Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 20, 2020

Why I'd rather look sixty-five than twenty-one

By Ellen Brait | September 27, 2012

I have the unfortunate luck of having a baby face. At the age of 20, I am still constantly mistaken for being 15 or 16. At one point last year while in Colombia with my family, I was even mistaken for being 12. When we asked to make reservations at a restaurant they informed us that one had to be 13 or older to dine there. My parents and I were speechless, unsure what to say. Finally after a few awkward seconds, my mother stuttered out, “How old do you think she is? She’s 19.” Needless to say, it was awkward.

Because of many experiences like this, I have decided that looking older is always better. My friends and family constantly reassure me that when I’m older I’ll be thankful for my youthful looks. I respectfully disagree.

Think of all the advantages that come with looking old. First off, people take you more seriously. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone shopping on my own and received no help from salespeople who assume that I have no money and am completely wasting their time. But as soon as my mother joins me, they are endlessly helpful. Not to mention dates. If my boyfriend and I go to a restaurant for dinner, we are never taken seriously. We’re just young teens, there’s no way we will be giving a sizeable tip; we probably can’t even afford the meal we’re ordering. How do they know? For all they know, I could be a young billionaire. I’m not, but they don’t know that.

If you look older, you can get away with much more too. For example, drinking. Where I’m from, the drinking age is 19 so I’ve been legal for about a year now and yet I only receive distrustful looks and doubtful glances when I order a drink with dinner. The other night as my friends and I had some drinks at a bar, I was not carded for the first time ever. I was thrilled. I didn’t have to waste my energy taking out my ID and proving my age and identity, I simply ordered and that was that.

In contrast to this, when I attended a concert with a friend a few weeks ago, I was carded multiple times for the same drink! I understand the need to card someone initially but was it really necessary for multiple security guards to come up to me throughout the night and demand to see some ID? It kind of killed the mood as I tried to rock out to the band (okay, I’ll be honest, it was Carly Rae Jepsen). I must look extremely young for guards to seek me out even after I’ve already proved my age.

Now I somewhat understand the argument that looking younger when you’re older is good, say 40 or 50. But I also think there are some advantages to looking older even then. Hello, senior citizen discount! Movies can be so expensive these days, but not if you’re over the age of 65! Plus there’s the whole advantage of early bird dinners. Who doesn’t want a cheap, mellow meal at 5pm? I know I do.

Plus, if you look old enough, you can guilt people into doing basic things for you. As I carry my groceries in from the car, if I look 70 rather than 50, maybe a kind young man will come help me haul them into my house. There’s no need to break a sweat when you look older than you are.

Unfortunately, I will never have the luck of looking older than I am. I will forever be stuck being treated like a child, having to carry my own groceries even once I am old and decrepit, and I will probably never be able to order a drink without being carded. That is the burden I sadly have to bear.

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