I am very fortunate to still look like I am in my early twenties. This has been something I have enjoyed immensely as I am almost certain any woman would. Normally, this is pretty fantastic especially when lately the number ’31’ gets stuck in my throat when people ask how old I am. However, recently, it has become an incredible pain in my ass.
I never minded getting carded when buying alcohol or even at rated R movies (which still happens by the way). It was something I had gotten used to: going to the store and showing my I.D. and having the cashier smiled and make a comment such as “Wow, I would have never guessed that.” I always thank them. It’s meant to be kind and as I mentioned, it never really bothered me. It’s never been an issue of someone not believing me; my I.D. has never been fake. It’s almost a reflex at this point to have that reaction so I go into auto pilot of a polite response and go on my way. It’s never affected me past taking a few extra seconds to get the bottle of wine or get into the bar.
It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I started to want to be treated as such. I want to be treated as an adult when I’m at my job, whatever it may be at the time. I want to be treated like I have knowledge, am educated and experienced. It sounds odd to say because EVERYONE should be treated like that but when others think you are younger, they treat you like you’re stupid. As if you’re going to burn the building down if they leave you alone for five minutes. I am sure I am guilty of it. Aging people by saying things like “Oh, you don’t get it, you’re too young.” Occasionally, that may be true and said properly, it isn’t insulting because hey, a younger individual may not know because they haven’t experienced something age appropriate like renting a car. However, most of the time, it comes out as a real shit thing to say. It’s belittling and makes one feel inadequate. As a kid, it wasn’t so bad because you’re a kid and you had to accept the fact you were younger. When you are 31 and everyone treats you like you’re 21, it’s harder to accept and brush off because you’ve been 21. You’ve been through the pain and torture of your twenties. I want my experience and the life I’ve lived to matter. It sounds dramatic when put that way but it’s what I’ve been feeling in the past few years.
When my husband and I were at Disney World a few years ago, we had “Happy Anniversary” pins on. We weren’t married yet but we were celebrating our dating anniversary. A kind cast member congratulated us but then took a second glance and asked us how long we had been married. We fibbed and just said how long we had been dating which was about four years. He commented that we must have gotten married when I was 12. We laughed it off but it stung a little. I knew I was going to married this man and I worried “Is this going to be our life? Where everyone thinks Lincoln has robbed the cradle?” What about when we have kids? Are people going to think I am the babysitter?
We just moved to Vermont and applying for jobs, several places looked at me like my resume was a lie. They never said anything, but it was clear they were surprised by all my experience considering I appeared to be 22, MAYBE 23 years old. If I don’t wear makeup, it’s even worse. I am spoken to like I don’t understand simple tasks. My new job has a lot of moving parts but I picked them up fairly quickly and a lot of my fellow employees have been shocked like I shouldn’t be so on point yet or understand how Microsoft Office works because I’m far ‘too young’ to grasp the concept of working in a customer service setting. I have a coworker talks to me as though I am a kid. She didn’t understand how I could be married and asked once if I remembered what CDs were. Yes, lady, I remember when THE INTERNET BECAME AVAILABLE IN HOMES not to mention my Walkman so yeah, I remember CDs, you know, when they became a thing for the first time. If I hear her say, “Well, you kids these days…” one more time, I will slap her. Ok, maybe not but it’s getting a little ridiculous when she asks me if I know how to check a voicemail. And she can’t be more than 10-15 years old than me at the most.
At our grocery store with my parents a few weeks after we moved in, we got some wine. At Hannafords, they need a supervisor to come and check I.D.s which is totally understandable. This manager was taking a long time to arrive at our register and the cashier…was really weird. Just a weird dude, long story. My dad finally said “You know, we are her parents. She’s of age. Can we just buy it?” The supervisor finally arrived and made the same confused face when checking my I.D. everyone does. But also I was with three other people who clearly are over 21 so I’m not sure why the extreme precaution. It happens every time my husband and I go buy beer together. They still ask for my I.D. even if he’s the one buying it like he’s buying for me for my high school rager I plan on having when my parents are out of town. When I’m out with my family, they always ask for my I.D. and occasionally the server will ask for everyone else’s I think just so I don’t know they were specifically targeting me, assuming I was the youngest. Obviously I know they are asking for only me. I think I hang out with too many people who have beards. Beards equal age. My brother never gets carded and he’s three years younger. I should grow a beard.
It may seem like a foolish thing to complain about but much like my past blog about being tiny, everyone has complaints that may seem controversial. There are women who look older than they are and I am certain they have a similar reaction when people age them. I accepted being carded every since I turned 21 but being treated like I don’t know what I am doing because I look like a kid has started to upset me. And the faces I get when I say how old I am sometimes aren’t pleasant surprise. It’s shock. Shock that isn’t masked in any way much like when I told people how much I weighed when they kept asking. It’s an odd feeling now that I’m older. For the first time, I want to be an adult.
The first week I was 30 I wasn’t carded. I was shocked and kept joking that now that I was 30, my streak was over and I finally looked my age. It was a welcomed change. Then it started creeping back. I started going new places, shopping new stores. It still just blows my mind that people think I am 21, ten years younger than I actually. Again, it is AWESOME in many ways. It’s great to feel good about my face. I joke I moisturize and that’s what gives me my youthful looks. It’s just good genetics truthfully. But when it interferes with my integrity, it hurts, it stings, it sucks.
I never want to grow up but sometimes, it’s nice to be treated like I am one when I am doing adult type things. I’m grateful I look young enough to still play a lot of my dream roles. I know a lot of actors play young way into their 30’s (hello, the entire cast of Dawson’s Creek).
It’s a good feature to have. But when I’m applying for jobs outside my chosen field, when I’m working in an office or a restaurant, being treated like I don’t know what I am doing when clearly I do makes working difficult. It shuts down my confidence. It has made me realize that I need to pay attention how I speak to people that are younger. I’m probably not smarter than them. I may have more life experience in some ways but I’m not any better than they are. I shouldn’t be condescending. I shouldn’t mock them when they haven’t ever watched “Saved by the Bell” or think Leo DiCaprio is old and gross with his dad bod (they didn’t know the good days!) I should be polite and explain the wonders of what I know and listen to the wonders that they know because I still have to Google what half those abbreviations in text messages mean though I am fully on board with the Zac Efron train (he’s the new Leo!).
Someday I will look my age. It’s inevitable. Or maybe not if I start using toner. I’m thankful, I’m #blessed, but I’m also fed up. This doesn’t mean I want wrinkles however so don’t go getting any ideas, Universe.
Just for funsies though…