In my 20s, people consistently guessed that I was five or ten years younger than my actual age. I remember one particular office temp job where everyone treated me like an adorable mascot. One day, one of my co-workers asked me if I was just there to "make some extra money over Christmas break" or what, and I realized that she (and everyone else) thought I was in high school. I was like "Well, no...I'm just...supporting myself." Pause. "I'm 23." Pause. "I recently got married." the lady was like "Oh." and after that she (and everyone else) stopped treating me like an adorable mascot and things got really really awkward. I guess it's not socially acceptable to bop someone on the head with a stack of rolled-up photocopies when she's grown up and married and stuff.
Nowadays, people's opinions are divided: either they think I look exactly my age, or they think I'm 22.
On one hand, at my last job one of my (young) coworkers decided to dress as "an '80s girl" for Hallowe'en, went on and on about how ridiculous and stupid and ugly the costume was*, and didn't clue in when I was like "Ease off on the stupid-talk, would you? That's my adolescence you're maligning." Finally I had to spell it out for her, and she didn't believe my age until I showed her my driver's license. And I regularly get asked for ID when going clubbing or buying liquor (ironically, probably because of my height again; most women in my generation are pretty short, but kids these days keep getting taller and taller).
On the other hand, when I have a birthday, nobody asks me my age anymore - so obviously they suspect I'm old enough to be offended by the question (nobody hesitates to ask a teenager her age...). If I choose to volunteer the information, I always pause right after to make room for all the gasps of disbelief...and, increasingly, there are none (and yeah, I'm vain enough to be a little peeved by this). And a couple of months ago, a 40s-ish woman stopped me in the grocery store to compliment my winter hat with the cat ears on it and said "dressing like that makes us feel young again, eh?" with a smile of complicity.
It's normal for someone to maybe be "off" by five years (in either direction) when guessing a person's age, but for the guesses to span about fifteen years? That's just odd.
|Clearly, I am some kind of changeling.|
I'm gonna get off the internet and allow The Boy to shower me with adoration now. :D
*A long poufy skirt, a big poufy scarf to tie around her (crimped) ponytail, and...I forget what else. Possibly fingerless lace gloves. Almost certainly an off-the-shoulder top of some kind. Personally, I don't think any of those items are all that unfashionable on their own, and only moderately silly all put together. But whatever, I'm old.