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The Day I Joined the Ranks of Invisible Older Women

Updated on June 13, 2012
The invisible older woman.
The invisible older woman. | Source

One day, I became an invisible older woman. It was not because I chose to, but because someone else chose to see me that way. On that day, my physical, social being was dismissed as though it were a pesky fly in need of being shooed off a pie.

Happy Fifty-first Birthday To Me - I've Become Invisible

On the morning of my fifty-first birthday I stopped by the local convenience store to pick up a cup of coffee to keep me company on the hour-long commute I had ahead of me. If I do say so myself, I was looking pretty spiffy, wearing a flattering suit I’d bought the day before and a pair of stylish heels that were surprisingly comfortable. At the store’s coffee service area, I filled a small paper cup with French vanilla coffee, covered it with a lid, and stepped to the back of a long line of customers waiting to check out.

Early Morning Pleasantries

As I waited, my thoughts drifted to the tasks I had planned for the day. I wasn't focusing on them, exactly, it was more like gathering them together in a kind of mental warm-up for hitting the floor running when I got to the office. A soothing drone of customers’ voices exchanging pleasantries played around the outside of my thoughts. A Will there be anything else, sir? or a Thank you and have a nice day! from the cheerful, young cashier filtered now and again through my woolly thoughts. Most of the customers were men, dressed in company uniforms or overalls and well-worn working boots, buying coffee and morning snacks, the usual crowd at the start of a work day. Directly in front of me, a young mother braced a child on her hip with one hand and held a small jug of milk in the other. The young cashier cooed over the baby.

Source

The Coffee Cup Gets the Attention

Finally, it was my turn. I placed my coffee cup on the counter along with a five-dollar bill, ready to greet the cashier with a smile and a Good morning! But she kept her eyes on the coffee cup, rang up the purchase, and said to the coffee, That’s 98 cents. There was no Will there be anything else, ma’am? for me, not even a glance in the direction of my face. She whipped my money off the counter, slapped the change down, and greeted the next customer with a cheerful Good morning, clearly dismissing me just like that fly.

My friends will tell you that I am seldom speechless, but that morning I had nothing to say. I felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me. Even if I had been able to come up with something smart, witty, or even kind, I wouldn’t have been able to muster the breath to deliver it.

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Invisibility - What a Birthday Gift!

On the morning of my fifty-first birthday, I had become an invisible woman, which as far as this young cashier was concerned, also meant useless, insignificant, unimportant, valueless, and just not there. I walked out of the store, got into my car, put the now sneering coffee cup into the cup holder, and looked in the lighted mirror on my visor. I saw myself, my face, ME. I pinched my arm. Yes, I felt the pinch on my very material body. I hadn’t changed, I hadn’t become invisible, but something else had changed. I pulled the car out of its parking space and started my commute to work.

Have you been treated as invisible?

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If you love to drive, as I do, then you know the places your mind can go above and beyond paying attention to driving. Driving can induce a state of relaxation, and in this state I let the events at the convenience store go where they would in my thoughts.

By the time I reached the office, I’d come to a comfortable place about becoming an invisible older woman in the eyes of others. I reasoned that it didn’t have anything to do with me, but rather with another’s perception. I actually felt sorry for that cashier even while I also felt a bit of vindictiveness at the idea that she’d be 51 someday, too. Let her deal with that when the time comes.

All in all, it was a good birthday gift in that it was a reminder of the way I was raised, as expressed so eloquently by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.: Good manners sometimes means simply putting up with other people's bad manners. The additional gift to me, and to the young cashier, was that I didn’t slug her in the jaw.

Good News

I don't know exactly why, but the young cashier was fired soon thereafter, and that was good news to me. I was happy to see her go. Maybe her being fired taught her this important lesson before she reaches 51: Equality is the public recognition, effectively expressed in institutions and manners, of the principle that an equal degree of attention is due to the needs of all human beings. ~Simone Weil

© 2011 Sally's Trove. All rights reserved.

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    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 5 years ago from SE MA

      Back when I was out on the road every day, I had a choice of Dunkin Donuts or HoneyDew for coffee. The Dunkin Donuts was on my way, the Honey Dew required a small detour.

      I prefer DD. The Honey Dew is all right, but I like DD better.

      The clerks at DD were never friendly. They always seemed unhappy to see me. At Honey Dew, I always got a bright smile and a cheery greeting. After a while, they even knew my name.

      Guess where I always stopped unless I was in a big hurry?

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Two words: Voted up.

      Now more... :) That moment comes to many of us in one form or another. For me, here in the good ole' South it was the day a young woman deferred to me and addressed me as Ma'am in a store aisle--long before age 51. It wasn't the usual southern greeting, it was a distinctive deference--polite enough for southerners, but deference. It is a moment of truth. :) Looks like you handled it very well!

      There is great comfort in the fact that there are still people who recognize that what God says about growing older and what He says about mature people stands true no matter what any societal culture believes.

      As well, your line, "it didn’t have anything to do with me, but rather with another’s perception" could be paraphrased, "...but rather with another's deception." The people who have turned away from the esteem and respect that God says is owed to older generations by younger ones are deceived and would be wise to heed His warnings on the matter.

      I've come to see that growing old with grace has its richest meaning if I look at things through the lens of God's Word. If I seek His help to maintain His perspective as a Christian through the power of His Son in my heart and mind I am full of contentment and confidence. When I don't, I struggle in needless ways. How thankful I am for His help in the autumn of my life!

      The honesty with which you write is compelling. Looking forward to following these comments.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 5 years ago from Queensland Australia

      the phenomenon is similar for us 50 + guys

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 5 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      Hey! Forget the bit about being an older woman at 51! I am counting backwards! Perhaps the cashier had a bad realtionship with their parents and thought you were of the same generation!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Pcunix, you have your priorities in order. After all, it's about customer service. The business that does it right is the one that will get your business, and mine.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      RTalloni, the transition from being called "Miss" to being called "Ma'am" is a hugely significant life point for many women. My grown daughter shared an incident a few days ago where a young man (with manners) called her "Miss", while his elders called her "Ma'am." So, she got placed on the fence at that juncture, but the fence was defined by respect and not by ignorance or dismissal. We are privileged to have us called "Miss Anne" or "Miss Sherri" as a sign of respect from not only children but adults of every age. It's not only a Southern thing, it's a Midwest thing, too. So, when you turn 51 and get that first dose of "I don't see you," well, that's a life event. At that point, nobody calls you Miss or Ma'am...they don't even see you.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, and I'm looking forward to the comments as well.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Barry, please share. There's a poll up there that asks about guys being treated as invisible. Maybe you can vote there and also share an experience here in the comments.

      I've never had a discussion with a man of my age who has been subject to this kind of dismissal. In fact, on that day that I wrote about, no matter the age of the working men on line at the convenience store, the young cashier was attentive to them.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      LOL CASE1WORKER about counting backwards. I am sure the cashier had me in her sights as someone to be wary of. :)

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      I know just how you feel. It will get worse. One day when I heard a lady in her 60's called elderly I was shocked thinking, am I really elderly I didn't think I was. Also when did the day come when men stopped looking at me I'm not sure if that was in the 30's or 40's. It did just happen one day.

      Young people they think they will be young forever. One morning they will look in the mirror and be shocked at what they see.

      My mother still thinks I'm 10.

      Enjoyed your hub.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Vicki L Hodges 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Funny, moonlake, that your mother still thinks you're 10. haha

      Great hub, Sally's Trove. It is sometimes shocking how things change for us so quickly. Well-written hub. It really made me think.

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      From one invisible person to another, Happy Belated Birthday (whenever it was)! Used to be we could count on a bit more respect with age, not less! Such a wonderful lesson to take away from the experience, though.

    • ShyeAnne profile image

      ShyeAnne 5 years ago from Deep Bay, British Columbia, Canada

      Youth is fleeting. The transistion to being treated by the way we present, middle-aged, as opposed to how we feel, young a heart, can be startling.

      I remember being vaguely annoyed when I knew I was being checked out by the opposite sex in my younger adulthood. I also remember being vaguely disappointed when they stopped looking. We only slide into obscurity if we allow it. One needs strength to be up to the challenge of aging in a society that glorifies youth and defines beauty using that criteria. :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      @moonlake, my mother often says to me, "You will always be my baby." How could we look at our grown children any other way? Thank you for your awesome comment. :)

      @Victoria, ty so much for the good words and the observation about things changing quickly. How we respond to the changes sets the course of our future.

      @RedElf, ty for the birthday wish (I've had a few more since then)! Respect for age is lacking in our culture, and that's a huge topic. Glad you found something worthwhile in this hub.

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 5 years ago from SE MA

      Our grown children have been complaining that it is time for us to stop calling them by the nicknames we've used all their lives. Hey, if a 37 year old woman still calls me "Tony-dad", why can't I call her "Boopie" ? :-)

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      ShyeAnne, yes, and they also say that youth is wasted on the young. When we get to that middle-age place, how appreciative we are of what we no longer have!

      I share with you that mild annoyance of having the attention of the opposite sex when I was younger, and also the the vague disappointment of not having it now. I love long-distance road trips, but these days, truckers no longer blast their diesel air horns at me. LOL

      You are so right about needing strength to live in this society that glorifies youth. As I mentioned earlier in my comment to RedElf, respect for age is lacking and that's a huge topic.

      TY so much for your insightful comment.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Pcunix (Tony-dad), respect goes both ways, from younger to older and the other way around. If your daughter doesn't like being called Boopie now, then that's a conversation the two of you should have. It's hard to let go at our age, but it's also hard for our kids to continue to accept expressions from us that worked when they were young but may not work now.

    • Kulsum Mehmood profile image

      Dr.Kulsum Mehmood 5 years ago from Nagpur, India

      At 61 I ought to be an in...visible woman. But I am not. Thanks to my higher education and career. People do respect and acknowledge my presence. Thank you and God Bless.

    • Feline Prophet profile image

      Feline Prophet 5 years ago from India

      A lot of us are invisible to others for a variety of reasons...it's their loss! :)

    • Kulsum Mehmood profile image

      Dr.Kulsum Mehmood 5 years ago from Nagpur, India

      Yes a lot of us are invisible to others. And it is their loss.....

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      When I'm in this situation (I've even experienced a cashier on a cell phone or talking to the bagger the whole time) I make a point to say thank you and call the cashier by name. It never fails to shame them. It might be mean but as we say in the South, "I'm trying to hep em." Wonder how many I've kept from being fired?

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Well said, Feline Prophet and Kulsum: Whatever the reason we may appear invisible to someone else, it's their loss!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Kathleen, your simple approach can have a huge impact on curbing rudeness. It boggles my mind how employees in public, customer-related jobs will fail so miserably in promoting and maintaining customer loyalty only because they weren't raised right or trained right. When customers don't address the rudeness, then the rudeness becomes embedded.

      My pet peeve is people who don't acknowledge that I've held a door open for them. When my act of courtesy goes ignored, I make sure they hear my "You're welcome" loud and clear.

      I love your Southern twist on this. I believe that common courtesy is practiced more in the South than in the North, but as a Yankee, I do join you in thinking, "I'm trying to hep em." :)

    • profile image

      jenubouka 5 years ago

      Well what a humorous story, to some a women of both intelligence and beauty can be intimidating and as we wise women age we only become more of these:)

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      That's an interesting way to phrase our growing older. Now that I think of it, I too have felt "invisible" at times. Not a good feeling!

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 5 years ago from USA or America

      Hey Sherri, I know the feeling of being invisible. Been there, done that and I'm not 51. And, my invisibility didn't come from a stranger, but actually came from a specific group of people, of which one person is family. So, I can understand. I'm not sure when you turned 51, but Happy Belated Birthday! :) Voted up for being a great hub and you get all the marks across the board. :) Nicely written. :)

    • Shadesbreath profile image

      Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

      I remember my mom coming over one time really pissed off after discovering she had become invisible in this way, getting ignored in a retail environment. It does happen. I used to have to train my sales people to NOT do it sometimes too: I'd notice half-assed greetings given to older women from younger male sales reps (which is DUMB if you think about it... they have money to buy. Why in god's name would you treat a best prospective customer WORSE than some young chick with no money AT WORK WHERE YOU ARE ON COMMISSION. Sure, be nice to the young hottie because you might get a date later, but for the love of God, be nice to your best prospects. lol). Anyway, your great attitude will prevail in the end, and it is only those who know how to appreciate intelligence, wit and wisdom that will have the treasure of knowing you. Don't mean it isn't irritating to get blown off, but, meh, youth is wasted on the young.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Great story and a real eye opener.

      This one reminded me of an old Carol Burnett skit. She was telling her friend how she felt ignored. At that moment a waiter went to her chair and asked the friend, "Is anyone using this?" he proceeded to yank the chair right out from under her.

      It also reminded me of entering motherhood. Once the baby arrives they snatch the cuties out of your arms and forget to greet you as well. (not always, but sometimes)

      Interesting perspective and a thought provoking hub.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      This was very touching. I feel shamed that there are people out in the customer service area that feel the need to give some the cold shoulder while being cheery and merry with others. I just don't get it. We are all human beings and all should be treated the way. As a person who has worked a lot in customer service, this is something I noticed a lot.

      As for feeling invisible, I am not an older woman (well, I am only 32) and I have had many instances were I have felt invisible. In fact, I have grown accustom to being able to go to almost any function and basically not even really be there... or at least that people remember. Why - because they didn't notice. Other times, I feel like I am invisible because I will be saying something and be rudely interuptted when someone else things what they have to say is more important. This has happened more times than I care to count. However, I have to stop believing it is me and start believing it is these other people who just haven't been raised well.

      great hub... great read!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 5 years ago from Northern, California

      I really enjoyed this read, as a fifty-something gal! Humorous and brilliant, thankful you wrote about our invisible older women's ranks.

      Cheers~

      K9

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 5 years ago from New Jersey

      It is the younger generation's loss to think of older people as invisible. I wish I knew what I know now at 20! I can remember talking with my best friend when we were teens, wondering how it would feel to "be old." Well, I passed the 50 mark and felt great that year. Now I am having some health problems, but inside I feel like the same person. I really despise that Ma'am term, it makes me feel old. But when I see someone much older than myself, and she seems to need help, I'll ask and call her "Miss." So I think in some places and for some people it is a sign of respect. Think of how native Indian tribes respect the elders. Some people are just rude, no matter where they are from, and some women only flirt with men and don't talk much to other women. Have you experienced that?

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      I enjoyed this thought-provoking hub and could certainly relate but in general I feel that most workers and strangers treat me well.

      My little moment of truth came in a different way. I like to ride a bike and use a bike rack to transport it to the beach. The rack is high and I remember the first time a young handsome man rushed over to help me get it back on the rack after I'd had a long bike ride in the heat. I realized that he'd perceived me as a struggling old lady who needed help but of course I smiled broadly and thanked him for his assistance. Still, it was a bit of a shock that my first thought was that he was helping me because I was old, not pretty.

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from USA

      My heart broke on a day when I was working in an nursing home and was put in charge of the women's sewing circle. This activity was supposed to help those that still enjoyed the task. My boss failed to notice that a lot of these women couldn't sew anymore due to failing eyesight, but still enjoyed the get togethers. The boss's thought was, if they didn't sew, they couldn't attend the class, so a sewing circle that started out with twenty had dropped down to five. When I took over the class, I found the women being left out had some interesting and helpful tips that they learned over the years. They were sad that they could no longer attend. Without my boss's knowledge, I turned the sewing class into a social hour for those that enjoyed sewing, still allowing those that could sew, do so. My boss was furious when she found out. The treatment I received from her left me crying buckets of tears. I went home and told my husband about it. The next day, I quit. I was heartbroken. I loved my job of working with the elderly. The youngest one there I met was 49, which surprised me, but I felt I could no longer work in that environment with someone so "judgemental". I was 25 when that happened, my boss was 35. Three months after I quit, she was fired for being so rude to her staff and the residents. It is sad to say that I was pleased.

      My daughter is now a part of that younger generation that doesn't see people once they hit a certain age. I asked her why one day. She told me that she had developed a phobia against "old people". She claimed that for some reason they freaked her out. So, imagine my surprise when she helped an elderly woman out of the movie theater, because the crowd was so thick the woman could't walk very well. I was very proud of her overcoming her fears.

      Sorry to be so long winded. It just bothers me to see people treat others as being invisible. I know that someday this will happen more often to me. I am already seeing signs of it, and I'm not even 40 yet. I guess some people must think that because my children are grown and on their own now, it makes me old. Happy Belated Birthday, I hope you had a wonderful birthday and many others that were better than this one. Thanks for sharing your experience here. I enjoyed the story.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      When my mother was still alive and I would take her to a doctor's office and they would direct their conversations to me instead of her...that really bothered her. At that point she felt your description of being "invisible." After that, if the same thing happened, I just looked elsewhere so that they would HAVE to address her and not me.

      Not all older people are hard of hearing or senile and younger people should remember that. They will learn what being treated like that feels like if they live to be the same age as the people they lightly dismiss today.

      Excellent hub! Up and useful votes.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Being treated as invisible seems to be something that happens more often as we get older. Perhaps that's why I've become more outspoken through the years. A quiet old lady is easier to ignore than a crochety one! There are also many people who are kind and helpful. Like HappyBoomer Nurse, I'm sometimes taken aback when a young person helps me and I realize that they do it because they think I'm old and feeble! Ya can't win! :) Excellent hub!

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 5 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      At 43, I notice the admiring glances of strangers pass right over me to alight on my beautiful twenty-something daughters. I don't feel old, but becoming invisible has caused me to question my attractiveness.

      Fortunately, the people who know me love me for who I am on the inside, a young, interesting, intelligent, funny woman, of indeterminate age!

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 5 years ago from Central New Jersey

      Hi ST-- I not only loved this thought provoking hub, I am also blown away by the comments and am definitely following them as well. I laugh now, but I remember how disappointed I was the first time I walked by a construction site in Manhattan and got no whistles or " hey baby" catcalls. I had complained about them for years, but found I missed them when they were gone--poetic justice!

      I think that the young are often as invisible to the old and the old are to the young. The " kids today are ( fill in the blank)" and the " you young people don't have any sense" crowd are as ignorant and cruel as that young server who dissed you. Ditto 55 year old women who are slaves to trying to look young and turn back the clock.

      Time marches on and it is what it is. Personally, I hated losing that sense of being attractive to men,and noticed, and stared at by construction workers-- but have found a freedom in the invisibility of being an older woman that I never could have imagined and these days I am comfortable with invisibility and content with the occasional " geezer gawk"

      The bottom line is that the old were once young and the youung will one day be old( if they are lucky) and we all have something to give to each other. Cross geneartional friendships have a special quality and it is a pity that in our American culture, they are so under-valued. Great hub ST-- a beautifully crafted vignette that offers lots of food for thought from those of every generation.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi there, Peggy - you're not invisible here! And out there, maybe it's time to grow dreadlocks and wear wild colored clothing, long gypsy skirts and boots, paisley shawls and too much jewelry, haha!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      @jenubouka, glad you got a chuckle! You are so right, there is intimidation involved. When younger women become older women, then they will understand. :)

      @Dorsi, Yeah, it sucks! But I've never "seen" you as invisible. I think you are a powerhouse.

      @Cagsil, you are so right, age is not the only factor in becoming invisible, as barbergirl (later on in the comments) so eloquently describes. I also share with you being quite invisible in a group that includes my family members. Thanks for the birthday greetings and the uber-good words!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      @shades, why does an employer have to train employees in courtesy? That's something folks coming up in the workplace should have learned from the time they were born. There's that, and then there's the behavior translated into sales...So many these days miss both these marks. With you as a mentor, things can change. Thank you for your awesome comment.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      @missolive, I never saw that Burnett skit, but I love your telling. There are some very talented physical comedy artists, and Burnett was always one, like Lucille Ball and John Ritter. The point is so often best made by showing, not telling.

      To your point about entering motherhood. The mother is the star during pregnancy and labor, but then the newborn eclipses the mother. I know what you are saying...birthing moms get upstaged in the eyes of medical care staff and everyone else when the baby arrives. But, the baby's the star then, and maybe that's the mother's first sign that she's second now. Rich food for thought in your comment.

    • profile image

      Home Girl 5 years ago

      That's nothing. Wait until you hear - "you look so nice for your age"- that's what can really crash you. On a defensive side - if you cannot please them - scare them.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      As I'll be 75 my next birthday I've had a few years to work at this "invisible" problem. I decided I'd be just outrageous enough to remain "among 'em." On my "outrageous days" I enjoy as much attention as anyone else. On the days I want to act my age I have total peace as absolutely no one pays any attention unless I show up at the doctor's with my Medicare card -- at which time they welcome me with "Hi, there, easy money!" Just pick your days and enoy both sides of the coin! Loved this HUB and it's absolutely true. Well written and voted UP! Best, Sis

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      @barbergirl28, you really summed it up with "these other people who just haven't been raised well." Rudeness has no age boundaries or limits. Thanks so much for adding your thoughts to this discussion.

      @K9keystrokes, thank you for the good words!

      @Jean Bakula, I definitely have been shunned by women who always take the opportunity to pay special attention to men. In fact, an episode like that happened to me at that same convenience store, a few years earlier. That young cashier was flirting up a storm with the men and being cold as ice to the women. She also did not enjoy a very long tenure at her job.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      @Happyboomernurse, I love your "bike" story. You know, I would take the handsome man's thinking for helping two ways: that you are pretty and that most pretty ladies are delighted when a handsome man makes an offer to help. I don't think age had a lot to do with it. :) Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

      @tlpoague, I so enjoyed your thoughtful comment and I wonder if you'll be writing a hub about the experiences and observations you mentioned? I am furious at that boss you had, and I share a certain, I think justified, schadenfreude with you. She got what she deserved. I only hope she learned a lesson. Thank you for the birthday wishes. :)

      @Peggy W, I've seen my mother experience the same rudeness in certain doctors' offices when I've accompanied her. When this happens, my mother and I say these things...they are nothing we ever planned, they just happen...she says to the doctor, "I'm not deaf you know," and I say, "She's not deaf, you know." No doctor has ever made the same mistake twice. Thank you so much for sharing how you meet this rudeness with kindness and tact.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      @Stephanie, I love your spirit! You remind me of my mother, whose name is Stephanie, by the way, in your attitude. Mom doesn't settle for much these days. She's quite happy to make a stink if she feels she's not getting the attention (read, "respect") she deserves. It works for her every time. Cheers to you!

      @Deborah, yours is a very touching comment that sheds light not only on ageing but also on the always-evolving relationship between mother and daughter. I think your insights into the experience you describe would make a wonderful article. Thank you so much for sharing!

      @Robie2, I am blown away by these comments, too. I knew I wasn't alone, but I didn't quite know how closely knit the "sisterhood" is on this transition from being perceived in one way to being perceived in another. I'm particularly moved by your comment about cross-generational friendships. Our society does not value them enough because the opportunities for them are discouraged by the too often insular lives we lead. Once again, I'm reminded of my mother...she has always said she would rather die than live in a community where children were not allowed to be residents. Thank you, as always, for your insightful words. :)

      @Dolores, I agree with everything you said! We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by making sensations of ourselves. With any luck, that kind of "outing" movement just might give the younger ones a bit of a good jolt. LOL

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      @Home Girl, I'm all for that -- scare them! Super comment.

      @Angela, I love your spirit, too. You are so right. Pick your poison and pick your battles. We have a choice at this age that wasn't so easy to make in our youth. It's a lot less important to me now what people think of me than it was a couple of decades ago. Let it rip, I say, Sis!

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      Julia Fine 5 years ago from Long Beach

      My mother always used to talk about being invisible because she was older and fat, and I would laugh, dismiss it, and tell her she was everything to me--my Mom. She would laugh too--her sense of humor put everything in perspective. Then, she had to use a wheelchair and that's when she practically disappeared. People would ask ME what she wanted, as she sat there right in front of me! Nothing was wrong with her Ivy League-educated mind. I wouldn't let it slide, like she did, I'd always say, "Why don't you ask her. She's sitting right in front of you?" They didn't even know they were doing it! I am disappearing now too, at 41. Men don't disappear. They get distinguished. Great article. Made me think of dear old Mom who could never disappear in my eyes.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Julia, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story about you and your mother. It is clear she raised an exceptional daughter. We all have lessons to learn about "invisibility" from your words.

      You are right, men don't disappear, they get distinguished. It is interesting, and telling, that of the people who responded to the poll in this Hub, not one chose "I am an older man and I've been treated as invisible," although at least one older man did take the poll, choosing "I am an older man and I have not been treated as invisible."

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      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Ut Oh! I'm in trouble. It won't be too long before I hit the big 5-0 and I have already been invisible. What I notice the most lately is that I am invisible to my nieces and nephews. I used to be the "cool aunt" - always having fun. Now that they are older, I don't matter. It does make me sad. Great article!

      Sharyn

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Sharyn, your comment is insightful in many ways. As others have said here in the comments, invisibility comes not just as a factor of ageing.

      I think your experience with your nieces and nephews supports others' words in these comments. Youngsters grow from children through adolescence and into adulthood. You may be the best person in the world for the young child, because of the way you see and react to the world, and your interaction may be the most loving and memorable any child could have. But then, kids grow, and rebellion is a part of that growth. Kids can turn off to the point where they attack.

      I've got a sneaky suspicion that you DO matter to your nieces and nephews, very much. Y'all just aren't speaking the same language at the moment. :)

    • L a d y f a c e profile image

      L a d y f a c e 5 years ago from Canada

      This is an excellent hub about something I never, ever see anyone write about, but is no less very real. My mother remarks sometimes on the differences between how society viewed her "back then" and "now".

      This is an ongoing thing, I believe. Even younger folk deal with this to an extent. I'm only 28, yet I dealt with an adjustment period around the age of 26/27 after I realized that society didn't treat me the same way they did when I was 23/24-ish (it was a bitter-sweet change). I suppose for me it was more my acceptance that I wasn't going to look 19 forever (unless they make a pill.. lol), but I suspect that as decades pass and time goes on I'll pass through many more doors that lead to a higher sense of being, and a happier, more relaxed state of mind as I grow into myself.

      My grandmother has taught me to not give a..(is 'damn' a bad word here?) about what people think of the way I dress, my hair, my shoes, etc (although she also taught me how to dress for my shape, and look decent while still expressing my individuality)... but sadly, I've learned that people will always have their prejudices, no matter who you are. When I was 23 I was completely invisible to a few people I knew who were over 50. Now, at 28, I am completely invisible to the ladies at the fabric store where I get my shop supplies. If I can get them to acknowledge me, they talk to me as though I'm wasting their time, and I have nothing to ask worth answering. If I need help with something, they act as though I'm incompetent.

      I guess this nonsensical rant has lead me to bring up one of my core beliefs: if someone doesn't value me for who I am, they don't deserve to experience what I have to offer.

      So says my grandma :)

      It's really sad how little respect older people receive from younger people. I'm not sure if it's one of those things that has just repeated throughout history in the same way - ie: every generation thinks the generation after theirs has terrible fashion sense and listens to noise (lol). But I do know this: having grown up with my grandma most of the people I was around were two generations above me...and lemme tell you, they all have more interesting things to say than the people from my generation do. Younger people don't know what they're ignoring. And they're worse off for it.

      Thanks for the thought provoking hub! Up, useful and awesome.

      Cheers! :)

      *edit: Wow! Sorry for the wordy response!

    • JuliaFine profile image

      Julia Fine 5 years ago from Long Beach

      First, thank you so much Sally for calling me an "exceptional daughter." If only I could articulate how happy that single remark made me. Thank you so much.

      @Lady Face, your response was thought provoking for me, even if you may be damn incompetent (ha ha--of course, just joking). You obviously are extremely competent in your writing and remarks. I remember when, at 28, just 13 short years ago (and those years pass oh so quickly), people began addressing me as Mam. No longer considered a-Miss, I still was (amiss) in always wondering about what others' thought about me. One great thing that comes with turning into a Mam is losing that curiosity. Age helps me understand that others probably aren't thinking of my incompetence, my happiness, my problems, my sadness, or anything about ME at all. Instead, they likely are thinking about their own lives. Now, if I am lucky enough to be treated in any manner that isn't apathy, I am grateful. If a clerk is upset, snarling, or rude, I try to make his/her day better, even if in some small way--a smile, a "Happy New Year," or "Have a wonderful day!" Whatever it takes to break the cycle of anger, rudeness or apathy. I try to anyway--admittedly my performance is far from perfect on this front. I write to plead with you that we do deserve to experience what you have to offer, even if we are having a bad day, week or year. You are very special. You listen to your grandmother. You write well. You have profound feelings and a smart intellect, and you have the unique power to bring joy to someone's life, even if it is in some small way. I was surprised how good I felt when the mean or rude clerk I met, smiled as I said good-bye. It sounds trite, but you can be the change you want to see in the world, and it starts by valuing those who think don't value you. Keep sharing, and I am going to check out some of your hubs when I get a free moment...Best!

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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Ladyface and Julia, you have proved the worth of social networking...you have both added enormous value to this Hub with your individual thoughts and also with your engagement with others.

      We all have a lot to learn from both of you.

      @Ladyface, I am touched by what you shared about your grandmother. My father's mother was dear to my heart, always affirming, and I miss her so, so much.

      @Julia, I love your response to Ladyface...there are words in there that are gifts to us all.

      Can't wait until you both get to my age to hear what you have to say then. :)

    • L a d y f a c e profile image

      L a d y f a c e 5 years ago from Canada

      @Julia

      I suppose I should have clarified a bit more. My grandmother's words that I heed are mostly in reference to whom we keep in our lives. Boyfriends, friends, etc.

      As for people in passing, I completely agree with your strategies. I worked from 15 until 26 in the public service industry (waitressing, bar-tending, food prep, clothing sales) and what I found was that most people who have a bad attitude (maybe this was more true 5 or 10 years ago than it was today, not sure) are really just people who need someone to smile at them and remind them they're not just another brick in the wall. Sometimes it's a bad day at home, a fight with a friend or significant other, and that smile will sort of... snap you out of it a little, and makes you feel sort of warm. (there are of course, exceptions. I’ve on a few occasions while at Walmart or somewhere said a pleasant “Hope you have a great day : )” or something else while waiting, only to be met with the same dismissive attitude.)

      You must know what Tim Horton's is in Canada. I worked there for 5 years, and was kept in the drive thru because I seemed to be one of the only ones who could put aside whatever I was dealing with at home, and smile at every customer. Why? Because whatever is going in my life is not their fault, they have their issues and don’t deserve to have their day made worse by mine.

      Tell me, is it drama? Is it a desire for attention? Why does it seem like these days people would rather take their emotions out on you? I know most of these people are good people, at least by societal standards, if met under the proper circumstances...

      My grandma also used to say "Kill 'em with kindness"

      As much as I may have wished to use alternate methods (lol), using kindness has often produced the best results.

      I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my response as well, it's amazing - the existing knowledge you can overlook directly underneath your surface, perhaps covered just by a few papers thrown on top. You're a wise lady. Definitely not with trite observations.

      You've put this better than I could: "Age helps me understand that others probably aren't thinking of my incompetence, my happiness, my problems, my sadness, or anything about ME at all. Instead, they likely are thinking about their own lives."

      That’s excellent. You've also reminded me that if I want, (and I do, and I know I do already but somehow forget it sometimes - for which I really am pretty ashamed) a part of the reason why I want to be here in this world is to create contagious happiness. To enrich the lives of others. To "be the change you wish to see" lol. Cliché, but true. The world definitely needs people like you.

      How do you do it? One time, just after college I found myself sad at the world, tired of people.. I was surrounded by people whom I'd allowed to get me down about humanity, and I sort of.... lost my faith in humanity.

      People like you are who reminded me of all I know already about humanity, my existence, my reason for being, my convictions, and reminded me of everything I wanted to stand for.

      If I don't stop now I'll end up getting into far deeper psychological and theological places than there's room for on the comment board. lol. This would be where we all get together for coffee… lol And really, I am incompetent. I’m only 28, and have a whole lot of competency to aquire!

      @Sally - this is one of the most engaging, interesting hubs I've read and been involved in the comments of, in a very long time. Thank you again. And again, sorry for the lengthy response on your hub. This is just so engaging.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      L a d y f a c e, what wonderful thoughts you shared here. Please be as lengthy as you want! Your comments invite thoughts, reflections, ideas. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings and experiences. I, too, believe my reasons for being here in this plane are to bring good, not ill, to speak for what I stand for, and to engage in a way that shows I honor the difference between my needs and the needs of others. Peace and good will to you. I want to hear from you 30 years from now. :)

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 5 years ago

      Hello dear friend,

      This hub has my head spinning. So many thoughts and memories come to mind.

      To address this issue, I can say I have felt invisible at times, and surprisingly, mostly at work. On a daily basis, I deal with a group of three, sometimes four people. To these folks I am very much visible. It is the remaining 60+ people that I allow to make me feel invisible. I have worked among these people for many years, and there are many that to this day, I barely know other than to say hello. True, their work doesn't interact directly with mine, but we do all share the same office and breakroom. The office isn't so big that it's a matter of not being anywhere near their work areas. I see them many times in passing. So when I think of invisibility, I can take some of the blame for that feeling, as I tend to not engage in a conversation or even a hello. I can attribute that to what's going on in my head, which is always work-related. Is it an excuse? No, just a simple fact.

      As you know, I held several jobs in customer service, the longest one being in the Division of Motor Vehicles. I can tell you, when you are the employee behind the counter, you are never invisible. :)

      I made it a point, actually, my mission, to be professional and courteous to all the customers, no matter how rude and obnoxious a lot of them were. I wanted to single-handedly change the public's perception of the DMV employee, to prove that we were not uncaring, bitchy, nor did we take nasty pills, which, in fact, could not be said about a lot of the customers. They walked in with their attitudes up close and personal, and I learned from being an employee, that their demeanor was not who they really were. The public was treated so poorly in most of their dealings with the DMV that I couldn't blame them. They came to expect that they would be treated rudely, so their best defense was to be offensive.

      To address not being noticed by men as I age, well, that's another whole ball of wax. You know that my whole life involved men. First the boys of youth, then the young men of adulthood, then, after being widowed, the wolves in sheeps' clothing. I may have to write my own hub about this area :)

      Do I like being called Ma'am? Hell no. Not sure which is worse, that or Miss. Actually, I don't know what salutation would make me relate it to an age. It certainly wouldn't be hey you, or hey lady lol

      Anyway, I'm sure I have more to say, but this is getting rather lengthy, and besides, I need a fresh cup of coffee.

      Great hub as always dear friend :)

    • sweethearts2 profile image

      sweethearts2 5 years ago from Northwest Indiana

      What a great release this hub is. I have been invisible for years, especially in the workplace. I was laid off due the economy after 15yrs of service in the automotive steel industry. Looking for employment with what I've been told is beautiful grey hair is very depressing (I refuse to change my appearance to land a job). I do have skills other than maintaining a hairdo. I was able to find work however, it is well below the compensation I was looking for. I now work with a 35 year old who is constantly asking me "how do you know so much about computers?" or "do you know who _________ (insert name of any young star, rock group, model,etc.)is?" I can do her one better, I even know our state senator, representive, school board members, branches of government (need I go on?). She is obsessed with age and will ask "just how old do you think she/he is" when we have a new applicant. She complains about caring for her parents (because her siblings live out of state)when in fact it is her parents (in their 60's) who are caring for her children while she is a work, grocery shopping, out for the evening, etc.

      Thanks for sharing and for the release. Great hub!!!!!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      trish, this is so true for so many: the best defense is to be offensive. This strategy has its place in sports and business, but what about in personal relationships and customer service relationships where understanding rather than being Johnny on the spot to gain an advantage might be the only motive? As always, thank you for your rich contributions.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      sweethearts2, thank you so much for sharing the "release" these words helped you feel. You are not alone, by any means.

      About hair, I have this white blond hair which, a few times in the recent past, some suggested I color to make me appear more "youthful." So I did try it. And it was so wrong for me. I am who I am.

      I delight in being able to talk programming with younger folks (to their surprise, as you express) while at the same time I haven't got a clue about the current idols in a young person's mind, just like you don't. But neither of these things defines me.

      You and I may be invisible to certain people for certain reasons, but, that is their loss. We have so much to offer to anyone who wants to learn.

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      I don't know, yet, if I've had that experience, but it's an interesting subject you put out there. My son turns 35 tomorrow. I might be invisible if I ask him to take out the trash (especially if I were to want it done in my time....right now). I have seen, however, others who are senior citizens be treated in that manner. I have believed for a long time though that there is a lack of respect for the elderly which invites people to pretend they aren't seen. I really like your approach on this subject.

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      Mishael Austin Witty 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I'm not quite 35 yet, and I've been invisible (to some) since I was at least 27. Even the ones closest to me treat me like I'm invisible sometimes (and, actually, they do it more often than strangers). By the time I'm 51, I might entirely disappear off the planet!

      This is a fascinating issue. It makes me wonder if it is age-related or if certain people just command less attention than others.

      Still, everyone deserves to be treated with respect, and it's a shame that that cashier didn't understand that.

    • USAPoolToy profile image

      USAPoolToy 5 years ago from Florida

      Loved this hub. I just turned 50 myself :)

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      Pat Coldiron 5 years ago from Roseville, CA

      I enjoyed your hub Sally. I will be 58 on January 6, so I definitely can relate to being treated as the invisible woman. I remember when I turned 50, my co-workers hung over the hill signs, and black streamers over my desk. I wouldn't want to be the age of that young lady in the coffee shop. I'm proud to be a mature woman.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Beautiful story. At times I have felt like an invisible women or an unheard woman. I like the conclusion you decided to make from this event. It was her issue not yours! Thanks!

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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      @ytsenoh, our children often treat us as invisible. I think it's a matter of their wanting to be in a space that doesn't include us, plus a feeling on their part, which they act on, that they must go after whatever they feel they need to chase at that time in their lives. Separation. And there's nothing wrong with that, given where they are. What becomes wrong down the road is that the need for rebellion or distance from a parent gets transferred to older people in general.

      Thanks for your awesome comment. There's so much to be learned and shared about this topic.

      @workingmomwm, I think the thing that smacks older women in the face is if, in earlier years, they commanded attention and then woke up one day to find they commanded none. It isn't anything they did or didn't do, it's only a matter of others' perceptions of the physical aspect of older folks.

      This is such a huge topic. I want to say, "Teach your children to have respect for people, no matter their differences." But then I think, the parents to whom I say that may never have learned that from theirs.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      @USAPoolToy, happy bday and welcome to the next 50 years!

      @Pat Coldiron, happy bday on the eve of your 58th. I remember those black streamers, although they were gifts at my fortieth, not my fiftieth. LOL I'm with you. I don't want to go back to younger years. These are better.

      @kelleyward, exactly. It is their issue, not ours, unless we choose to wallow in that swamp. :)

    • Deni Edwards profile image

      Deni Edwards 5 years ago from california

      As always, I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and Happy belated-Birthday to you!

      I'm a few years away from turning 40. A few months ago, I was told by a man-child of 22 that I still looked good. Thanks?

      It seems women are always sized up by their age, as if it's a defining quality, but this isn't the case for men, is it?

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      No, Deni Edwards, it is not the case for men. As Julia mentioned earlier on in these comments: "Men don't disappear. They get distinguished." Age is hardly a defining quality that diminishes them.

    • Cara.R profile image

      Cara.R 5 years ago from New York

      Hi,Sally's Trove,

      The title caught my eye late tonight and I reminds me of the day my mother felt that way. She said to me I'm not old but I'm not young. An invisible limbo. I'm not there yet but I have known since I was a child that I wouldn't be young forever.

      I worked with older men when I was in my early 20's, some close to retirement. After getting to know them, it was interesting and beautiful to see their age melt away. I didn't feel younger than them,I felt like we were equals. Not to mention they still acted like young men. I think some people think that when you get old you become a-sexual. As if age erases sexuality and brains.

      Although I'm not fond of the streak of white hair, making it's way through my black hair,I can't wait to get older! I'll have to share your hub with my mom.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Cara, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences here.

      I'm very interested in your mother's observation about being neither young nor old...the invisible limbo. As my mother has aged (can't tell you how old she is now, because she'd kill me), she's become more and more visible. By that, I mean brasher, perhaps...less willing to be ignored and much more focused on what she wants for herself and more determined to say so, out loud to anybody and everybody. I find her assertive behavior sometimes shocking, BUT, she's proof that remaining invisible is a matter of choice. She's chosen to turn the tides.

      I'd love to know what your mom has to say after you shared this hub with her. :)

    • profile image

      pgrundy 5 years ago

      Awesome essay! For me it happened at about the same age when a Victoria's Secret catalog came in the mail and I realized they don't even carry my bra size. I hate to say I actually burst out crying over that (dumb, I know), but since then I've learned there's a plus side to it that's freeing. Also, it's really easy to shock young people, who expect you to be mildly brain-damaged and obsessed with your aching joints, so anything that isn't that makes them do a double take. That's fun.

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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Pam, I live for the day when those younger folks put their feet in the universal shoes of getting older. Well, I don't exactly live for that day, but I do look forward to it. :) So Victoria's Secret doesn't accommodate all bra sizes? Shame on them. That'll put them out of business sooner than later. They're in business to dress Barbies and cater to the men who want to dress them. When women consumers reach their end tolerance with advertising, VS will reach its end...I don't think that will be tomorrow.

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Tennessee

      I've started seeing this and I don't like it! I'm 45 and it's been going on for a couple of years now. However, now when I am visible to someone and they actually show it, I appreciate it even more!

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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      EclecticFusion, thanks for your insightful comment. None of us likes being treated as invisible, but I think when you appreciate someone's acknowledgment of your visibility you show that appreciation, perhaps in a subtle way. This is all good karma. I'm not sure of my thinking about this right now, I'll have to give it some time, but for the moment I'm thinking of the "Pay it forward" principle, where "Giving grows exponentially when you give and ask nothing for yourself in return, except that the recipient gives as you gave, three times." So, when you appreciate someone's acknowledgment of your visibility, you are affirming their humanity. Like I said, I'll have to think more on this!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

      I love that quote: "Good manners sometimes means simply putting up with other people's bad manners."

      Your Hub is outstanding. This happens with age to men too. I am a tad older than you and in no way do women fuss over me everywhere I go like they once did. It's only been in the last maybe six years—when I turned fifty come to think of it—that for the first time younger gals often do not even make eye contact with me.

      Such is life. Thanks for the good read. :-)

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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      James, thanks so much for lending your perspective here. As you can see from several of the comments, women believe that men remain attractive and noticeable as they age, while women don't, as Julia stated: "Men don't disappear. They get distinguished."

      I love that quote about good manners, too. If all followed its guidance, the world would be a more peaceful place.

      You are welcome for the good read, and thank you for the great comment. ~Sherri

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      while I will never be an invisible woman, I appreciated the humor and dexterity with which you told this story!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      PDXKaraokeGuy, thanks so much for your comment with its good words. Definitely, gotta keep a sense of humor about this. :)

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      that's all you can do, right?

    • agaglia profile image

      agaglia 5 years ago

      YES! I too have felt the sting of invisibility! and I actually also wrote a blog about it. (you may want to check it out."The age of the invisible woman". I loved what you wrote.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      I've sedan the behavior you mention - it truly does make you feel invisible. It's very disconcerting, isn't it? Also disenfranchising. Excellent hub - voted up and useful.

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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      @agaglia, please post the link to "The age of the invisible woman" here. I'm not sure where to find it, but I do want to read it! :)

      @Marcy, yeah, absolutely, it sucks. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      I love your last remark about slugging her in the jaw! lol! Yes I know just what you mean. Fifty and invisible. Tell me about it, lol! I wrote something similar a while back. I just hate the fact that I no longer get any attention from the male species! lol! In fact I am getting so desperate for attention one of these days I am just going to go up to the nearest guy, ugly or not, and yell 'Look at me will ya?' lol!

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      This is so good. It started for me after I passed 55. I'm 59 now, and even though I'm used to it most of time, it still catches me off guard now and then, just not as often.

      What's really almost worse is thinking back to all the times years ago that some guy thought I was brilliant or fascinating (or that's what I thought he thought or hoped he thought), but now from this perspective I look back and think, doh! How dumb was I???? lol!

      Anyway, it's true--youth is wasted on the young. I wouldn't want it back for a houseful of puppies though. I like this age. I get to be myself, finally. Great hub. Voted up straight across. Thank you. :)

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      I know exactly what you mean, Ive been through it too. It used to make me so mad, yes I felt like slugging them too. But I don't let it bother me now, what comes around goes around and their turn will come.

      Great hub

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Nell, please post the link here to what you wrote about being invisible. I'd like to read it and I'm sure others would as well.

      Meanwhile, definitely go up to the nearest whatever guy and make that statement. You will most likely wake him up. I think that's what we're here for...slam some reality into those younger folks who think the world centers around them. Loved your comment.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      CR Rookwood, I'm with you! I'm happy being here, being myself, not wondering any more about how someone else perceives me. Now I think about how I could make something better for those someone elses. I think that's my role going forward...listen, understand, and give help if asked. Being invisible has its advantages.

      I identify so completely with you...how dumb was I in those years? Mistaking interest as genuine affection. What you didn't say was that it was all about hormones, as in, get in your (our) pants. Crude but true.

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Rosemay, exactly my sentiments! They'll get theirs. :)

    • kelliegirl profile image

      kelliegirl 4 years ago

      That great feeling you get when you find somebody knows exactly how you feel...thank you.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      LOL, kelliegirl! It is a great feeling, isn't it? Another who knows how we feel is Grea, the cartoonist who illustrated the "Invisible Older Woman" at the top of this Hub. I found another great one from her and added it just now - "Overcoming Middle-aged Invisibility." Enjoy!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Reading this was something I deeply needed today as I've been adjusting to this more in the last few years as time marches on. It still comes as a shock when a cashier greets the person before me and after me with enthusiasm and near joy while I am invisible in their eyes. At that point I can't pass it off as "They must be having a difficult day" or "Something must be troubling them" as I usually do.

      I have experienced the same thing as PeggyW when taking my Mom to the doctor, that the nurse asks me the questions. I turn directly to Mom and ask the question like a Mynah bird, as though I'm interpreting for her. Sometimes the youthful physician's assistant gets it and starts asking the questions of the patient who is very much alive and present, and may be hard of hearing but certainly not invisible.

      Thanks so much for posting this engaging and much needed topic which it helps to know, so many others are feeling this too.

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      PegCole17, lately I'm becoming less invisible, by design. When I get that dismissive attitude, I throw it back in their faces. I have a handful of comments that I deliver either sincerely or sarcastically, depending on my mood...I'm perfecting the art. As we know from Network, "I'm mad as hell..."

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience with taking your mom to the doctor's office. My mom and I don't have too much experience with this, because her doctors have already been trained by her. If a newb PA shows up with this attitude while I'm with my mom, my mom simply says, "You can ask me anything you want, and if you don't want to address me, you can leave and send the doctor in."

      Neither my mom nor I put up with this crap any more. Ha!

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 4 years ago

      It is so true...but who needs the attention anyway...as we grow older hopefully we are more secure in ourselves that we do not need the attention..I do think these youngin's need to learn respect though and that is something we should always demand..thanks for a great hub

      Sunnie

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Sunnie, I agree with you on all points. I know I don't need the attention, but that's no excuse for rudeness. I was not raised to disrespect older folks, and I didn't raise my child that way either. It all starts at home. :)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Your Mom sounds like quite a character! She has the right approach.

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      nancy 4 years ago

      how interesting, something simila happened to me just a few days ago, I stopped by the local pedicure place to make an appointment. I was nicely dressed, etc, I asked the man at the counter if he had any current openings. Without even looking up at me to acknowledge me. he nodded, no, not today, not tomorrow, I finally got him to make eye contact with him; and asked for the nearest appt. it was only then, that he actually looked at me, and gave me a card. The shop was filled with younger ladies, I am sure if I were a young 21 and not 64, he would have been smiling and joking, etc, so much for customer service and that feeling of being invisible.

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Sad but true, Nancy, and yours is another in this list of sad experiences. Thank you for sharing it here. :)

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      Laura Brown 4 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      I'm going to be 48 at the end of this year. I've had people ignore me long before I got old. But, as a cashier myself, I felt bad for you and on your birthday too when we do tend to notice things about ourselves more. Congratulations on getting to 51. You're not invisible, she just wasn't looking.

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      That Grrl, I love your comment! A situation like this really is worse for the cashier, in this case. She's the one who chose to not see. :)

    • jcevans2009 profile image

      Judith C Evans 4 years ago from Boise, ID

      This is a timely article for me, since I recently turned fifty. Voted up and awesome!

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      LOL, jcevans2009, join the club! Thanks for your great votes. :)

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      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Sherri, this was a spooky hub for me! I had a conversation with an old friend who told me that all women (yup, ALL) become 'invisible' after the age of 46. She told me'usually by 46, you're kids are up, you're not the eye candy you once were, you're not quite menopausal. If you're an ambitious person then you've probably already made it and if you're not, nobody's worried enough about you to care." Charming I though but I think there is some truth in all of this and your hub sort of validates it :0( I'm in my late 40s so I am also invisible - makes me want to be outrageous just for the hell of it!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      So very true!! I just guffawed--but with a bit of pushing to be visible again!

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      Tara Carbery 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      Some young people are so rude and in their own little bubble. It's as if the world revolves around them and no one else matters. What on earth has happened to good manners? It's a subject that gets me really riled! Good manners cost nothing! Raaaahhhhh!

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      ignugent17 4 years ago

      I am sorry for your experience with that cashier. I do hope it will not happen again. Some people enjoy all the freebies of having the age. In some theaters popcorns are free.

      Have a good day!

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      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Sally. Hmmm, I voted as never being treated as invisible and I´m 57 ( OMG..Really) Tomorrow. Mind you , living halfway up a mountain, and sometimes going for day´s without seeing another living soul...you can´t shut me up when I go shopping or to work..it would be very hard to ignore me unless you happened to be stone deaf. Having said that, I have been pushed to the back of the queue many a time..but that´s mainly because I live in Spain and the customer service in some places needs a bit of a tweaking..well actually a lot. It´s quite common here for someone to butt in just as you are about to be or are being served , and the sales assistant to get into a long debate with the person who has pushed in..or in extreme case´s to actually leave you standing at the till waiting to pay and speechless , whilst they waltz off with the pusher inner . So maybe I have become semi invisible. I loved your closing line by the way..your additional gift being " That you didn´t slug her in the jaw" After such an eloquent hub...that made me laugh out load...loved the cartoon too. Great hub.

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Julie, BE OUTRAGEOUS. This is the best advice I can think of. My mother, at 90-something, has been perfecting outrageousness since she became invisible. Sock it to 'em.

      I think your friend hit the nail on the head. When I was 40, I was still getting diesel horn honks from 18-wheeler drivers on the road. By the time I hit 50, that was all gone. For Pete's sake, at 50 I could have bared my chest while driving in my car...that might have caused an 18-wheeler wreck, but not a flirty blast from the horn. What a super comment!

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Audrey, push it for all you've got. The squeaky wheel does get the grease, after all. And you'll stand up there, very visible, as a model for those women who come after you.

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      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      WOW! How insulting, indeed! I've not had that particular thing happen at the hands of any store employees .... (or maybe I have, and just don't know it; perhaps the reason I can't find anyone on the floor to answer a question is that they are hiding from me....).

      I have, however, suffered this in the grocery store at the hands of many other people. It is sooooo annoying to have people shove past you to reach something, as if you're not even standing there. Sometimes, the temptation to stick out my cane and trip them is almost overwhelming. Then, in a parody of that famous cell phone ad, I could say, "Can you see me now??"

      It is even worse if you have to ride in one of those electric 'mart-carts,' as I've needed to do several times of late, because of knee pain...you want to talk INVISIBLE?? Well, there you go! It seems no one can see anything below eye-level! They cut in front, causing me to stop short...which the cart does very well--but at the expense of a painful jerk to my back. My husband says, "Just run into them--it's their own fault!"

      In the case of "blind" unruly kids, so help me--more than once such a youngster, (whose parents don't know what leashes are for) using the store as a playground, has banged into my cane, causing my balance to waver. I promise, the very next time THAT happens, I'm taking a stage fall, and yelling for someone to "...catch those little MONSTERS and find their parents!"

      Ah, yes, invisibility....it sucks!

      Great article and much food for thought. Voted up, interesting and shared!

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Peanutritious, you've said a lot in very few words. You made me think about how I was raised, which was to respect and honor older folks, along with any other kind of folks. Those with differences, those with disabilities. A person is a person, worthy of respect unless proven differently. But today, it seems like younger folks haven't been raised that way. Who's to blame, the media, parents? It's a complex subject, which I believe, starts with my generation. We saw this slip and slide away from manners and courtesy and respect, and we let it happen without standing up and protesting. Maybe now is the time to do just that. Thank you for your awesome comment.

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      ignugent17, so right you are. There are privileges attached to getting older. I like the parking spots labeled "Seniors" where you don't need a handicapped license plate, you just have to be older. Younger folks ought to be thinking about this. It's going to happen to them.

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      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Another reason I love Puerto Rico is those people really respect older people. They get in free to a lot of places, and are allowed to get in front of others in a line.

      I have always tried to give older people more respect and courtesy than younger folks.

      Great Hub./ I voted it UP, etc.

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      Natasha Pelati 4 years ago from South Africa

      This is great!

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      bac2basics, your perspective, living in Spain, is so interesting. Different cultures do have different ways of relating to people in all kinds of situations, specifically, as we are talking here, in customer service relationships. I'm fascinated with that "butting in" business. I can understand, somewhat, customers being that pushy, but I can't understand a sales professional encouraging it. I wonder if it also happens to younger folks who are not yet at that invisible or near-invisible age. Maybe a study is in order there!

      Thanks so much for sharing your very memorable account. :) Oh, and check out Grea's website. She's got a ton of great cartoons.

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      DzyMsLizzy, what a fantastic comment! Please, please turn it into a hub or article. I love how much damage you have the potential to inflict with your cane and cart, and I'm absolutely, positively certain rude people and unruly children aren't thinking that far ahead. Your tale could make a fantastic movie. It seems your husband is a great one for egging you on, too, to his credit!

      Seriously, I'm looking forward to the cane and cart myself...as my Grandma Ellie would say, "That'll learn 'em some teach."

      Thanks so much for the votes and shares. :)

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      Bernard J. Toulgoat 4 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

      If I may say so, I think you overreacted a little. How can you come to the conclusions you have drawn based on the attitude of only one person. No matter what your age is (I'm a man and older than you by the way) a woman dressed with a new, flattering suit and high heels will NEVER be invisible. People may not like what they see in the end, but they will notice you. The mishap you experienced with the clerk happens to everybody all the time. 51 is by no means old. And if you think it is, I hate to tell you this but it's not going to get any better. You may not look as good as 20 years ago (who does ?) but I am convinced the situation is not as bad as you seem to think. In any case, I enjoyed reading your hub. Best of luck !

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Mary, so glad to hear your perspective from a culture that values elders. Unfortunately, the US culture doesn't. Our kids have come up without respect for older folks. Too bad for them...they will eventually be victims of what they perpetrate. Thanks for the good words and votes. :)

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      austinhealy, I do appreciate your perspective, but you don't walk in my shoes or in the shoes of any woman.

      I draw no conclusions from one incident...did you miss the irony and humor?

      I'm glad you enjoyed reading this hub. And the best of luck to you, too. :)

    • austinhealy profile image

      Bernard J. Toulgoat 4 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

      Sally, you' re right : I never wore high heels...yet :)

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I want a pic of that when you do, austinhealy. :)

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Happy to have stumbled upon this delightful hub. What a good read with certainly some lessons to learn. Funny too! Let's not talk about age but whatever happened to good manners and right conduct, eh?

      Sharing with fellow hubbers, in case they missed it.

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      Marilyn Alexander 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      Hi Sally's Trove. What a wonderful story! I'm north of 65 (only 29 in my heart) and have been invisible on a couple of occasions when I was not dressed to the 9's. So one day when I was not receiving any attention from a cashier who looked at me and continued talking to her friend, I said a little louder than usual, "Excuse me dear, but someone called for a doctor. I am a doctor and I have my Mercedes double-parked so I could get here quickly." "Could I have a "tall Italian" to go in a hurry. And, please dear, keep the change." Stupid, I know - my cheeks were burning as I left, I was so embarrassed with myself.

      Loved this hub and all the comments. This is the kind of thing that keeps HubPages such a great place to 'work'!

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Right you are, CrisSp. Good manners are in short supply. Thank you for the share!

      Maralexa, I like your style! I'm going to have to use your technique. I hope you don't mind. :)

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      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      I hate that attitude in younger people. I was taught better, and always preferred to spend all of my time with "older" people. Mostly because they had all the interesting life experiences I wanted to hear. People my own age hadn't done anything in life. That cashier didn't know she missed out on the opportunity to have an interesting conversation with a cool person! Great hub! voting up!

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Sharkye11, yes! You were taught better and so was I.

      I also share with you the experience of being around older people. For me, that had everything to do with being an only child. I identified more with grown-ups than I ever did with my peers.

      When I was growing up, my influences came from family get-togethers, a small and supportive town community, reading books, cooking in the kitchen with my grandmother, and playing in the street. Nothing like living electronically, meaning removed from real people experiences, substituting them with games and texting and facebook and that whole experience.

      I'd like to say, "We've come a long way, baby!" but we haven't.

      Thanks so much for your insightful and provocative comment.

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      LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

      Wish I could say I can't relate. I just hit 51 and have to agree with my friends who got there first, it's worse than hitting 50, more like hitting a brick wall. I remember back when I first realized a young man was flirting with me as an older woman. It surprised but ultimately amused me. I was 35. This is not that!

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      LetitiaFT, thank you so much for sharing your experience. No, 50, 51 is not 35. I remember an adventure I had with a young friend who was 19 while I was 31. I spent a weekend with her at her college, and her male friends hit on me, so to speak. When I told them my age, they got even more interested. That doesn't happen so much when we're in our 50s. Strange life. I think I'm just as desirable now as I was then. LOL

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      I became invisible many years ago … and like you, after the first shock, it is a gift. You’re right. Now I can be as subversive as I like …

      Right now I’m about to walk through customs carrying my marijuana plant.

      Fab hub, loved it. Said everything I have ever thought but hadn’t the wit to put into words. Voted up and shared.

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      LOL Angie! Another vote for subversion...as they say, if ya' got it, flaunt it. Thanks for the positive words, votes, and shares and for putting a smile on my face. :)

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      Beth37 4 years ago

      I enjoyed that essay. I'm turning 44 this Sunday and I work with a lot of very pretty teenage girls. I am definitely feeling you on the invisible note, however, I work in a grocery store in many capacities and am often called on to be a cashier. It is a grueling job, believe it or not, especially when you have a lot of pressure for speed, effectiveness, and customer service. You also wouldn't believe how incredibly awful customers can be, no matter how hard you try to please them I know there are moments when my eyes begin to glaze over and my smile begins to wain. Not to say you weren't correct in your assessment of the cashier, but it is possible she just gave out for a moment. It's possible you felt "safe" to her... like a mom figure or a fellow woman... someone who might give her the grace to just fall short for a few seconds and catch her breath. She may have dropped the ball, but it may have just been a moment of weakness and nothing to do with you at all. All that being said, I enjoyed reading your perspective.

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Beth37, thanks for writing your interesting and sensitive interpretation of what might have been going on with the cashier. However, that was not the last time I'd encountered her, and her behavior was always consistent...charming to the young ones and ignoring of the older, specifically the older women.

      I, too, spent many years in one kind of customer service or another. I was always taught, no matter what, "Customer is King ." That doesn't mean we don't have to catch our breath after a particularly difficult encounter, just that the breath we catch should never be at another customer's expense.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed this read and shared your perspective. :)

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 4 years ago

      If you did not recognize this gap until now you our doing pretty good. I have experienced this from both sides of the age spectrum. Women are far more discriminatory and women are more likely to play the age card to get something or to not do something. I do notice that mid age people are throwing the age requirements out the door and simply noticing people. Just as interesting is the lack of a generation gap in terms of day to day things such as music for instance.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Wow, Sanxuary, you have a lot to say. I wonder if you will write your thoughts into an article. Thank you for commenting here.

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      definatelynotPC 4 years ago

      The point is made, over made and then ground into oblivion. Is this what we are? A nation of women crying about the changes in life that will occur? How trivial her life (and so vain) is to even think this is a real issue. It's a made up one. Is it no wonder men view older women as carrying far too much baggage. Constantly whining about nothing thinking it is something. Get over your self and move on...

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      You have a lot to say, too, definatelynotPC. All opinions are welcome. Thank you for sharing yours.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      This remains one of my absolute favourite hubs, glad to come back for another look. DefinitelynotPC should keep taking the drugs!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      Hi...you don't know me - but - i'm gonna throw my 2 cents in anywho...(those who DO know me won't be the least bit surprised..lol..

      Here's how i choose to see your experience, dear - especially because i'm a YEAR OLDER than you..lol..

      i believe that snarly, jealous, unevolved female saw you and your 'spiffiness' while you were patiently waiting in line with your coffee..

      i believe that your spiffiness - combined with always sexy confidence - just simply overwhelmed her with feelings of inferiority - and she chose to be snippy to you because it helped her feel better about herself for that moment!

      You must have looked SMASHING! Happy belated birthday...lol..

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      Well, compared to me, you're just a young whipper-snapper, but my advice is, don't let them get away with ignoring you! Old ladies Unite! I did enjoy coming around to read again...it's a great hub!

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Stephanie and Jools, you are awesome ladies in so many ways, and especially at this moment for coming around to a second read. This subject does deeply touch those of us who are of a certain age.

      Stephanie, I never said how long ago my 50th birthday was. I think we are both whipper-snappers. :) You might find it funny and endearing to know that today, while my mother and I did some thrift-store shopping, the lovely [senior] clerk coughed up that I (in addition to my mother) could take advantage of senior-day, half-off pricing, if I'd like, and she hoped I wasn't offended. What a trip! Guess I'm showing my age now. And proud of it. Mom and I are celebrating the day by making kielbasa and cabbage.

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      ImKarn23, I like your style! So glad you found this hub, and now you have a new "follower."

      Perhaps the clerk was not only jealous of the "spiffiness" and calm demeanor, but also afraid of getting old. You know young kids, they think they are immortal (it wasn't that long ago that I thought that way...oh, the situations I put myself in thinking I was Wonder Woman). So, if she saw me as attractive, and older, that could set off a spat of insecurity combined with the fear of aging.

      Loved your comment and love your spirit in addition to your style.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I think I became invisible at age 40! I always said I could go into a store and stash stuff in my purse and get away with it, cause nobody sees me. In restaurants I am invisible, too.

      Cute Hub. I voted it UP

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      LOL, mary615...you've just stated the case for invisibility. Love it.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 4 years ago

      What about this: "Excuse me dear, what did you say your name was? Suzy? Ah yes, Suzy. Well, Suzy, I'm really sorry you're having such a bad day. I hope it goes better for you"...and walk away. You'll never be invisible to "Suzy" again, or to anybody who heard your comment! This was a really good hub and I thank you for writing it. Voted up.

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      Beautifully written - enjoyed tremendously. I will look forward to exploring more of your hubs!

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      TIMETRAVELER2, what a good comeback. I never think of those things on the spot, but sometimes do days later. Thanks to you, the next time I run into a "Suzy" I'll be prepared.

      You make such a good point...people sometimes don't realize how their behavior affects others. Your suggested retort is not unkind, but does send a wake-up call. "Suzy" may be more mindful in the future, not only of me, but of others.

      Thanks for a great comment!

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Rosie writes, thank you for the good words. :)

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

      Being invisible doesn't bother me so much as an obvious lack of respect. I hate it when someone clearly much younger than I am calls me 'love' or 'sweetheart'. Give me a break. I hated it when I was 20 and I simply won't tolerate it in my 50's. When I was younger it implied that I was a child. Now that I'm older it implies that I am senile.

      I said to one salesperson recently "Ask me if you want to know my name, but do not call me sweetheart." Other people near the counter laughed and clapped. It was one of those magic moments. :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      LongTimeMother, you clearly spoke for the other people near the counter with you.

      But I don't quite share your annoyance. I come from a tradition where waitresses in luncheonettes call everyone Hon, male or female, young or old. Those waitresses are a dying breed. Their first order of business is good service with a personal touch. Perhaps it's a regional thing. I guess I'll go out with them. :)

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

      Yes, it is a regional or cultural thing. Here in Australia anyone of any age can call me 'mate' and that's fine and friendly. "Thanks, mate" or "What can I get you, mate?" is probably annoying to a lot of people but it reminds me I am an aussie and I love it because hearing it says I am home. I don't mind if I'm travelling in the US and I am called 'hon', just as I don't mind being called 'missus' in other parts of the world. But 'sweetheart' and 'love' are terms that indicate intimacy and most Australians reserve them for members of their family ... or very young children or senile oldies. How are they used in your part of the world?

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 4 years ago from South of France

      I'm the same age as you are and a couple of years ago I was in the achingly hip seaside resort town of Brighton (UK) on a cold autumnal day. I was wearing a big raincoat and jeans and didn't look too terrible, or so I thought. A youngish man was handing out flyers for some rave/party/gig, and I braced myself to say no thanks. Needless to say he looked straight through me and only then did it occur to me that I no longer look like the raver, but the raver's mum. A blow to my ego but it did make me laugh.

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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Riviera Rose, you said it all. The perfect description of becoming invisible. Now you are a mum to a raver. *sigh*

    • profile image

      Adey 3 years ago

      I had a friend at colleague who saw every slight as because he was black. No this stuff happens to us all. Its not because you are old, its not because you are w women, it could be anything. They could have been distracted. They could have spotted you in the line and thought irrationally "why does that person look so miserable", it could be a mistaken identity and you look like the woman who shouted at the staff last week.

      Not everything is because you are "black".

    • Matt Jordan III profile image

      Matt Jordan 3 years ago from Gulf Coast

      Well written. I like the meter and style. But I don't quite see the point. I tend to get dead pan, "Good morning...anything else...(hands me change) on days when I am quiet, unengaged. This doesn't happen often because I am almost always very sociable. It isn't my nature to leave the quality of a social exchange to a person standing in one spot, day after day, tapping on a cash register. I joke with the young ones, flirt with the older ladies, and just try to make a few seconds of their day fun. I hope if that girl was fired, it was for something else. Not being chipper is no reason to fire someone. Why would you wish her ill just for that?

    • CarolAnnHeadrick profile image

      CarolAnnHeadrick 3 years ago

      Go read Dale Carnegie. All you had to do was speak up, tell the young cashier it was your birthday and you would have gotten a nice greeting. Afterall, you were the elder in this situation. Sometimes wallflowers are treated as a wallflower. It sounds like she was very busy attending to all the customers.

    • LaurieMaxson profile image

      Laurie Maxson 2 years ago from AL

      I can't say this happened when I turned 50, but it certainly has happened. I don't think it had anything to do with my age or how I looked but the attitude of the one on the other side of the counter :) Some people enjoy living in a self pity world, or one where the "world" is to blame, and they spread this through their actions. As we get older, I think we just recognize it more. whether you are 20, 30, 40 +, focusing on who you are and what you want to be and do in life, is what will make you smile through your teeth at the one who just doesn't get it yet :) You are better at 50 than you were before, and you will be even better at 60 than you are today :) You aren't invisible to us.

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