Last night my friends and I decided to go for Christmas eve eve’s drinks. We went to a pub in one of our very gentrified neighbourhoods. It was great. We had a good time. As we were leaving the pub (one of those pubs come club type that open until 2am), a young black man in his mid-twenties held the door us. It was very touching because you don’t see that kind of courtesy often.
We decided to thank you him personally. He said “Welcome auntie”. WTF!! – was written all over our faces. One of us had to be held back because at that particular moment English (http://thingsihear.co.uk/2016/06/21/english-came-by-boat/) failed her. I know these young black boys of African origin call any and all old (older?) women ‘auntie’ out of respect, but seriously, are we that old? Do we look that old? Collectively (at least that group last night), we are barely 40 (ok some of us over but pushing 50 with a very long stick!!)
The Swahili people say “binadamu hatosheki” [humans can never be satisfied], if those boys were rude and stepped on our toes, you’d never hear the end of it, but calling us auntie out of respect is still a crime but I have no idea why.
My personal take on things is that ‘children and young adults, by all means respect your elders, but choose your words wisely – get cues from how people are dressed’, some of us, as much as we love to be respected, don’t want to be called auntie, when under the influence, by children/young adults we are not related to. My niece had a baby and by our tradition, I’m her baby’s grandmother not great auntie and am still coming to terms with that, so pardon me all over the place if I’m a too sensitive to be elderfied!!
Merry Christmas and a happy prosperous 2017!!