I was just reading a post on facebook that asked people about the rudest or most socially awkward thing anyone had ever said to them. A couple came to my mind, but the one that really struck me was the time that I was the one making the socially inept comments. It was an accident, I swear!
It was back in college. I was taking an education course where we were finishing up the term with a big group project. I was in a group with a couple of girls around my age (19-20ish) and one older lady who told us that she had returned to college because now that her kids were in college she was trying to keep up with them. (We'll call her Jane because I certainly can't remember her name after all this time.)
On our last day of group work, we all brought in pieces of the project and were finalizing our display in preparation for turning it all over to the professor. And Jane suddenly realized that she had left a critical piece at home. Luckily she lived close to campus, so was able to call home and ask someone bring it up to her.
Shortly before class ended, the door opened and a very attractive young man came in. He looked around for a moment, then spotted our group and headed our way. The younger girls and I all kind of sat up a little straighter, fluffed our hair, put on a smiley face... you know, all those things young women do when they spot a good-looking guy.
He came over to the group and handed Jane the piece of the project she needed. She thanked him and quickly introduced him around the group... girls, this is John. John these are the girls... Then she thanked him again and he left.
When he was gone, I turned to her and gushed something along the lines of: "Wow, your son is SO cute! Does he have a girlfriend? Would he like one? I haven't had a date in a few weeks - how about you set me up?"
To which she frostily replied: "That was my husband, not my son. He's a couple of years younger than me, but he hardly looks young enough to be my son." Then she didn't speak to me for the rest of the term.
Oops. But for the record, he totally looked young enough to be her son. Maybe he was close to her age and just aging really well. Maybe he was close to her age and she was not aging very well. Or maybe there really was 15 years difference in their ages. But I was not the only one in that group to assume that he was young enough to be her son. I was just the only one to blurt it out that way...