Monday, August 22, 2011

Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number

You’ve all heard this one before: “Black don’t crack.” But, I submit for you a new catchphrase: “Brown don’t frown.” ™© (You best pay me if you steal this one.) It’s a well-known fact that melanin protects skin from the sun’s harmful rays, resulting in reduced risk of skin cancer as well as natural wrinkle protection. What it leads to is an inability for other people to identify how old you are.

All my life, people have been unable to guess my age. When I was in high school, I resembled a 12-year-old. In my early 20s, I looked 18. Now, at 25, I’m confused for a 21 year-old. Since I finally look like I’m legal, I guess I should be flattered. Pretty soon (ok, a half-decade from now), I’ll be the most convincing 30 year-old pretending to be 25.

Despite my typical ethnic girl hang-ups with melanin, I am incredibly grateful to be blessed with skin that doesn’t sunburn or crinkle. Ninety-five percent of the time. I see how gracefully the women in my family have aged and I hope to follow suit.

But, there’s a little bitty part of me that wishes I could appear my age once in a while. Say, in the workplace. This summer, I interned at a PR agency, where I know I passed for one of the undergrad interns. It would have been nice if my same-age mentor would have regarded me as such. I know that it’s shallow and ageist, but older people are regarding with more authority at work, and their responsibilities are doled out accordingly.

The other area age shouldn’t be twisty: romantic encounters. Get your mind out of the gutter, not that kind. I just mean, when I first meet a guy – out on the town – I don’t like to be greeted with, “Twenty-five? Oh, I thought you were younger.” Complimentary sometimes, but not when you leave the interaction feeling like an old bitch. One day I will be thrilled to attract younger men, but right now, I'm not trying to get with a I-just-graduated-live-with-my-parents-have-no-income kind of guy.

I suppose I’ll just have to wait til I’m fabulous 40 to accept my god-given anti-aging serum.

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