As a 43-year old, I take offense at your description of this man who “couldn’t have been older than mid-forties” as an “older gentleman”.
And last week, my 14 year old daughter and I were being checked out at the grocery store by a gender-ambiguous person. My daughter asked a question that required me to refer to said person…I first used the pronoun “he”, but upon hearing the person speak, was forced to correct myself and use “she” from that point forward.
My daughter was horrified.
Truthfully, so was I. But I told her, the world is becoming more fluid in terms of identity, and until humanity catches up with individual people’s choices, there are bound to be lots of awkward moments like the one we just had.
It’s unfortunate, but if a person uniquely identifies, they can’t expect strangers to always know how to approach them. I told her I was sure the checker didn’t consider me to be abjectly rude or stupid; it had been a very friendly exchange.
I tell you this story to illustrate one of the many opportunities you will one day have to out-Rory Rory.
It’s how the Universe stays in balance.
--just the view from over here in OLDERWOMANVILLE