It was another almost-day-off for Laetitia. As she poured a steaming cup of coffee and walked into the Emerald Victorian’s library, she had already decided to base the limerick on the previous night’s restaurant visit.
From time to time, Laetitia’s grandmother liked to treat her grandchildren to dinner at a nice restaurant. The previous night, Laetitia and her grandmother were joined by one of Laetitia’s married cousins and her four-year-old daughter. The youngster sat next to her great grandmother, and Laetitia and her cousin sat across the table from them. A waiter breezed up to the table, recited the list of specials, and then said to Laetitia’s grandmother, “What would you like, dear?”
Laetitia watched her grandmother’s face go apoplectic as her Irish temper soared toward its flash point. To her grandmother, “Dear” was a patronizing term of address that younger people started using around the time her hair turned white. She viewed it as a term that implies that a woman is dithery and no longer relevant. Before she could say, “My name is not Dear, dear,” her four-year-old great granddaughter stood up and said indignantly, “She’s not a deer; deers have antlers and hooves.”
Everyone laughed, the moment passed, and the conversation moved on to more pleasant subjects. Laetitia thought to herself, “I suspect that people who use that condescending term don’t realize how demeaning that sounds to older women. At least the waitress didn’t call Grandmother ‘old pussy,’ the term Agatha Christie often used to describe her elderly amateur detective, Jane Marple.” On the way home, Laetitia made some mental notes about the limerick she would write in the morning.
My grandmother wants it made clear
You’re not to address her as “dear”
A term condescending
Ladies find offending
When their life has reached a vintage year.