Old Enough To...




Raise your hand if you’re a grown up.

I am serious. If you feel like you’re a grown up, put your hand in the air. Ok, now when did you start feeling like that? Was it when you got engaged? Married? After the birth of your first child? What made you feel like a grown up and can you please tell me how I can feel like one too?

Growing up is taking a toll on my brain. Never mind the fact that I can barely function like a normal human (whatever that is), trying to figure out to behave while constantly adjusting that for the age that I am is becoming more and more difficult.

I always hear people talking about how they feel older than they are. And sometimes I get close to feeling that way. Really close… and then I have a night like I did this past Saturday where I eat 7 Entemann’s Chocolate Frosted Mini Donuts, and 3 Full sized crumb donuts. And I realize once again… I am not yet a man.

In the mental evolution spectrum I think I have JUST figured out how to act like a semi -confident 21 year-old. And that is great. But the catch is, of course, that this is coming about 5 years too late.

Plus I have absolutely no idea how old anybody else is.

I remember the first time I noticed this. I was at camp when I was 11, back when I looked like this:


Unfortunate I know.

Anyway. We went to beautiful Mount Airy Lodge in Pennsylvania for an overnight trip and had a dance party in their “club” with another camp that was there. For the first time in my life I actually walked across the dance floor to ask another 11 year old to dance. And do you know what she said?

She said, “You know I’m the counselor right? I’m 17.”

Pssha, of course.

Long awkward pause.

So um… you don’t want to dance?”

And that was the beginning of me pretending to know what the hell I was talking about when interacting with females. The trend has continued to this day.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 40, chances are I don’t know your age. If you are a woman that spectrum included all those between 16 and 45. I constantly wonder the ages of the people I talk to. I am shocked to find out people I think might be younger than me are in their late 30s with 2 kids. Or somebody who might be a great career mentor for me is really struggling with their sophomore year.

Of high school.

I think it’s genetic. When I was little and my dad would tell us a story about a kid in a store or something and I asked him how old the kid was my dad would say, “Oh you know, 7,8,9,10.”

I mean that’s a 40 percent fluctuation in possible age!

How old was she?
Oh you know, late 20s, early 40s.

Everybody looks the same age to me. Which makes me wonder, how old do I look?

I know I have a baby face, and I shave as infrequently as possible. I do this for several reasons. The main reason being that I am lazy. (This informs most of the decisions in my life) The second reason is that I don’t like scraping blades on myself, but also because I think having a few days scruff makes me look a little older.

When I am cleanly shaven like here I can’t even buy expired grape juice never mind a glass of wine.


Perhaps the intense stare is to confuse people into making them think I am older?

I’m sure I will get to a certain age where I will shave everyday to maintain my youthful exuberance. But how old do I look? At the bar I work at people regularly ask me if I am still in school.

But on the flip side, I have been noticing a strange trend recently. People have been calling me sir. Like, more than one person. Multiple people calling me sir, and one person called me mister.

MISTER!

Like I was buying a newspaper from him on the corner for a nickel.

Does this idiot look like a mister to you?

 

What do you mean what am I doing? I'm changing my socks obviously.

ANYWAY... 

When I didn’t know a woman’s name I used to say, “Excuse me ma’am” until I kept getting yelled at. On more than one occasion I heard;

Do I look old to you?

At which point I froze because I know this is a trick question, and saying yes will probably get me slapped. The only logical response is to immediately fake your own death.

Or even worse they say something like, “How old do you think I am?”

At which point I say, “Old enough to vote?”

I really have no idea how old people are. I bartend, and have for 5 years. I might get into trouble on this but I never check I.D.s. Now I’m probably going to have busloads of 8th graders coming into the bar next week but I just take it for granted that anybody who orders a drink is of age.

I just don’t want to offend somebody when I ask to see their I.D. I have been to bars where sometimes I get carded and sometimes I don’t, by the same bouncer. I mean it’s not like I’m walking in there with a balloon and a box of animal crackers in my hand. I look pretty much the same most days. At least I think so.

I think going forward my best bet is to avoid all discussions about age. And I think I will stick to my regular regimen of not shaving.

And when it comes to the dance floor, as long as I avoid accidentally asking the campers to dance… I think I should be fine.