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Beware the Transition from Cool to Cute

October 11, 2018
Fran in green dress

Formerly cool, now “cute” Fran.

This is the second in my series of blog posts about not aging gracefully.

I remember the day I became invisible. I was in New York City. I was 55-years-old, walking down Broadway, and couldn’t get a soul to look at me. Not one person.

My first thought was, Wow, I could rob banks now and it would be months before I’d be captured because I don’t register on anyone’s radar anymore. It could have been liberating, if it hadn’t been so ego deflating. My daughter sometimes complains about men making comments about her and I always tell her, “The only thing worse is when men stop noticing you completely.”

I was almost over being invisible, when I started going from cool to cute. Cool happens when someone younger has spoken to you and decides you’re OK. They then proclaim you cool. As in, “Wow, Milena, your mom is so cool.”

I loved the cool days.

However, I’m noticing lately that I’m going from cool to cute and often it’s younger people who make this proclamation. I know it’s a compliment.  They could just ignore me or say nothing, but they do seem to like me, and so now they say, “You are so cute!”

But it’s a dangerous transition because I’ve just gone from someone who appears fairly young and vital, to someone so grievously old that the younger person cannot believe you’re able to feed yourself, let alone function in society.

And since you’re clearly in control of your faculties, you’re proclaimed cute.  She’s so adorable. Look, she can still speak in full sentences and carry a train of thought, even in her doddering old way, isn’t she cute? You’re reduced to the likes of a clumsy, puppy.

It’s worse for men.  Once a man is proclaimed cute by women, he’s pretty much a eunuch. She would never have sex with him, but he’s sweet and kind of grandfatherly, so he’s cute.

Some people navigate it well. Look at Betty White, she’s both cool and cute, and she’s 96. Maybe by the time I’m 96, I’ll handle being called cute a little better. Until then, I pray I can go back to cool.

  • Reply
    Fran Tunno
    October 28, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    Hey George, I’m going to have to go back through my messages to see what you wrote about dancing in my kitchen…I’m sure your suggestion will help me get back to cool! Thanks for taking the time to respond!

  • Reply
    Julia Shure
    October 25, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    I hear you Fran, from cool to cute or sweet, just a few steps away from doddering!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 28, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      Yes!!! Julia, you totally get it. It kind of makes me laugh…and then kind of not…but if you don’t keep your sense of humor about this stuff, it’s not good. So, I’m doing my best with help from friends like you!!! Thanks for reading and taking the time to respond!!! Give my best to Marc!

  • Reply
    lafriday
    October 19, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Well, m’dear: you were born cute, you are unarguably cool and your are radiantly beautiful. All that, plus wit, brains, talent and the girl CAN COOK!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 28, 2018 at 5:35 pm

      It’s so nice to hear all these nice comments I wasn’t fishing for, but am loving. Thank you Linda, you are a wonderful support to me and have been so many times in my life. I’m sure I’ll be leaning on you as I work on navigating my 60s.

  • Reply
    Nicol
    October 17, 2018 at 6:29 am

    I think you are cool and beautiful! You constantly amaze me, not because you are able to feed yourself now, but because you have the spirit and energy of a teenager, and you are still discovering so much and creating happiness. You rock!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 28, 2018 at 5:33 pm

      Well, I absolutely love you and can’t wait to have coffee and hear all about NYC, so we will talk soon! Thank you for your continual support as I navigate aging, not as gracefully as I probably should!

  • Reply
    George A. "Tony" Maupin
    October 15, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    I will settle for “cute;” at my age that will have to do for me. [If you would like to be “cool” again, may I make a suggestion? (it concerns a suggestion I previously sent about you “dancing in your kitchen.”)

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