Sunday, February 12, 2012

Grow up, face!

Growing up as the youngest of four, I developed a huge complex about age.  I tend to get irritated at the smallest things regarding youth, even though they really don't mean anything.  For example, my tall friend likes to pat her shorter friends on the head.  She did it to me once and I got really annoyed because I felt like she was treating me like a child, which was highly irrational.  Even though I thought I had gotten over this complex at least a year ago, I still haven't.

Unfortunately for me, I have a very young face, so the world doesn't make it easy for me to get over it.  I've still got big baby cheeks that will probably never go away and no matter what I do with my hair, clothes, makeup, etc. I still look at least 2 years younger than I actually am (usually more).  For people that know me well, it's not that noticeable, but when I'm around people who don't know me, I get very irksome looks and comments thrown at me.  I always tell myself that no one ever means anything by it, and I'll appreciate it in 10 years or so, but I still can't shake the supreme feeling of inferiority every time it happens, which is a lot.

I had a summer job once at a really cool tasting room for olive oils and vinegars.  The job involved giving every customer a little tour around the store and telling them all sorts of information about the products and how to taste them, etc.  I think a lot of people were put off by someone so young knowing so much about something so sophisticated, so I actually had a lot of fun showing off my knowledge.  Sometimes people would ask about my age, and most of the time they assumed that I was the owner's daughter, which was...whatever.  However, sometimes people would really get under my skin.  There was one woman I specifically remember.  I was ringing her up at the register and she asked me something about where else we sold our products.  I told her I wasn't sure because I had only been working there for 3 months and she cut me off in the middle of a sentence and said, "you look like you're 12."  I kid you not.  That's exactly what she said.  And she said it kind of snappishly too, so I felt a little bit defensive.  I quickly told her I was 18.  She sort of laughed and said, "oh, well you'll appreciate it when you're older."  I really wanted to say, "I'll appreciate it when I'm your age," but I was working and that would've been highly inappropriate.

Nowadays, work is still where it happens the most.  As I've said in previous blog entries, I work with some very profane people.  It doesn't bother me at all, but almost every time someone drops and f-bomb or anything, they immediately look at me and apologize.  Really?  REALLY?!?  I mean, it's bad enough that I feel inferior here anyway, because I don't know what's going on half the time and I'm still new the film business, but I really don't need that extra inferiority kick of them thinking they can't swear in front of me.  Honestly, having a babyface doesn't stop me from saying fuck, so you shouldn't worry about it either.

I think what also bothers me about all this looking young business is that, not only am I not as young as I look, but neither is my mind.  In fact, I'd say my mind is a bit older than I actually am.  I've always enjoyed hanging out with my older siblings and their friends much more than hanging out with most people my age (although there are exceptions) because I feel like my maturity level is closer to those of people who are just a few years older than I am (most of the time this is why people who know me well don't really notice my young-lookingness).  I realize that that sounds incredibly pretentious, which is why I don't really voice that feeling very much, but the fact is, it makes looking and being treated younger than I am even harder.

Despite all this, there are up sides to looking so young.  For one thing, as you may have read about briefly in my last blog entry, people don't really want to make someone who looks so young and innocent sad.  I can tell a lot of the time if someone thinks I'm younger than I am if they're being particularly nice or patient with me, even if I'm being dumb or not doing something quite right.  Even the people I work with do that with me, and I've seen them lose their cool with other people over the tiniest things.

Another upside is that, whenever someone actually thinks I'm as old as I am or older (it does happen), it feels AMAZING.  I had another summer job more recently when it was very clear sometimes that customers thought I was older than I was.  It may have had something to do with the fact that part of my job included selling alcohol, but it still felt good not to feel patronized.  Also, very recently, I was at a party with my family and someone asked my dad and I how long we had been married.  As awkward as the situation was, I still felt very pleased with myself.  Of course, it might also have been that my dad looked younger, but, although he does have a youthful face for someone his age, it's not so youthful that someone who was my age would realistically be married to him.


  1. AHHaha I love that story about being married to Dad. ewwwwww. Also, I feel you on the young face, of course. However, I would add that unfortunately (although I think it actually is fortunate, because swearing is rude), more than looking young, being a woman is probably going to make people keep saying "sorry" when they swear in front of you, no matter how old and wrinkly you get. You could call it sexist or something, but honestly, I think people should think more about who's around them and if it's only children and women that they bother to think about, fine, at least they are thinking a little.

  2. Ok that's hilarious that they swear and then say "sorry". I mean, that sucks. But that's hilarious.