Friday, August 19, 2011

Well, Sometimes the Way You Dress...

Every 16 or 17 year old dreams of passing for 21. But there comes a cut-off age where appearing older is no longer flattering.

My first taste of this was when I had taken over the cleaning jobs of a pregnant friend of the family. I was 17 and admittedly, my pre-aging came in handy if only for the sake of appeasing the clients as they forked over somewhere in the neighborhood of 25- 30 bucks an hour (to a high-school junior). I chatted with the nanny one afternoon. Perhaps about school. Granted I was enrolled full-time at Normandale Community college as a PSEO student (a Minnesota program where the state pays for high-schoolers' college if they fall within a certain rank in their class) so I could, with no dishonesty, pass myself off as a college student. But this nanny was assuming I was someone returning to college later in life since she assumed I was the same age as her- 27.

Less than a year later, my mom relayed this following story to me:

A couple had moved to Minnesota. They were friends of friends and therefore peripheral family friends. I hadn't had the opportunity for a formal introduction. My mom explained that at a dinner party I didn't attend, the man approached Ben and said, "Hey, where's your mom?"
Ben looked around the party and finally singled out my mom. The man looked confused. "No, your Mom... the curly haired one..."

"Do you mean... Summer? My sister? She's 18."

When my mother told me this story, I was horrified. Ben was 13 at the time.

"I would have to be at least..." I ran the numbers in my head. Like the really pragmatic numbers... "at least 30 years old!" I gaped.

Now please recall how old 30 was when you were 18. Back in my day, 30 year olds owned homes, had real jobs, golden retrievers, and at least two children.

"Well," she began in a soothing tone, "Sometimes the way you dress..."

"I dress like I'm 30!?" Again, think about what that meant when you were 18.

"Well, you know, sometimes the way you wear your hair..." she continued in her ill attempt to mollify me.

What she was supposed to say was, "I know honey; those people are crazy and probably alcoholics. What a bunch of blind morons."


  1. If it makes you feel better, a woman asked me the other day if my 5 year old (that Dianne says looks like you) was my granddaughter!!! But when I thought about it objectively, I realized if I had a child at 17 and that child had a child at 16, River could be my grandchild. But I still felt like I must look like an old hag.

  2. That is the worst. I always always always default to, "Is that your daughter!" and the occasional "Is that your sister?". It's just not worth the risk or ruining someone's life.

  3. Yep. You would think that would be the practice of most smart individuals. The worst is when I'm asked "When are you due?" I quickly calculate which month is three months away so they think I'm six months pregnant to save them, yes, THEM, from embarrassment.


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