Cougars, Christmas and waitress abuse
by Lauretta Hannon
January 08, 2013 07:56 AM | 3834 views | 23 23 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Q: I’m an intelligent, attractive, and open-minded 52-year-old woman who seems to be a magnet for much younger men. Two I have met over the Internet have spoken to me in poetic and romantic terms that one only hears in bodice rippers (maybe that’s where they get the lines). After a year of almost daily communication, one of these men traveled here from Brazil to visit me. I am very careful: messages on the Internet, then on Skype and/or the phone, meeting in public after telling a friend where I’m going, literally checking picture IDs, Googling, etc. This process usually takes place over several weeks or months, long enough to discourage anyone with bad intent. I might as well be working for the CIA doing background checks on cabinet appointees.

Friends and family have cautioned me repeatedly that these young men only want to take advantage of me, particularly financially. This is amusing, as my financial assets are non-existent. In fact, these men all have well-paying jobs and spend their money on me. The way I see it, I am benefiting from these liaisons as much as, or more than, the men. They stay in touch over time, even if we don’t continue a dating relationship.

Your thoughts? (And why do you think young men are attracted to older women?) 

A: Here’s what I advise: continue to enjoy your life without regard to the frowns of friends, family, or society. What do they know? It sounds like you are taking precautions and ensuring that you won’t be a victim. So go forth without guilt or worry.

I should note that I know several women in their 50s who have been bamboozled in recent months by Facebook con artists pretending to be enamored with them. Their schemes are sophisticated and convincing. Just be aware, and use your good head at all times.

Why are younger men attracted to older women? That’s an easy one: BECAUSE WE’RE BETTER (and a few young bloods out there have figured it out). 

Q: How long is too long to leave up outside Christmas decor? Seriously, is there a courtesy deadline for the neighbors? Are there exemptions if say you have an all-encompassing theme that goes beyond Christmas? There must be rules about this. 

A: This is America, and the last thing we need is more rules, especially about stuff that doesn’t matter. Leave your décor up until doomsday if you’d like. Seriously, I’m a libertarian when it comes to things such as these. I say live free or die defending your right to keep Rudolph’s nose lit all year long! 

Q: A big pet peeve of mine is when folks are rude to people in the food service industry. I’m appalled at the bad behavior I observe in restaurants. What can be done? 

A: We begin by modeling good behavior ourselves and by practicing the Golden Rule in interactions with everyone. It’s been said that the true measure of a person is how she treats someone who can do her absolutely no good. You already know that, but unfortunately, some people don’t see it that way.

There are many reasons that their thinking is clouded, but the most common ones are these: they feel powerless in life, so they make the power plays in these kinds of dealings; they believe waitresses and the like are beneath them, a notion that makes me laugh out loud to the point of snorting; or they bring in their own baggage and unload it there.

When I witness an odious patron, I leave a super-generous tip and go out of my way to be nice to the server. It’s also imperative to let the perpetrator know that such behavior is unacceptable. So I shoot ‘em my laser death glare.

I was a waitress. It was hard and taxing work. I remember living on the edge, wondering if I could save up enough tip money to return to college before I head butted a customer.

The bottom line: all of us, whether we’re the ones serving or receiving the service, must never forget that everyone is struggling with something — and that kindness is a necessary addition to everything. 

Send your questions to .

Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen—A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Visit her at thecrackerqueen.com.

Comments
(23)
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texasjoyce
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January 10, 2013
I live in Texas and read your column every week (was already a Cracker Queen fan). Love the truth and humor combination--way to go, Lauretta!
Sara Connor
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January 08, 2013
Great column! Love reading it.
Carol Louise
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January 08, 2013
Been there! No Cougar woes, but they sound kind of nice. Yes, the running joke my siblings and I shared "Did you sneak back to the table and double Mom's/Dad's tip?" Not as funny as it once was though. Now that Dad is 70, pretty, young waitresses tend to get much nicer tips (actual cash). Mom, well she probably could use some cougar woes.
Mark H.
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January 08, 2013
A friend of yours and mine posted a link to this column (Renea W.). I enjoyed reading it and I will be following your future contributions. Keep up the good work!
Jamie Wyatt
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January 08, 2013
Bravo, again!

If you've ever been a server, you definitely have a greater appreciation for those who do that job! The service has to be flagrantly AWFUL for me to ever tip less than 20%.

Our outdoor Christmas lights stay up for months! I also keep my Nativities out all year. I believe as Walt Whitman: "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year!"

johntheplantman
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January 08, 2013
I am so pleased that you advised the cougar lady to just be careful and enjoy. I have always had trouble with younger women, so I can surely relate.
A Wells
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January 08, 2013
If she takes notes on the dialogue from these guys she might be able to write her own "bodice ripper" story.
Rene Garcia
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January 08, 2013
I used to be a table server decades ago . I can relate to this. It's the hardest and underappreciated job on earth (next to being an educator or flight attendant). Tip well, be kind.
Jeanie Cloninger
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January 08, 2013
I agree about the people who take their trees down too early. These folks put the trees up at Halloween or some such nonsense and then take it down before most folks have opened all their gifts.

Wait and put it up closer to Christmas and take it down after New Years, or Epiphany or whenever!

And I agree with Lauretta, we don't need any more rules in this country of ours.

ZippyW
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January 08, 2013
Wonderful advice. We should remember that everyone is struggling. Excellent article, as always. Can't wait to read the next one.
Malcolm R. Campbell
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January 08, 2013
Sage advice. As for that Christmas decorations question, it would be nice if people kept their trees up at least past sunset on Christmas day. It's depressing driving through the neighborhood on the afternoon of the 25th seeing trees already out for the trash truck. What's the rush?

Malcolm
Lee Beasley
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January 08, 2013
I agree with the answer Not Your Granny provided. Whenever I have dined with an elderly aunt and she insists on treating, I've always found an excuse to return to the table and leave a larger tip for the server. I tried early on letting her know a larger tip was called for, but I never could change her habits. I've often thought that it was a result of growing up during the Great Depression, but I've noticed similar behavior in younger generations. Servers work hard to make your meal a success. They deserve better.

Karen Beard
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January 08, 2013
I know a lot of folks who want good and abundance in their lives then stiff the waitress on a tip. The universal laws teach us that you get back what you give out. May God have these misguided folks spend a time as servers in the great Waffle House in Purgatory upon their demise.

BTW does Cougar lady have any good pre-screened leftovers?
southernbelle666
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January 08, 2013
Always love reading Lauretta's column! There is always something that gets me thinking!
Lianne Simon
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January 08, 2013
Lauretta,

I think that sometimes the friction between a waitress and her customers is simply due to a difference in cultures. A Southerner might consider a New York waitress rude because she seems so abrupt (efficient). On the other hand, a New Yorker visiting the South may wonder why a waitress wants to spend ten minutes asking about your family before taking your order (polite). I hope that we, as Southerners can be polite in the face of an efficient New York waitress. And even more considerate when we're representing our country abroad.
FrancesSommerville
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January 08, 2013
I just don't know WHAT I would do without Lauretta's column on Tuesdays! She doesn't know it...but she has breakfast with me! Keep in going!
Meditation Mamma
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January 08, 2013
Three thumbs up for your advice on dealing with people that are rude to those in the food service industry. Never forget that that person toting your meal could be you one day...
Eric Benjamin
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January 08, 2013
I <3 cougars, I'm married to one!
Beth H
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January 08, 2013
Ah, the "laser death glare." Receiving one of these would frighten most people into leaving generous tips and practicing their best manners for the remainder of their lives. Of course, that might mean we wouldn't have as much to ask of Lauretta, so let's not fix them "too much."

Lauretta's "Not Your Granny's Advice" column makes me look forward to Tuesdays! It's always good advice to start the day with a combined "aha" and a belly laugh.
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