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Aging gracefully

July 17, 2005

I know that the benefit of looking a lot younger than I am will catch up with me when I hit forty or so, seeing as when my dad was forty two, he was once mistaken for my boyfriend. My mom constantly has people telling her that she doesn’t look old enough to have a daughter my sister’s age, and they are shocked when she responds with, “Well I’ve got one three years older than her.” And my grandpa consistently dates women that are younger than my mom. So to all of them, thank you for great genes, I’ll learn to appreciate them as I age.

BUT FOR NOW…I’m still young enough that it’s been irritating. Unlike most people, I am actually flattered NOT to get carded, since it means that someone actually believes that I look legal (I won’t even use “my age” there because I know I don’t look my age at all). At 18, as I shopped for dorm stuff for college, the cashier turned to my younger sister and asked her what her major was. My ex, who was a mere five years older than me, but looked much older, always got skeevy looks when we’d go out in public. I’m sure people thought that I was barely legal and he was a dirty old man. My favorite incident to date was in January, coming back from a snowboarding weekend in Canada, Julia and I just had to see my Patriots win their final playoff game and make it to the Superbowl, so we talked the guy that was driving into skipping a morning run, leaving early, and hauling ass back to the states. We ended up at Hooters, and as we ordered wings and beer, I, of course, got carded. The waitress looks at it, and looks at me and says, “oh my god honey, I’m sorry!” Like it was a big deal that she was carding a 25 year old. As she walked away, I said, “gee, I’m not old enough to get apologized to for it yet!” That’s the first time in my life that someone made me feel old.

Today while at Nordstrom, finally spending the gift card I got in March (clearly it wasn’t burning a hole in my dresser drawer), I was standing at the counter paying for my stuff, and this guy approaches me and asks if I run track. Thinking that was way too lame to be a pick up line of any sort, I responded casually, telling him that no, not since high school. He asks which school I went to, and I said, “I actually grew up in Arizona, and besides, that was years ago. Thank you for making my day though, in letting me feel like I still look to be in good enough shape to be a track runner.” He looked taken aback at my response, and finally says, “How old are you?” and I said, “26.” He laughed and said, “wow, you look like you’re twen–” and I cut him off, “19 at best, right?” and he laughed and said, “yeah, I was thinking more like 17.” For the first time, I wasn’t offended that someone just took nine years off my age. I guess this must mean I’m getting older, and to the point that comments like that are flattering.

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