Perhaps this post will be more of a bitter rant than anything close to educational, but bear with me anyways. (Or not, I’ll never know.) I will start by admitting that I haven’t grown since the 8th grade. I am the same height, weight, and bra size that I was when I was fourteen. I am not absurdly short, in fact I think 5 foot 4 inches is a pretty average height for a woman, but when you add in the fact that my ribcage is roughly the size of Serena Williams’ thigh, well I do look a bit young for the age of twenty-two. I have always been told I look young for my age, but in the past year I have heard the comment so often, usually from total strangers, that I am beginning to think it’s some sick practical joke.
Here are some rough (and absurd) examples of random people who have mistaken me for a fourteen year old girl.
-Last summer, a stewardess on my flight to Hawaii told me I couldn’t sit in the emergency exit seat because you had to be at least fifteen.
-Similarly, this summer, a security guard on the adult-only pool deck on my Bermuda-bound cruise ship told me I couldn’t be on the deck because I had to be at least fifteen.
-Again on the cruise ship, as we boarded they handed out celebratory champagne to the adults and OJ to the kiddies. As I reached for my champagne the attendant looked completely horrified, staring at me as if I should be ashamed of myself. I had to show her my ID.
-I was pet sitting for a new family this week and the 15 yr old daughter asked how old I was. When I told her, her eyes bugged and she said “oh wow, I totally thought you were the same age as me.” I died a little bit.
-When I went to get my wisdom teeth out two weeks ago my oral surgeon, in response to the news that I had just graduated, asked me what colleges I was looking at. I explained I had graduated from college, not high school, and she looked at me in total disbelief.
- On my way into a bar a few months ago I heard a drunken forty-year old woman slur to the bouncer “you better ask that twelve-year-old for her ID, I don’t want this place getting shut down on me.” I didn’t know whether to cuss her out or kudos her for the fact that her mancandy was a good fifteen years younger than her. Can’t hate on the cougars, I aspire to get there eventually..
-Every individual I have ever requested serve me alcohol has asked for my ID, taken it, scanned it, held it under fluorescent lighting, glared at me, done math on their fingers, and asked for a second opinion before asking what I want to drink.
I don’t mind being carded, and I am sure it will happen until I am at least thirty-five. But I do mind being mistaken for a fifteen-year-old, as most fifteen-year-olds are in some sort of painfully awkward period of adolescence that I thought I had outgrown. However, with my vegan diet, I feel like many years of “wait, how old are you?” lay ahead of me. Of course whenever I complain about looking like a twelve-year-old, everyone says “oh but when you’re forty you will be happy to look young.” Well I’m not forty yet dammit, so shut the fuck up already. Too harsh? Sorry.
In an article published in Health magazine Alicia Silverstone said that not only does her vegan diet make her feel younger, it actually makes her look younger than she did before: “It’s weird to be 32 now and feel and look younger… Right after I first made the switch to a plant-based diet, people were literally telling me, ‘What have you done? You’re sparkling.’” She then goes on to use one of my favorite words by stating, “You can hear your needs and desires more clearly. You’re just more juicy—there’s just this lightness that happens.” Mmmm, juicy.
Thanks for the pep talk Alicia, but I still hate looking young. It makes me want to shave my head and get a bunch of tattoos. But, in concurrence with Alicia, I can suggest that if you’re looking to slow the process of aging, or at least feel younger, cutting animal products and processed foods out of your diet will help. Also, slather on sunscreen like it’s crack to keep the wrinkles at bay. In the end, despite my endless bitching, I do suppose I would rather be a juicy twenty-two going on twelve-year-old vegan than a twenty-four going on forty-year old mess, ala Amy Winehouse. Now there is a broad who could use a little more kale in her diet..and a little less tequila.