Friday, February 5, 2010

Young at heart

In case you have not noticed, I am quite a youthful-looking character. Shortly after I started this job, a policewoman was riding the elevator with me. “You work here?” she asked, incredulous. “You look like you’re sixteen!” Or take my cousin’s wedding shortly after my college graduation, at which a relative I can’t determine the nature of (I am really bad at cousins removed and relocated and third and fifteenth, etc., etc.) said to me, “Oh, you just graduated from high school? That’s so exciting!” I explained that, while this might be an exciting event for someone, it was not the case here. “But you look so young!” she shrieked. “It happens,” I said, an octave lower. And (just one more) there was the time a few years back when someone thought I was my sister’s younger sister. Don’t know if you're familiar with Homestar Runner's Teen Girl Squad (and you should be!) but I definitely identified with this episode (unable to link to the actual animation at the moment; sorry, guys) wherein the teen girls have met some college boys and are trying to convince them they’re also in college, with hilarious results. So and So messes up the plan by admitting they’re in eighth grade; Cheerleader wails, “I’m five years older and in COLLEGGGGGGE.” This is the only time in my life I have ever identified—intensely, no less—with a cheerleader.

There are, however, a couple of perks to looking young. For instance, I basically never get carded. I feel like the novelty of this should wear off; three years and counting, it hasn't yet. I think bouncers and the like assume I must be old enough to drink—there’s no way I could think I’d be able to scam my way past them with this face. Puzzlingly, the only times I do get asked for ID are when I’m out with my parents. Good side benefit of this one: I once was able to make a bet with a friend that I wouldn’t get carded, and won. Sweet.

My other favorite upside, and the one that inspired me to write this, is playground swings. There really aren’t enough parks with swings anymore in this day and age (aside from the ones that are made to enclose really tiny children) but every so often I am happy to find one. There’s a nice playground a 10-or-so minute walk from my job that I like to frequent from time to time. And though I am obviously too old to be the target audience for swings, I content myself with the fact that at least this youthful face does not look creepy on a playground full of children. In fact, it evidently looks so non-threatening that it drags strangers along into the fray. Yesterday two women who looked a few years older than I am (though who I am to judge these things) came into the park while I was happily swinging away. A few minutes later, one cautiously made her way over to the swing next to mine. When I eventually got up, she sat in my swing instead. Clearly, I had made it look so great that she wanted to experience it herself. Happy to share the joy.

P.S. While I was in the process of writing this, a friend called this Onion article to my attention. Guess in addition to being young-lookin’ it’s also good to be a lady.


  1. How much did you win on that bet?

  2. Can't remember. A million dollars?

    Really the funny part about it, which I can't figure out how to word, is that it was actually some sort of reverse bet--I got her to bet negative money I would be carded or something like that.

  3. (Is that right, negativewise, so it comes out that she pays me? I am feeling a bit sick and hazy.)