Geek Pride

Exploring the intersection of pop culture, mass media and the geek/gamer mind

When Did I Become Sir?

I care less about facial hair trends and the width of my pants legs.

I understand that times have changed. I get that I've missed an entire generation of pop music, and that I can't recognize a song by My Chemical Romance or Cee Lo. I've made peace with my extra gut, as well as the tricksy fashion industry. I've accepted the fact that there are certain pairs of pants that simply will never adorn my body.
In large part, I can swallow the sad fact that I am getting older.
But "Sir"?
I've fully entered my mid-40s. Panting, heaving, falling into my fifth decade, I've reached this ignominious milestone. And I've noticed a curious and disturbing verbal tick these past few months. Not mine. It's the public at large's verbal tick.
Everyone is calling me "Sir."
Nearly every acquaintance who I know through my world's intersecting Venn diagram of social circles, and absolutely every total stranger who works in a retail environment, if they are five or ten years younger than I am, they call me "Sir."
"How can I help you, Sir?" "Thank you so much, Sir." "Sir, did you say whole milk with your half-caff Ensure smoothie ... Sir?"
Yet I am young. I am virile. In my mind. There's nothing sir-like about me. I have never carried myself with an air of sir-dom. (Sure, I've been know to dress in chain mail. But that happens hardly ever in public. Besides, wearing armor should elicit a "Your sword, m'lord" or "My liege." Not "Sir.")
All this comes right on the heels of me barely getting comfortable with the latest fashions. By "latest," I mean, wearing baggy jeans. By "just" I mean about a year ago. You know, those saggy slacks that hip-hoppers and skateboard punks and other ne'er-do-wells wear, whose pant legs drag six inches on the ground so that they're stomping on their own cuffs and getting them all dirty. I heard these were all the rage about a decade ago, so I figured, it was about time I went down to Montgomery Wards and grab myself a pair.
Only to discover the "newfangled" trend of super-loose, wide leg pantaloon had been replaced by skinny jeans. Sadly, the forward thrusting power of my fashion-sense rocket boosters seem to have run out of fuel around 2003. My wardrobe now mostly consists of casual shirts I got a Target, baggy corduroys and one pair of too-tight black stretch jeans that John Travolta might have worn in Urban Cowboy.
I'm despondent. How can I look younger, and less "Sir-like," if not via the fashion or plastic surgery industries? I can't arrive at my younger self simply via buying the latest gadgets, and practicing my Gangnam Style moves. (Note to self: Don't pause on the sidewalk, stare at my iPhone, and look around confusedly, as if lost on my way to the Social Security office. That is an old man move.)
I try to be a shape-shifter. I try be a chameleon. But, at 47, at what point do I throw in the towel? For me, my towel-toss began with music. I haven't purchased a new CD in about half a dozen years. Wait, you say they're not making CDs anymore? I meant, "download" a new CD.
I don't watch TV anymore, either. I heard of a great show called "The Deadliest Breaking Walking Mad Thrones" but when I heard it would take 89 hours of non-stop binge watching to get up to speed in time for the finale, I decided to take a nap instead.
So here's my solution. I have resigned myself to not being hip. I will always about 1 to 8 years behind the times. I've decided I don't care. I'm old. I'll wear my wool fedora hat, and no facial hair, and a jacket that Molly Ringwald might have sported in Pretty In Pink. Heck, I'd wear Toughskins, if Sears still made them. 

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I'm OK with not being hip. Turns out, I never was. I was raised on the age of Loverboy, Huey Lewis and the News and Olivia Newton John. I was doomed from the start.

And I am slowly taking solace in no longer caring about facial hair trends and the width of my pants legs. And I am very happy listening to "The Hustle" and Electric Light Orchestra. And rocking my cords --- my not skinny, not wide, but ordinary straight-leg cords --- and dancing the night away, indoors, where no one can call me "Sir."

Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, teacher, poet, geek, and the author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks.


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