From Our Readers
September 28, 2013 6:00 am

It was a typical British summer’s day; the sun wasn’t shining, the birds weren’t particularly chirping, but nothing could dampen my mood. We were celebrating my mother’s birthday by going out for a meal, which involved my boyfriend Rob and my grandma meeting for the first time. Now whilst I enjoy going out with my family, I am still in the awkward teenage phase where anything even remotely embarrassing that they do makes me want to crawl under a rock and hide there for all eternity. However, I’ve been trying out this thing called ‘optimism’ lately (as I am naturally a cynical little pessimist) and thought “Of course my family won’t embarrass me!’ despite the fact that they now make a conscious effort at the dinner table to make me cringe in front of Rob.

As I had hoped, the meal went fine….. initially. I have to say, it kind of shocked me. I expected to walk in, sit down and then face a never-ending stream of embarrassment for the next two hours. But no. I sat down and we somehow made our way through pleasant conversation, my thirteen year old brother James and I not bickering too much and my grandma and Rob seemed to be getting on well. My grandma and mum had a chuckle at the ‘Pulled Pork’ on the menu, but I could excuse that because no-one else had realised. You could say it was all good and ‘dandy,’ if you’re one to use that kind of word, when suddenly, James pointed something out.

“Urgh,” he grimaced. “There’s two old people kissing!” With a look of sheer disgust on his face, he turned towards us and stupidly, decided to make a sweeping statement that no-one over the age of fifty should kiss in public. I completely disagreed with this….. and so too did my grandma. It was at that point that the conversation began to take an awkward turn and I could feel my palms slightly sweating, as my grandma seemed slightly frustrated that James was implying 50 years old is the cut off point for anything romantic. However, I was not prepared for what she would say.

“James,” she began. “Do you mean to tell me that older people shouldn’t be allowed to do anything-” and this is where part of me died inside- “EROTIC?” Yes, you heard me right readers, my grandma said the word EROTIC! Oh, just typing this makes me feel ill. You may be thinking I am over-sensitive and can’t cope with the ‘naughty’ words, but I’m sorry, erotic is a disgusting word, particularly to hear from someone who is in their late sixties. Just implying that the elderly still ‘get it on’ was enough to put me off my food that probably hadn’t even started cooking. However, they are still people and okay, I suppose I accept that elderly people can have all the ‘elderly fun’ that they want- but please elderly of the world, never say the word EROTIC!

After everyone stopped laughing at me, I decided to use the good ol’ “Ooh the weather is awful today!” tactic to change the conversation. Nevertheless, my grandma was on a mission to embarrass me. She continued on the conversation about age, sharing her wisdom with us by saying how she doesn’t feel old in her mind.

“You see James, you only feel about twenty in your brain when your older,” Fair comment. “… and you only feel twenty in your GROIN.” Cue my cringing. Was she just going to shout out horrible words until I sunk into my seat and collapsed on the floor in shame?! If it isn’t bad enough that she implied there are elderly people who still (shudders) canoodle, she said THAT. Pointing my head to the sky and looking to God for answers, I thought “Why me? I’m a good person, what have I done to deserve this?” Looking around, I saw that I was the only one cringing so much. Everyone else looked a bit embarrassed, but were again, laughing more so at my horrified amazement and at my grandma’s sudden comedic talent. My biggest fear was (and this will sound very pathetic) that my family would somehow manage to scare Rob off, although we have been going out for six months, but even my grandma, with her almighty cries of ‘EROTIC’ and ‘GROIN’ didn’t scare him off and just made him laugh- phew.

Sitting back in my chair, I contemplated the funny side of things, laughing at myself more than anything and wondered why I had got so embarrassed. No-one was actually going to care that my grandma was saying these things! No-one else would hear, apart from us. It was all over now, all we had left were our desserts. A young looking man then approached to take our desserts order. He turned to my grandma first.

She said very calmly “Yes, I would like the Lemon TINGLE please-” PAUSE. “- ooh I meant Lemon Tingler!” Dear Lord. She and the rest of the table began laughing at her inappropriate joke whilst I once again, looked up to the sky for answers before appropriately hanging my head in shame.

So what have we learned today? Never provoke a grandparent about a cut off age for romance? Or perhaps I need to swallow my pride and stop being embarrassed so easily. It is normally at this point into most of my articles that I try to find a reasonable solution to conclude with. However, my friends, I unfortunately bear no solution for today and can only say this. Everyone likes a cheeky joke, or maybe a rude little limerick every now and then- and I have learned that elderly people, no matter what the age, enjoy participating in a rude joke- particularly if it will embarrass their seventeen year old granddaughter.

You can read more from Sarah Mullaney on her blog.

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