Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

Brenda and I have been married 41 years.  I was never “cute.”  She used to tell me I was handsome.  She used to tell me I was sexy.  She used to tell me I was fun and cool.  She still does that sometimes.  But, cute wasn’t what she said to me.

I liked not being cute.  Cute is what YOUR grandchildren are.  MINE are stunning.  Cute is a little boy with freckles and a cowlick and wonderful red hair.  Cute is the couple in high school that isn’t quiet pretty and handsome.  Cute is the young man or young lady who would be declared handsome or gorgeous if they were taller, shorter, thinner, or whatever is popular at the time.

In other words, “cute” is acceptable.  Even desirable.  But, not preferred. Our sons aren’t cute.  They’re handsome.

But, now, after 63 years of living, my wife says I’m cute.  We were sitting on our screened back porch enjoying the peaceful evening this summer when she suddenly asked me, “Has another woman ever hit on you?”  Certainly not,  but even if hundreds had, the answer would have been the same. “No.”   She added insult to confusion, “I don’t understand that.  You’re cute.”

“Brenda, I wouldn’t recognize if someone did come on to me, since I’m not open for business.”  But, I assume women don’t come on to “cute” people.  They have to be sexy or handsome or rich.  Preferably rich.   “No, your cute husband hasn’t received any offers.”

This got me to wondering, when did I become cute?  I’m afraid I know that answer.  I’m cute – for an old man.  I’m cute for someone who wears his shirttails out like the old men in restaurants because they don’t want to tuck them in.  Cute for someone who’s fun to be around, even though he walks slowly and with a bit of a limp.  Cute for someone who isn’t (that) overweight and can’t fit in size 30 slacks anymore.

I’m about to decide that “cute” is like coming in second in the beauty pageant.  I guess at my age, I should be proud to be considered anything moderately attractive.  Even though I would rather be considered ruggedly handsome in a world-class, heart-stopping kind of way, I do admit that “cute” in the above cases are positive.  Very mild, but positive, nonetheless.

There are other meanings of the word “cute.”  They have very little to do with being a Baby Boomer.  They are definitely NOT mild and are anything BUT positive.

The definition is made clear by the inflection in “her” voice.   When the sentence is, “Well that certainly was cuuuuuuute,” with the u going on for a bit, that means either “that is the stupidest thing I’ve heard you say,” or it could be a dismissal because she considers me completely without merit at the moment.

When the word is clipped –excessively clipped – so that the entire word takes half a millisecond, it usually sounds like, “That was CUTE!”  When that happens, I usually have two choices.  Remove myself from her presence instantly.  INSTANTLY!  Or die a slow and painful death.

I guess I just don’t want to be cute.

Date of Blog Story: 
October 14, 2009

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