Getting old sucks, but it's not entirely without benefits. For one thing, I get fewer unsolicited comments from random people on the street. (Perhaps society is just more polite to middle-aged ladies.) Here, some of the most memorable things strangers have hollered at me.
1. "Let. Your. Hair. GROW." Yelled by a dude in a car in Binghamton in the 1980s, when I had what I thought was a cool new-wave 'do.
2. "Are you a lesbian?" Shouted from a second-story window in Astoria by a boy of about 10. I should have rocked his world by saying yes.
3. "Go back to Long Island, bitch." This, after I wouldn't stop to give some Binghamton guy a light for his cigarette. My first response: "I am not from Long Island."
4. "You're ugly, you little faggot." One of the neighborhood mean girls yelled this at me while I was delivering newspapers in 7th grade. I wasn't a particularly unattractive kid, and it's not clear why exactly having a paper route made me a faggot. I was, however, short, so she was right on that count.
5. "We're safe — we're in a Subaru!" Classic pickup line shouted by a car full of guys as my college friends and I walked down the street in (you guessed it) Binghamton.
6. "Nice house, you poor people!" Shouted by one of the dudes in the Subaru as we entered my friend's crappy off-campus apartment building. It was a bit of class warfare that still makes me laugh more than two decades later.
7. "Hey, baby, hot diggity dog!" My busty teenage cousin was the actual target of this comment, but I was there. I was 7 at the time, and hadn't heard anyone who was not on television use the expression "hot diggity dog." Come to think of it, I haven't heard anyone say it since.