Yes, you are making your kids cringe. Let's count the ways

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock Photo: Shutterstock

The Theresa May awkward dancing incident has caused amusement in some circles, though not among those of us old enough to have witnessed young people cringing on our behalf.

Maybotic dancing in public might not be your particular downfall, but there are many other ways to make the kids recoil in horror. No matter how streetwise and youthful you may feel, you are a cringe bomb waiting to go off in their faces.

You have no idea it will turn out like this. You think you will never become one of those old types who embarrass young people (because you're not wearing your specs on a chain! You have Instagram!

You have heard of Wolf Alice and, what is more, seen Wolf Alice at a festival. You have a feature wall in your house painted raspberry, and a Berber rug! You can do a headstand - with a lot of preparation, and a wall and a cushion). But yes, you will. Yes, you are.

You, who once went to a (sort of) secret Rolling Stones gig, have the potential to cause cringing on a par with poor Theresa May, and it is important to be aware of this so you can minimise the stress you're causing.

If you answer yes to six or more of the below, you're a cringe-maker like the rest of us...

- You use the following words: Totally (used to be ironic, not really any more). Funky. Hip. Trendy. Street. They hate all those. Some words they think you are too old to use (babes, wassup), some they think are just lame (ethnic) and some (yob) they find plain offensive.

- You are considering buying black dungarees. (An easy mistake to make. You convince yourself they are just like black trousers with a bit extra in front. Your children are thinking WTF, even Heidi Klum is too old for those.) Also in this vein: anything leather. Anything sheer (the young people live in fear of seeing grown-ups' underwear. They don't want to be ageist but they are slightly uncomfortable during bikini season).

- You dance with your arms in the air. They think it's funny, until the arms go in the air.

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- You talk to strangers. Shop assistants, waiters, people at the bus stop. They find it excruciating if you ask an opinion, as in: "Don't you think he could do with a size up, they look a bit tight to me?" They cannot bear it when you speak to the waiter, full stop, but especially if you ask which, of the starters, he would have - and why. If you get chatting to the Uber driver about where he's from... that's probably their worst public interface.

- You talk about sex. Which you never do, but using the word "sexy", as in "He used to be so sexy" or "Yes, but obviously there was nothing sexual about it"... Not happy at all. They don't like the way you pronounce "sexual" or "ketchup" or "bowl". They hate it when you say "Ooh, I quite fancy him... which one is he?" when they are watching sport.

- You talk about the amazing place you have just been on holiday. The word "locals", the idea that you think you have been getting on with the locals... unbearable.

- Causing a scene (from their POV). As in when you have to tell the bloke who charged $200 to fill in the cracks in the front steps that he has not done a good job and will be doing it again for free. Or hollering at people to pick up their dog turds. This is 10 on the cringe scale, with bells on.

- Oh, hang on: accents. They hate accents... even your excellent Russian one. Even your Ulster one (not that easy). And impersonations - Liam Gallagher walking (well-known to be spot on), Natalie Bennett having a brain fade (whatever happened to her?).

The Telegraph - London