“Can I please see your ID?”
That question can be taken several different ways.
I have always loved to dance and when I was younger than the legal age to be in a bar, I went to bars to dance. Yes I would occasionally drink but I have to say I was relatively responsible. The key was to pass as “old enough” to be get in the bar because once you were in, you we IN. I did have an older friend’s ID I would use to get in the clubs but never tested the theory in purchasing alcohol in a store. A club is usually dark and I could pass as being 21 at 18. A store is bright and too risky plus there could be law involvement and I made it a point to never get into that much trouble! At a club the worse thing they would do is not allow you in and maybe take your ID.
On my 21st birthday I went to my favorite dance club with my parents and best friends handing over my legal ID as I went in to celebrate this big milestone.
Latter, I went into the liquor store and purchased a big bottle of booze for my friend’s party. I walked confidently up to the register and sat my purchase on the counter with my ID ready. “That will be $27 mam.” “Don’t you need to see my ID?!” I asked amazed. “Sure, of course, hand it over…. Um hummmm yep you’re legal.” I was a bit irritated but went on my way. I mean I was dressed up, looking fabulous with enough hairspray that if flame came close to my head there would be a bonfire! It was after all 1991!
Throughout my 20’s I was often asked for my ID and I was of course flattered. Sometimes I would get a bit irritated but for the most part I handed it over thinking I should enjoy it while it lasted.
After I reached 30, while I was no longer into the club scene, I would get alcohol for myself, friends, family or events. I remember the first time I left my ID in the car and was getting quite a few items. When I reached the register the clerk asked me for my ID. I said it was in the car and gave him my birth date. He said he didn’t believe me. I went out to my car and came back. “Wow, you don’t look that old!” “Gee thanks. Can I pay for this and be on my way now?” I was flattered but kind of embarrassed because a. he was loud and b. he looked barely legal himself.
Something else I realized is that once your turn 30, 40 plus you are supposed to look old on your license even if you don’t in person. I find this both fascinating and baffling.
You give them your ID for booze, to view and apartment, drive a car, for a job, whatever it may be. They look at it, look at me. Look at it again. At this point I as, “Is there a problem?” 95% of the time I get, “You don’t look that old.” I understand, it is a compliment. But is it really?
What is “old” and who are we to define what is “old”? Why is it more common with women than men? I have heard “you don’t look that old” to maybe 1 out of 5 men asked that question. I hear it said more often to women. It’s almost a back handed compliment in my humble opinion. Why does being old have to define our looks. I know that I don’t look the same at almost 45 as I did at 20 or 25. Heck I don’t look the same as I did even at 30-35 to me! And it really does make me feel just plain odd when I hear, “Well with black women it’s harder to tell their age than with white women.” Oh so give a back handed compliment and try to throw a race divide card into the mix! Seriously what is Wrong with people?! Like we as women, as humans, don’t have enough to contend with and people try to break people down with age, race, gender – the list is endless yet they keep on and on and on. Like a Barney DVD on loop. Not needed and a form of hell.
I wish, oh how I wish, people would just say, to anyone who looks younger than they are, “You look good (great or fabulous), thanks for letting me verify that for this sale” and move along. See, easy, no weird compliments to the ladies, no comparisons of others, just doing your job and moving along.
Believe me I am grateful that some folks think I don’t “look that old” I truly am.
One of my clients is 75. I had no idea! When she stated her birth date so she could get a “senior discount” I said, “Wow, you certainly don’t look old enough to get that discount!” She thanked me for not saying “you don’t look that old” because she was raised to never talk about a lady’s age in public unless they chose to reveal it themselves. Even then women did not break women down like they do today. We both believe in building each other up, no matter what our age. We believe in building others up, no matter what our gender or color because we are all human.
I am hoping to teach my son this lesson. If we could just get all generations to be a bit more tolerant and to think before they speak, the world will be a better place.
I wish you all a fabulously graceless day and thank you for tolerating another one of my Lady Maos mind moments.
Keep hope Alive!
One thought on “You don’t look that old!”
It was really brought to my attention that I needed to cut my hair; that my hair length was not appropriate for my age. I laughed because the first thought that entered my mind was that I had suddenly switched genders and time traveled back to high school where the principal was measuring the length of my hair with a ruler. A. Is my hair length personally harming anyone? B. I wasn’t aware there was cardinal rule for hair length/Age C. Will you be paying for haircut? D. Will you personally be keeping my neck muscles warm this winter. SMH. I’m often told I do not look nor act “that” old, or that my attire is age appropriate. Please show me in some journal or reference book what 44 is supposed to look and act like, and thank you ever so much for bringing ALL of this to my attention because Lord knows I am not in the least self-aware, or am not already way too hard on myself. I do not purposely try to look or act younger than what I am, I’m just me. Anyone’s age, especially a woman’s should be celebrated. I prefer the word mature over old, and I personally think more mature women are more attractive. Gray hair from the struggles she has endured and surpassed, laugh lines where she has enjoyed the company of others over the years, stretch marks where she has brought life into this world and nurtured and cared for it. Isn’t that something we should honor and celebrate?
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