I Don’t Age Either
After reading Liz’s post “I Don’t Age”, I was motivated to write about my own similar predicament. Liz mentioned a recent encounter where someone asked if she was at least eighteen. I have received that question more than a handful of times in the past few years. The one thing that irks me about that question is not that I don’t look eighteen – it suggests I don’t even look eighteen.
Liz is the same age as me, for the record.
I still get asked for ID in bars and other places. If I am with a friend, sometimes I don’t even get asked, likely because said friend actually looks like they are of legal drinking age, and people might as well assume that this friend is with someone who is roughly the same age.
I automatically get my ID out of my bag before I walk into an over-18 venue, and don’t just walk straight through, simply because I know they will check, and if they don’t check everyone, they will ask me.
I’ve made it into a bit of fun by saying “Guess!” every time someone asks how old I am. Most people are incorrect, for these reasons:
- If they make a good attempt, they will naturally guess a few years younger. “Twenty? Twenty-one?”
- If they make a joke, and then decide to put effort into their guess, they will guess even younger. “Ah… eighteen…? Nah, maybe nineteen, twenty.”
- If they realise that my “Guess!” is an evil ploy, and that I have asked them to guess because people usually guess incorrectly and I am challenging them to guess correctly, then they will guess a few years older. “Twenty-five.”
It’s an interesting little game. The only time a stranger has guessed my age correctly is when I was in a taxi with these two guys I met at a concert, who asked how old I was.
“Ah she’s nineteen. She can’t be older than that. Maybe eighteen.”
The taxi driver said, “Ah I know. I’m pretty sure she’s… twenty-one.”
This is a comparison photo of 2006 and 2012. I look more or less the same.
When people don’t realise my actual age, it always results in surprise or shock that 1) yeah I can drink, 2) yes I have a Masters degree, 3) yeah I am actually the same age as you and you were treating me like you were older and the boss of me.
People point out the advantages, such as: I will be complimented forever, I will look thirty when I’m fifty, I can get into children’s playgrounds and fit in.
To the latter: Um. No.
Maybe I don’t mind looking young half the time, but when someone makes a joke out of it (“Are you even old enough to drive?”, “I thought you were only sixteen!”), assumes your age (“Yeah, you’ll know what I mean if you decide to go to university”) or just flat out disbelieves you, it becomes a little infuriating.
I don’t want to get into a buffet as a twelve-year-old. I don’t want to get 10% off yoghurt for being in my school uniform. I don’t want to be asked for ID when I just want to have a good time. I do not want to be mistaken as “the younger sibling” alongside my eighteen-year-old brother. It’s almost self-deprecating, and while looking young may be a blessing, it doesn’t have any perks when you’re only twenty-three.
And don’t get me started on “but makeup” or “but Georgie, you said that people believe how old you say you are when you’re dressed like a punk”. I hate makeup, and people should look at how maturely people behave, not the fact that they have powder on their face, a suit, or look like they listen to metal music so must be over eighteen (what?).