How old do I really look?

At the time of writing this, I’m 23, but not everyone seems to agree with me on that.

19 – Yesterday evening I was out walking the dog and a man stopped me to compliment my waistcoat and ask where I got it from. He said he wanted them to come back into fashion and I agreed with him, at which point he said “And why not, you’re only 19, 20?”

18 – I went to the dentist yesterday and she asked me “Did you have to have the afternoon off school to come here?” … school! Not even college! I wouldn’t mind but we’ve been seeing the same dentist for most of my life and I left school 7 years ago. Even if we include sixth form, that’s still 5 years ago. Still, I just played along with it and said “Oh yeah. I’ve got lots of homework too.”

16 – We had a client a few weeks ago who asked how old I was. When I told her, she laughed and said she thought I was only about 16.

15 – Believe it or not I was actually asked for ID in Computer Exchange a few months back when trying to buy a 15 rated film.

I have found there are a number of pros and cons to looking young. The main negative is that people don’t give you the same respect that they’d give an adult. We had a client at work recently who actually refused to work with me because I look so young. Mak was on a call, so I had to do the consultation, but the man wouldn’t answer any questions or tell me anything about his company. Eventually he asked where my boss was and asked if he could do the meeting with him instead. He said “No offence,” which always means that offence is going to follow, “But you’re just a kid and I thought it’d be someone with experience.”

However, the pros far outweigh the cons. The main benefit of people thinking you’re younger than you are is that kids often get to go free in places. Buses used to be free for under 5 year olds, but I never paid for the bus until I was about 8. Whenever we went anywhere that had a similar rule, mother would often pretend I was a bit younger than I was. Little me often got confused by this and when I was once asked how old I was, I turned to my mother and asked “How old am I today mum?” She had to tell the woman it was my birthday and I didn’t understand when my age changed.

Because I was born at the end of August, I was always one of the youngest in my class at school, so pretty much all my friends are older than me. Mak, my colleague, is about 10 years older than me, so when people see me with him, it obviously makes them think I’m much younger.

Now, I am aware that when I’m a lot older I’ll be grateful for my youthful looks, but at the moment it’s a bit annoying. It’s strange how young people want to look older and then when they do get older they want to look younger.