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The Age-Old Question

, , , , , | Working | November 7, 2017

(I am a 25-year-old married woman, but most of the time I get mistaken for much younger, and by this point it’s extremely irritating for me. Even though people dress casually at my office, I always try to dress a little more professionally, in the hopes that people will take me more seriously as an adult. However, it has been unusually cold this winter, so I’ve been wearing my super-puffy, bright purple winter jacket over my professional clothes, with some interesting results. These conversations happen with two different taxi drivers on two consecutive days.)

Me: *getting into the car* “Good morning. Thanks for coming to pick me up.”

Driver #1: *looking awkward* “Oh, um, before we get going… Are you 18? I can’t drive you if you’re under 18.”

Me: *out loud* “Actually I’m 25.” *thinking to myself* “Okay, I guess he was just trying to follow the rules. I really hope he just apologizes and talks about something else before this gets even more awkward.”

Driver #1: “Wow, sorry.”

Me: *thinking to myself* “Yes, finally a person who doesn’t put their foot in their mouth about my age!”

Driver #1: “It’s just that you look sooooooooo young!”

Me: *thinking to myself* “Really? Come on, guy. It’s not too late to save it!”

Driver #1: “I mean, I really thought you were 16 or something. Recently this Lyft driver got in big trouble for driving two 16-year-olds and getting into an accident, and the insurance wouldn’t pay because they were underage, so I just thought, you know, I should be careful…”

Me: *thinking to myself* “Why did you think telling me this would make things better? You just made me feel really uncomfortable about my age, and about the fact that you are apparently worried we might crash.” *out loud* “Well, we are going for a pretty short drive today, so hopefully everything will be nice and safe!”

(Fortunately we arrive at my destination safely. Then, the next day, with a different driver…)

Driver #2: *making small-talk* “So, I hear that [Town in the mountains] is really nice this time of year.”

Me: “Yeah, definitely! My husband and I are planning to visit there next month with some friends—”

Driver #2: “Wait, you have a husband!? But you’re so young! How old are you?”

Me: *burning with embarrassment* “I’m 25, and I’ve been married for three years.”

Driver #2: “Oh, wow. I definitely assumed you were in high school. I can’t believe it! You’re married! Haha!”

Me: *wondering to myself* “What happened to the rule about not driving anyone under 18?” *out loud* “Well, I guess it’s just best not to make assumptions.”

(While these conversations were kind of funny in retrospect, the bottom line is this: unless your job requires you to make sure customers are of a certain age, please don’t comment on how old they look. It’s just as uncomfortable as being judged for other aspects of your appearance.)

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