I turned 41 years old this past December, but I don’t look it. In fact, most people assume I’m in my mid to late 20s. Is that a good thing? Of course. In fact, a 2009 study done by the University of Southern Denmark found that looking younger than your age can mean a longer life. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not all fun and roses. In fact, there are some very good reasons why I think looking younger than my age really sucks.
My credibility is in question
Looking 28-years-old in this day and age is not always a plus. Some of the negative stereotypes against today’s 20-somethings include being lazy and selfish. I am neither lazy nor selfish nor 20-something, but when someone assumes I don’t know what a vinyl record is because of my appearance, God knows what else they assumed about me. I personally get a kick out of someone saying to me “Just wait till you hit your 40s!” I’ve been in my 40s for over a year…did I miss something?
I look out of place with my company
If I hang out with people in their late 40s or early 50s, I look like someone’s daughter. I once had a saleswoman ask my ex-boyfriend if I was his daughter and he was only 8 years older than me. The young people think I’m weird hanging with old people and the old people want to know why I’m not with people my own age.
I get hit on by much younger men
While it can be a huge compliment for a middle aged woman, being asked out by guys young enough to be my son is still awkward. I’m not into being a cougar and so when I decline a date, I usually get a speech about how age is no big a deal. Sorry, age is a big deal for me and that’s your problem not mine, so save your speech.
Older men shy away from me
No I’m not a cougar, but I do have a thing for older men. A 41-year-old woman dating a 50-year-old man shouldn’t be a big deal. But when he thinks I’m only 28 and he’s 50 and looks it, he may not even try to hit on me. He assumes my age and then assumes I want to get married and have kids. I’ve been judged before I’ve even been spoken to and again I have to convince people how old I really am. By then, I’m frustrated and my initial interest is gone.
Some women hate me!
In this youth driven culture, looking younger than my age has its definite advantages. And that makes some women in my age range jealous. Most of the time I get complimented by both men and women when they find out how old I really am. But then I’ll get those women who look me up and down, give me this evil stare, then don’t say another word.
Dr Jeffery Jensen Arnett, Are Your Kids More Lazy, Spoiled and Childish Than Past Generations?, AARP online, May 9, 2011
US News and World Report, Looking Younger Than Your Age May Mean Longer Life, December 14, 2009
Personal experience with looking younger and convincing people my real age