Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Look your age!


A picture of 19-year-old me

True story: When I was 19 years old and visiting my family in Oregon for a week or two before going back to school, the hostess at a restaurant gave me the kids' menu.

The age range for the kids' menu was
12 and under.

In her defense, the hostess was rather embarrassed when I told her how old I was, and ended up giving me a huge discount on the meal (perhaps the kids' price??). And I understand that she must have to make frequent, quick judgments about a person's age, on both ends of the spectrum, and it's inevitable that mistakes will be made. But honestly, she thought I was 12?

It's been a curse most of my life that I look so darn young. Just this last August, when we arrived in New York after our flight from Amman, I walked with my little brother (he's 15) to check him in for his continuing flight to Portland. At first, I stood away from the counter, assuming everything would be fine. Eventually, however, it became clear that they were unsure about his being able to fly unaccompanied - at least without paying some kind of extra fee.

At that point, I walked up to the counter. The desk agent took one glance at me and got a familiar expression on her face - an expression that said something like, "I wonder what this little girl thinks she can help with?" She asked, not very politely, who I was. I said I was his sister, and that I was sure his ticket was in order, even though he would be unaccompanied on the flight. Then she flat-out asked, "and how old are you??" When I said 25, she immediately started respecting me.

Does anyone else have this problem? I really wouldn't mind it these days, except for the surly reception it usually earns from people who don't take me for an adult.

16 comments:

sarah said...

You must have known I would comment :) I am now 22 and on average people usually guess i'm about 16 or 17. and when i tell them i'm married too they really freak out. One old man came into the store where i work this summer and said "Don't you have to be 15 to work here?" but he was nice so it was ok. and then at a ward party in aug. an old guy in our ward asked if i went to girls camp this year and when i said no he said "oh you're not old enough?" haha

Shannan said...

Hey!
Okay I am a serious blog stalker here, but I found your blog through a friend of a friend of a friend and I found your writing to be quite interesting.
But of course I had to comment on this post because I totally get that!!
I wish I could post a picture, but if you click on my name, then you'll see my blog and on my big long post where I write 110 things about me - you'll see a picture of me with my oldest son. I'm 31 in that picture.
I used to get carded at rated R movies when I was 21 and 22 - and now that I am having my third baby at almost 32, people gasp and say, You look like you're 20 or something. Ha!!
WEll anyway, I do enjoy your blog and i hope you don't mind me reading it. have a good one!

Bridget said...

Shannan, isn't that what blogging is all about? Stalking, I mean. Welcome!

And wow, you really do look young. Do you get the same annoying treatment from people that I mentioned?

Sarah, I never really thought about how young you look. I guess it's because I've known you since you actually were that young. Besides, you're taller than me :).

Suzanne Bubnash said...

I've looked young my whole life and now it's a great problem to have . . . but that wasn't always so. In my late teens people got me mixed up with my pre-teen sister; when looking for a job after my soph year in college a receptionist patronizingly said, "Oh honey, you're not old enough to work here!" I asked her, "How old does a person have to be? I'm a junior in college." She was very embarrassed. After having my first baby I was regularly taken for the teenage babysitter--that gave me plenty of chuckles. When my oldest was in high school I was assumed to be his sister. . . and so on. Now, as a grandma of 4, I face strangers' disbelief frequently, but don't mind a bit.

Nancy said...

People often think that me (22), my sister (who's 13), and my mom (who's 49) are all sisters. My mom and I have been mistaken for twins.

I look a lot like my mom. She doesn't really look that old, especially when she dyes her grey hairs, because she's not wrinkly.

People sometimes say things like, "Whose baby is that?" to me, while I'm holding my baby...others say, "I thought you were much older than that."

They always say both are compliments. I guess I don't really know how old I look.

Crissy Bear said...

Well Bridget you could always look old and be married to someone who looks young. When I was 12 and my brother was born people thought he was mine. I used to think that was weird because he was so white but now that I have "the white kids" I realize it was totally possible. Then there was walking around places with my dad. Around the same time (12..when do you stop holding hands with your parents?) I was walking with my dad and my baby sister. People kept giving us really nasty looks. Then we realized it was because they thought we were "together". SICKO! And then there is now. One time I was with my favorite professor who I worked with out here. This was around election time and she was talking about poor Mrs. Edwards and how she looked so old and her husband looked so young and how sad that must be. Then she looked at me and said, "Sort of like you and Jason. He looks fifteen." Now maybe she was just commenting on how young Jason looked/looks, but I didn't appreciate what else was implicated :) Happy belated birthday by the way. I think I'll clean my house on my birthday as well. That was a great idea! Although I have decided to ditch enrichment. I asked Jason if I should feel obligated to go since I'm one of only five that ever show up...he said, "HECK NO!"

momj said...

I have a 'baby face' so often people thought I was younger....but worse than that I have a very young voice. I could talk to my daughter's boyfriends pretty much as long as I was willing to small talk with them...they thought I was her...we sound so much alike.
I am almost 52 and I STILL have people call on the phone and say " may I speak to your mother?" Or sometimes, they say, "may I speak to one of your parents?" I usually just say "I am the mom" but once I caught myself saying...
"well, she is dead, but do you want to talk to me? " I think it was on a rather bad day when I was actually trying to deal with her death. Sorry this is morbid, if it is. When I hear my voice on video I really do NOT like it. It's much too young. When BYU calls asking for alumni donations they always ask to speak to my parents!

Suzanne Bubnash said...

momj, I've had the young-voice problem too, until recently (@ age 50 my voice got a little gravelly). No one takes you seriously when you sound like a kid. One fellow in my ward, when I answered the phone, would always say very sweetly, "is your mommy there?"

Nancy said...

I definitely have the voice problem. Sometimes I think I'd be a good candidate for mickey mouse...

Nattie said...

Bridget, I have the opposite problem, probably only because I'm so tall. When I was in first grade, people thought I was in 4th. When I was 15 and visiting my cousin's BYU ward, people thought I was fresh meat. Hopefully this problem has slowed down since then and I don't look 35 or anything.

Anonymous said...

I have some good stories on this subject. My sister is ten years younger than me, so I think that when I went places with her, people would guess my age based on what they perceived her age to be. When she was really little, people sometimes mistook me for her mother. As she got older, more people realized that I was her sister, but didn't think I'd be that much older. When I was 21, I went with her to her sixth grade open house, and one of the teachers asked me if I was going into eighth grade. She was pretty embarassed when I told her I was starting my senior year of college.

Hannah

Bridget said...

Crystal, that is terrible! Who would actually say such a thing? I've never thought that Jason looked so young, anyway (not that I'm saying he looks old...you know what I mean).

Momj and um, my mom, I don't get the voice thing yet because I guess Miriam doesn't get that many people calling her. All in good time.

Nattie, I do think height would have something to do with it. Except that Hannah (the comment below yours) is also tall, and yet she had the opposite experience.

Age perception regarding siblings is an entirely separate post. My (younger) sister always looks older and better than me!! Grr.

Suzanne Bubnash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzanne Bubnash said...

BMW, please clarify 'better.'

Bridget said...

So you're not going to argue with "older," huh? :)

Hmm, "better" as in "consistently more put-together and presentable, and with makeup on. And a more developed fashion sense."

Clear enough? :) Teresa, where are you to confirm this?

Suzanne Bubnash said...

I don't know about her looking older than you. She's as tiny as you and has been mistaken for being much younger herself.
As for younger sister's 'presentation', she has always looked way more put together than I ever did. I knew when she was four that she would have a better fashion sense than I, because while I wanted to buy her cute frilly dresses she wanted the lime green shirt covered with purple hearts, accented with the wide gold belt. And she looked good in it. On me it would have looked like a clown costume gone bad.
To each his (or her) own--we all have our own style and comfort quotient. Ahhhh, comfort--looks be hanged, comfort is my goal.

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