger than me... I have had people ask if I was her granddad, and I say 'No, her dad' and leave it at that... I have never been upset at that question.... and nobody has been rude to me....


So, I think the appropriate answer is the one you give... if they come back with something else that is rude, then fine, but just the normal question should not set you off....
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:42 PM   #57
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Well, I have read the posts that were after my last post that quoted OP...

It seems there there is a group of people that think a question such as the OP stated is just rude.... there are others, like me, that do not think so... Now, I put this in a certain context of where and when this question comes up.... if it is from someone just walking down the street, I would agree... but say you were on a cruise... sat down to eat and started a conversation with the people around the table... not rude IMO.... so context does matter...
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Old 11-08-2015, 05:54 AM   #58
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I think it is normal for people to be curious and even ask. It is mostly innocent.
I would give them the honest answer. That you love each other, (and age means very little).
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:21 AM   #59
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To me: "So you're father and daughter, right?" "No, we're married."
I sometimes play "evasive questions" just to entertain myself in situations like this (questions that feel wrong to you). Also called the "Eliza" tactic.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELIZA

As in, for example:
Them: "So you're father and daughter, right?"
You: "A lot of people ask me that"
Them: "So, you're not?"
You: "What makes you think we were?"
Them: "Well, you look so much alike"
You: "We do? In what way?"

You score maximum points if you manage to make them forget about the original question and get them to start talking about themselves.

Extra credit for finishing the conversation in 1 minute or less

The problem alot of the time is that people didn't get a course in asking decent questions anywhere in their life. Especially elders have an additional 'issue' that apparently they tend to speak their minds more easily (something in the aging brain structure lowers thresholds). Not to excuse anyone, but we all have different frameworks and rules in what is appropriate.

I also suffer from Foot-in-Mouth disease rather frequently. Sometimes people are forgiving, sometimes not. I'm mostly grateful when they are.
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:32 AM   #60
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I have a good female friend who ended up marrying a guy about 20 years older than her when she was in her early 20s. He has always looked and acted young even now in his 70s. I never really gave it much thought.
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