All the feelings about what one should or could have said are certainly recognizable. When some complete stranger makes a remark that takes me aback, I too am never quick-thinking enough to actually come up with a reply on the spot, whether the context is condescending or political or racist or sexist or offensive in some other way.
Part of the problem is that if people are already unaware or thoughtless enough to make tasteless remarks in the first place, they're probably not even going to understand any clever or sarcastic comeback. Also, even a crude remark is only a fleeting unpleasant moment out of our comfortable first-world life, and meanwhile there are people who are being unjustly starved, tortured, imprisoned, left to die of Covid, etc., etc. I too sometimes envy those who can more easily let passing comments just slide off their backs.
But just for the sake of discussion, it might be worth considering where offensive language might be coming from.
For one thing, there's evidently a whole demographic of women who like to go out to bars or parties and 'flirt,' who might even find a come-on flattering. In that man-pursues-woman culture, which you can see in e.g. movies from the 20th century up to the modern day, the man is almost expected to make a compliment that's suggestive enough to be a turn-on, and the woman is expected to playfully counter with enough interest and charm to keep him talking if she likes him, but also enough feistiness to let him know she's not a pushover.
If the man has that kind of exchange in mind -- because after all, that's how many men were and still are socialized -- a charming or joking evasion that avoids hurting their feelings is basically only playing into their hands, giving them more license to just keep on pushing boundaries and even cross the line. In that context I think of waitresses, who evidently often have to walk a careful line between fending off actual physical contact and keeping male customers satisfied enough to tip, which is the source of income that they depend on to feed their family. (That's just one of the reasons why I wish tipping could be minimized and restaurant workers paid a fairer wage.)
I'm not saying women should put up with behavior they don't want to. If you're at liberty to express your distaste, the traditional response might be something like saying loudly and clearly 'I beg your pardon!' Even though it's been a long time since I attended parties or crowded events, I'd like to think I would still be able to use that if necessary, and in a more crowded setting, also step away or simply leave.
But at a safe distance, the more pragmatic tactic might be just a cold stare, or no reaction at all, not even dignifying such comments with a reply. Even if it leaves you feeling helpless or seething, which is of course not fair, it could still be the kindest way to spare the feelings of innocent bystanders -- and in this case perhaps especially the man's wife, who as you suggest may have cause to be ashamed of her husband on a daily basis, and grateful for anyone who simply seems to pay no attention.
Which (sorry this is so long) brings me to another thought, about age and elderly men in particular. There are undoubtedly some men who have been offensive all their life and only get more shameless with age, who just fall into the stereotype of the 'dirty old man' and should only be avoided at all costs.
But Qual's mention of her father made me think of my own father, who as a younger man liked to laugh and joke with women, but in old age gradually lost the cognitive ability to self-censor his thoughts and express himself as mildly as he might once have been able to. The less he was able to attend actual parties and social events, the more he would indeed try to strike up a conversation with people like waitresses and nurses and casual encounters. It wasn't always or even mostly sexual -- partly, he was just lonely and wanted to reach out, to get some kind of different interaction or stimulus when so many days had become so boring and similar. But he enjoyed the company of young women, and also little children, and wanted to connect with them. And yes, partly since he and my mom were never very physically demonstrative, he might have liked to hug someone or be hugged. (Though not by complete strangers; in the nursing home, he didn't react at all well to people who just came up to him without warning, on their initiative as opposed to his, which to me is as understandable as toddlers not liking to be hugged and kissed by strange old ladies.) It eventually got the point where we very occasionally had to just call him off, and that was very painful both for him and for us.
I also think of the other men in the nursing home. There weren't even many of them, because women live longer. But they seemed almost more desperate for stimulating human interaction, because the social activities designed for women, like bingo or Bible study or manicures, really didn't grab them at all, again, understandably. Many men have been socialized to go out of the house for their social lives, to the golf course or the lake or the bar, and when they get to the age where they can't go anywhere of their own accord, what else can they do but reach out to the few people who still come to them?
There was one little old guy called Woody who basically came on to every woman under 65 who entered the building, not exactly in a salacious way (that word might actually be a little too strong), but with a cheeky grin that left no doubt what he was thinking. He was ex-military, maybe quite the dashing officer in some past life, and his brain was actually pretty sharp. And he never tired of coming up with what I can only call pick-up lines, consisting precisely in taking up whatever you said and turning it into a clever come-on. Maybe that was actually a conversational skill that certain men honed, back in the day. I didn't enjoy it, but he got a big kick out of it, given that he had very little other motivation just to get out of bed every day. So eventually I learned to follow the example of the staff and just smile back, take it as a tease, and change the subject, since at well over 90, he was fortunately not capable of chasing anyone down. And he clearly meant well. Who knows, he might even have thought that by flirting with someone who was actually not that young and not that attractive, he was doing a favor.
I don't want to minimize your experience, which was clearly unpleasant. I wouldn't put up with it either from someone who was clearly in control of his faculties. All I'm saying is that a lot of people in their 80s have various degrees of mild cognitive impairment or early dementia, and inappropriate remarks are indeed one of the earlier symptoms, even when they may appear to be still functioning relatively normally in other ways. So if nothing else, it might lead you to give the guy and especially his wife a little benefit of the doubt in retrospect.
Anyway, to get back to your question, no, I don't normally expect, receive, or welcome such comments. But the nursing home might have made me able to think about them a little differently.
I'm banishing this to a postscript because I know Amy doesn't want to hear it again, so feel free to skip the rest.
But I have to say that I actually feel every bit as much silent anger -- that's not too strong a word -- at people like medical clerks or waitstaff who address women customers disrespectfully as 'sweetie' or 'honey,' or people, even well-meaning acquaintances, who call me and my mother 'you guys,' which is not only blatantly sexist but also presumptuous, overly familiar, like using 'ihr' instead of 'Sie.' If you call them on it, and ask them please not to, they just look blank and innocent, or even offended, as if it's your problem, not theirs. Even here, when I've tried to explain how impolitely it comes across, my objection hardly seems to register.
It seems to me that if you're among the adult women who are told to just ignore what can now even be called verbal microaggressions, over and over, to desensitize your own ears and shut off your brain, you're basically in a similar position to adult black men who were told to just put up with being called 'boy' for the rest of their lives, because the majority culture doesn't perceive it as a problem. The northerners who say they 'just grew up with' it do indeed remind me of the southerners who 'just grew up with' Jim Crow. I know it's true, they did grow up with it. But that doesn't make it right.
I try not to dispute the issue at length with strangers, but if pressed I will tip less and say why, and I will still call my male cousin a gal if he calls me a guy. But it's also clear that, once people have gotten used to hearing things in their environment, they're not very likely to change. You can only hope that at some point they will reflect of their own accord, but you can't make them.
Anyway, as unlikely it may be for any of us to reconsider the way we speak, I still hold out slightly more hope for those of us who are, thankfully, not yet in or verging on the nursing home, because at least we do have the mental capacity to self-censor.