I was in the mall this morning, waiting my turn for the ATM. Alongside waiting her turn at another bank’s ATM was an absolutely stunning woman, definitely not a girl, and I didn’t even think of her as a young woman; she was somewhere in her late twenties or early thirties I would say. She was wearing a denim miniskirt and heeled slip-on sandals, between which were the most gorgeous pair of long, sculpted, perfectly tanned legs. As she took her turn at the ATM she lifted her heels off the soles of her shoes, standing on tiptoe, which only served to show off the muscular definition in her legs even more. I couldn’t help but admire these lovely legs and figure, and the lovely face and cute, short, blonde hair style that was revealed when she turned away from the ATM.
As she moved away she stopped opposite me to talk to someone she knew while she was putting her money away. She dropped a coin the landed up between us. Being a gentleman, not to mention in thrall of her legs, I bent to pick it up and placed it in her hand, to which she said "Dankie Oom" and suddenly I felt really old. If mature women are calling me Oom, then I must look a lot older than I feel.
I should probably explain this for the benefit of non-South African readers. Afrikaans people use the terms Oom (Uncle) and Tannie (Auntie) as a sign of respect for older people. In some ways it is similar to the English Sir and Madam although perhaps less formal and carrying more of a connotation of respect for elders than respect for a stranger or person in a position of authority. As an English-speaking South African I understand that it is a sign of respect but I still find it unnerving to be called Oom by someone I would consider an equal. It is understandable for a child or youth to use this form of address to an adult but I would not expect another adult to address me in this way, even if there is a ten or fifteen year gap in our ages.