06 May 2010

Young

Ryan and I are constantly told how young we look. We're told this both by people we know and don't know who each think that we have never heard this bit of news before. At a certain age I think being told you look young becomes somewhat flattering (say 40s and up) but right now it isn't. I think that most people should realize that other people in their mid-20s do not appreciate being told that they look 15 or 16 (I've even gotten a 13 before). I don't really get offended because I've dealt with the young thing for a looooong time, but I definitely get annoyed sometimes. A lot of times I just think, "Hmmm, you're kinda rude." This reaction most often comes after I get this little quip:

"Wow, YOU'RE a teacher. Do your students even take you seriously at all?"
Chuckles.
Snorts.
Looks of concern.

To which I respond happily, "Oh yes, of course they do! We kind of make a little joke about it in my classes at the beginning of the year and then move on. Students do understand that I am much older than them."

Usually as the inquirer is walking away I go through a different scenario in my head. I could make our little exchange significantly more awkward if I wanted.

Alternate reply, with possible tears for added effect: "No they don't! It is absolutely horrible. They won't listen to a word I say and my classes are completely out of control because they think I am their age. I can't convince them otherwise! Any advice?"

It's kind of funny that it is not considered insulting to tell someone that she/he looks like a teenager when she/he is actually a working professional who has no control over height, lack of wrinkles (which I'll gladly keep), a young looking face, or whatever else makes them look so crazy young. It is, however, a widely accepted social faux pas to do the opposite. I wonder what reaction I would get if I said this:

"You're kidding! YOU'RE only thirty! You look forty-five years old at the very least!"
Chuckles.
Snorts.
Looks of concern.


I would obviously never say that to someone and I'm happy that I can usually laugh off the comments I get. It's also nice to know that I'll really enjoy looking so young later on in life. A lot of us very young-looking folk would probably agree that other people could be a little more tactful when dealing with the topic though.


Reading through this post, I realize it sounds sort of snarky and bitter which is not the intent at all. I just think it's an interesting little double standard.