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Have you ever wondered why people don't seem to say “you're welcome" anymore?

The phenomenon has really caught on lately but it's roots go a back further back. Back in 2015, author and professor Tom Nichols tweeted out an angry response after receiving what he thought was poor customer service:



“Dear Every Cashier in America: the proper response to 'thank you' is 'you're welcome,' not 'no problem.' And *you're* supposed to thank *me*"The angry tweet elicited a number of mocking responses from people on social media.


But eventually one person chimed in with a detailed and thoughtful response that just might give you pause the next time you or someone you know says, “no problem."

woman facing on white counterPhoto by Christiann Koepke on Unsplash

It's not about being polite. Our views on gratitude are evolving.

In a response that is going viral on Reddit, on person writing under the name “lucasnoahs" laid it all out:

Actually the “you're welcome/no problem" issue is simply a linguistics misunderstanding. Older ppl tend to say “you're welcome," younger ppl tend to say “no problem." This is because for older people the act of helping or assisting someone is seen as a task that is not expected of them, but is them doing extra, so it's them saying, “I accept your thanks because I know I deserve it."
“No problem," however, is used because younger people feel not only that helping or assisting someone is a given and expected but also that it should be stressed that you're need for help was no burden to them (even if it was).

Basically, older people think help is a gift you give, younger people think help is an expectation required of them.

Nichols took a lot of flack for his comment. But the insightful response reveals something important about gratitude.

The thoughtful response from “lucasnoahs" doesn't apply to everyone. After all, there are certainly a lot of people of any age group for whom acts of kindness and gestures of gratitude are “no problem."

Still, his message conveys an important idea that doing well for others does not have to be a grand gesture. It can be a simple act -- and the additional act of letting someone know that it's really no problem helps relieve any potential sense of debt or guilt the person receiving the gesture might otherwise take on.

Most of the time, doing the right thing is indeed no problem. In fact, it might be the solution to a lot of the daily problems we grapple with.


This article originally appeared on 08.15.18.

Melissa McCarthy is the latest cover girl for Glamour. And, per usual, the A-list actress is looking fab.

McCarthy's feature in the magazine's May Money issue is chock-full of great tidbits about her own financial struggles and successes.

The story gets real, laying out how McCarthy went from asking her parents for cash as a stand-up comic in her 20s to developing "fists of justice" at the negotiating table as one of Hollywood's highest paid artists. (Hell yes.)

But one particularly inspiring observation by McCarthy came when the star discussed the timing of her fame and fortune.


After years of gaining traction through smaller TV roles, the actress became the hilarious breakout star of 2011's "Bridesmaids" only after decades of struggle. Here's what she had to say about hustling to make ends meet in a daunting, cut-throat industry (emphasis added):

"When you spend 20 years working your butt off, you know yourself better. If you’re handed everything you want at 19 or 20, you may actually believe all of the people who are like, 'You’re amazing.' I think I would have been probably cuckoo [if I’d been successful] at 18. I think the best thing I could have done was struggle until I was 30. I always assume every job is my last. Twenty years of desperately trying to get a single job gets deep in your DNA."

Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

OK, real talk. How refreshing was that to hear?

For many of us, "overnight success" at age 22... isn't a realistic thing. We have families to raise and bills to pay while perfecting our crafts and juggling multiple jobs — often, with little to no payoff.

Like McCarthy, we didn't peak at age 18. And that's OK.

Steve Carrell wasn't cast in "The Office" until he was 40. At an age when most people are gearing up for retirement, Colonel Sanders was franchising his very first Kentucky Fried Chicken. A producer in Baltimore once told a young Oprah Winfrey she was "unfit for television news" and gave her the boot.

And let's not forget about a woman named Amy Craton, who dropped out of college to raise her kids but decided to return to school at Southern New Hampshire University; she got her diploma last year, at age 94.

Dream big, work hard, and believe in yourself, kids — you do have it in you.

More

Kate Beckinsale made a great point about having a young male lover on-screen.

In 'The Only Living Boy in New York,' Kate Beckinsale has a romance with a 21-year-old. So what’s the big deal?

Age may be just a number. But in Hollywood, it's a number that reflects a totally BS double standard between men and women.

Just ask Kate Beckinsale.

The actor sat down with Chelsea Handler on the comedian's Netflix talk show alongside "Transparent" creator Jill Soloway and actor Niecy Nash to discuss current roles for women in the industry. During their chat — which garnered attention online for Nash's excellent explanation of why diversity goes far beyond "black and white" — Beckinsale brought up a particularly absurd double standard she experienced firsthand on the set of her new film.



In "The Only Living Boy in New York,” Beckinsale's character has sexual relationships with both a 21-year-old (played by Callum Turner) and his father (Pierce Brosnan).

The public's response to each relationship says a lot about how we view gender, age, and romance on-screen, Beckinsale told Handler.


"Women on television are doing different things," Handler said to the actor. "In your movie, you’re having an affair with a 21-year-old."

"And his father," Beckinsale, 44, interjected to cheers from the audience.

Beckinsale continued:

"The thing I found funny about it was, in that movie, I’m having an affair with a married man, who’s Pierce Brosnan. They got paparazzi pictures of [me and Brosnan] shooting — they’re like, 'Wouldn’t they make a lovely couple in real life?' And actually, they made a big deal out of the [21-year-old actor] being very young. But he’s 16 years younger than me, and Pierce is 21 years older than me. And I thought, that’s really interesting, because nobody bats an eye about the age gap that way. You can be a 90-year-old man, everybody goes, 'go for it.'"

[rebelmouse-image 19488143 dam="1" original_size="750x526" caption="Beckinsale (second from right) and Turner (right) alongside other cast members of "The Only Living Boy in New York." Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images." expand=1]Beckinsale (second from right) and Turner (right) alongside other cast members of "The Only Living Boy in New York." Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images.

Beckinsale's experience reflects a much larger issue facing Hollywood's leading ladies.

Movie executives are far more comfortable pairing younger women with (much) older men than they are with the reverse.

Just yesterday, a trailer for the new film "Mother!" raised eyebrows, as viewers realized Jennifer Lawrence, 26, was playing the love interest of Javier Bardem, 48, in the horror film.

This double standard has been the status quo for decades, with few signs of significant progress on the issue.

In 2015, a casting decision affecting actor Maggie Gyllenhaal ("The Dark Knight," "Donnie Darko") made waves for its overtly sexist implication.

"I'm 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55," Gyllenhaal explained to The Wrap. "It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh."

Gyllenhaal's experience, although frustrating, is not a rarity.

This double standard isn't just obnoxious — it has real ramifications, too.

Most leading roles are for men. So, too often, talented women are pigeonholed into playing the love interest — or some other role revolving around the male lead — instead of telling their own character's stories.

Because Hollywood generally prefers younger women in love interest roles, this limits the already limited opportunities available for women as they grow older, exacerbating the problem and affecting their paychecks. It's in part why Hollywood tends to categorize women into either "young and hot" or "old and dowdy" characters — a binary that doesn't exist for their male counterparts.

Maybe age really is just a number. But when it's a number that affects opportunity and income, we all should care about righting an industry wrong.

Family

A viral tweet makes a great point about who gets to be 'old' in Hollywood.

What Marisa Tomei's portrayal of Aunt May tells us about being a woman over 50 in Hollywood.

Marisa Tomei is the youngest actor to take on the role of Aunt May in a Spider-Man movie.

[rebelmouse-image 19530727 dam="1" original_size="750x454" caption="Tomei as Aunt May in "Spider-Man: Homecoming." Photo from Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube." expand=1]Tomei as Aunt May in "Spider-Man: Homecoming." Photo from Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube.

Not everyone was a fan of the decision to cast Tomei, who's 53, as Peter Parker's Aunt May, with many critics saying she was too young for the role, which has traditionally been played by actors significantly older. When Rosemary Harris played Aunt May in 2002, she was 75 years old; in 2012, when Sally Field took on the role, she was 66.


In an interview with the New York Times, Tomei addressed some of the concerns she had about being cast as a "dowdy widow," saying she was "horrified" and "crushed" to learn which character she had been cast as, once she was shown an illustration of Aunt May in the comic books.

"I don’t want to be coming from an ageist point of view about that, at all. It was my own personal cross to bear at that moment," Tomei clarified. She even considered going "full-on silver hair," for the role, but later learned that the goal was actually to cast May as a sort of "big-sister" to Tom Holland's Peter Parker.

But that begs the question: Just what is a 53-year-old woman "supposed" to look like, anyway?

Twitter personality Calvin Stowell blew some minds when he shared this tweet, pointing out that Tomei is older in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" than Rue McClanahan was at the start of "Golden Girls."

I know, right? Pick your jaw up off the floor.

When "Golden Girls" premiered in 1985, McClanahan was 51 years old. And while she was the youngest of the four main cast members by more than a decade, the show's premise could best be described as the adventures of a group of older women. (To be fair, when Tomei filmed "Spider-Man: Homecoming," she was also 51, but still, it's a really interesting comparison.)

Some misinterpreted the point Stowell was trying to make, seeing it as an attack on McClanahan's appearance. But that's certainly not what he meant.

"It was more of a dig at Hollywood for casting someone 51 to be a geriatric retiree than competing their looks against each other," he writes in a Twitter direct message. "I love them both."

Actresses in Hollywood aren't given the chance to really get old. They're either young or they're old, with no in-between.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Tomei touched on this, saying, "Well, I only got to be old very recently. The industry has decided I’m an aunt-type now. I’m like, is this the way it gets broken to me?"

Hollywood seems set on pushing women from the role of hot, young leading ladies straight to senior citizen status. And even then, women over 50 are often forced into a binary choice between hot or dowdy. It's all a byproduct of both the industry and society's sexism.

[rebelmouse-image 19530728 dam="1" original_size="750x440" caption="Tomei attends the "Spider-Man: Homecoming" world premiere. Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images." expand=1]Tomei attends the "Spider-Man: Homecoming" world premiere. Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images.

But there is room in between. There is room for women in their 50s in movies to be portrayed like Tomei, McClanahan, and everyone in between. And there are a lot of great, diverse actresses in their 50s still making waves, such as Andie MacDowell, Angela Bassett, Catherine Keener, Jane Lynch, Julianne Moore, Diane Lane, and many more.

Sure, the casting of a progressively younger May in each film raised a few eyebrows, but in the end, Tomei's casting was actually a pretty great fit, reframing Aunt May as Peter Parker's actual aunt rather than his great aunt.

Until it's no longer "the industry" making these sorts of distinctions, there will always be an issue. But for now, this seems like a step in the right direction.