Here’s a story: When we were down in London recently, Dave and I were buying drink, and the lady in the supermarket said to him ‘It’s you who’s paying isn’t it, because she’s not old enough’! I was all outraged to the point where I forgot my age: I went ‘I’m 28!’ when I’m actually 29! I scuttled off and stood at the side, and she kept talking to Dave going ‘She does look really young! I have a 25 year old daughter so I know’. Then she started telling Dave how he looked really old though, so she was ok to sell him the alcohol. Which he didn’t really appreciate either!
This got me thinking about age, and the relationship our external and internal ages, i.e. how old we look and how old we feel, and our actual ages of course!
On that day in London I was wearing my glasses and no make up, so maybe that was part of it, and there are things about me, like my (lack of) height, the big smile with the chubby cheeks, the open pores, the spots and chicken pox scars that look like even more spots that I guess do make me look young. And the way I dress maybe (see below), though on that day I was actually wearing jeans and a jumper like everyone else. But I fail to see how I look 17, I really do! 24 maybe, 22 at a push! And it’s not as if this is the first time this has happened, I’ve been ID’d 4 or 5 times in the last year. I suppose I should be happy about it, looking young is no bad thing in this ageist society.
Though I see the signs of ageing in my face and on my body and it’s weird to me that they aren’t apparent to everyone. My skin is thinner and dryer, and there are lines around my eyes and on my forehead, and on my hands and feet, ridges on my fingernails, and bags under my eyes, always bags under my eyes, no matter how much I sleep. Though I honestly don’t care, I feel quite neutral about all that. I’m not saying I like it, but it’s part of me, and I like me. Well, the bags do bother me, but the lines are ok. They’re interesting, fun even, to look at. I like changing, on the outside as well as the inside.
Because I don’t feel young any more at all. I’m in the place in my career where I’m settled and I know what I’m doing and I know I’m pretty good at it. And we’re getting married because we think we are finally mature enough to have kids ourselves. I don’t feel old, particularly, but I do feel grown up. So it bothers me that obviously people look at me and see an inexperienced girl.
I suppose I should dress more professionally to appear older. I have actually changed my style quite a bit over the last year, not consciously to look older, but my taste has changed quite naturally. While I still love my bright colours, I’m embracing the business casual look more and wearing colours as ‘pops’ with a neutral base rather than having the whole outfit bright much more often. I’ve basically got rid of the cutesy plastic jewellery stuff I used to be into, and I’ve pretty much stopped wearing trainers except for exercise. And tshirts. I’m even wearing small heels all the time now. Every now and then I’ll still put together an outfit that screams ‘children’s tv presenter’, but if someone thought I was 20 on one of the multicolour days, it wouldn’t even bother me anyway.
In case you’re wondering where this is going, it’s not! For once, this is a completely un-thought-out post. Just stream of consciousness really. Hope you don’t mind.
But it’s an interesting topic, isn’t it. What is your relationship with age? Do you look the age you feel? Do you dress in a particular way to make you look the age you are? Or the age you feel? What do you think of people dressing younger than they are? Do you assume that they want to be younger? What constitutes ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ anyway? Is it about showing more skin or something else?
So many questions! I’d really love to hear what you all think!
The picture by the way is make up free and unedited, so you can see all the various bits on my face showing my age and my supposed youngness, all of which I usually try to hide in photos through strategic lighting and use of the magic spot healing tool in photoshop. But I’m strangely ok about this photo. I actually really like it. This is what I look like!