My mother is a beautiful woman but I'm still confused by men flirting with her in public

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I witnessed firsthand; used with permission.

The way men flirt with my mom in public is confusing to me. She is an amazing woman who deserves attention, but it weirds me out sometimes when she starts flirting back like they are just old friends. Every time I see this happen I feel like I'm watching something private and personal. What's even more strange is that my father never flirts with her. So what gives?

It's not that I don't think my mom is beautiful—she is. I guess I just don't think of her in that way, as someone who could be the object of someone's affection. So whenever I see a man flirting with her, it throws me for a bit of a loop.

I was out with my mom recently, and we were having a good time, laughing and chatting like we always do. Then I noticed a guy across the room looking at her intently, and it dawned on me that he was flirting with her. "Here we go again," I thought.

My first instinct was to protect my mom and make sure she wasn't getting taken advantage of, but then I realized that she was more than capable of handling herself. After all, this wasn't her first time at the rodeo. Men have been flirting with her since she was a teen.

It seems like everywhere my mother goes, she gets hit on by guys. It's not just at bars or clubs either – it happens at restaurants like Subway, Chelo's, Dunkin', and Burger King, too. I can't help but feel confused by it all.

Part of me feels like it's flattering that so many men are attracted to her. Another part of me feels weird and uncomfortable about it like there's something inappropriate about younger men hitting on a woman who is old enough to be their mother.

I'm not jealous. I swear.

My mother and I always joke about it. When we see a man ogling her in public, we make faces at each other, discreetly of course, and we laugh.

"Who's he looking at? Me or you?" my mother will ask.

"You," I always reply. "They're always looking at you."

Thankfully, these men have never said anything off-color or inappropriate. They usually just ask how she's doing or compliment her eyes and her smile. It's harmless, and she doesn't mind it.

It's harmless because she doesn't mind it. My mother is always an active participant in conversations or exchanges with these strange men. She is complicit. She gets a kick out of it. I think it makes her feel young and carefree.

Things would be very different if she felt uncomfortable or harassed, but she doesn't. She's fine with it. I think it puts a spring in her step for the rest of the day.

By the way. She's seventy-nine years young.

What would you do if you caught a man flirting with your mother in public? Would it bother you? Comments are welcome.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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