I have silver in my hair and eyebrows. I am also only 5 feet, four inches tall. When I go to work, I wear either jeans or khakis, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap. Therefore, you can neither see my wrinkles or old person hair. When I am “all nellied out,” a phrase that makes me laugh because it comes from Nelly Olsen in Little House on the Prairie (code for lesbians and gay men dressed to the nines), I look every bit of my age. When I am “all dyked out,” I look barely above 15-year-old boy. I am sure that I will look older once I get my chef pants tailored and buy a coat to protect my arms (burned myself pretty bad last night and hope chicks dig scars), but maybe not, because I still have to cover my hair… and in a baseball cap, I look like I am wearing the universal uniform of “my daddy’s a lawyer,” or “yuppie douchebag brotard.”
I also really like getting mistaken for a boy, but not because I want to actually be one. It’s just hilarious watching people get flustered and be all like, “I’m so sorry, ma’am.” They’re bothered way more than I am, and I enjoy it immensely. There’s just this moment of OVER apologizing while I laugh internally.
As I have said before, I just enjoy boys’ clothes because the shoulders fit and I can still look crispy, while even a men’s small is too big…. thus, why I have to get my chef pants tailored because they fit in the waist and the cuffs go over my shoes into the tripping zone. It also wouldn’t hurt to get my shirts, Dockers,™ and blazer dry cleaned. When I am not working, I am all about the sharp. It also helps when I’m not wearing a hat and my hair and jewelry are all cute.
But this status update on Facebook slayed me. As you know by now, I work in a brewpub, where we brew our own beer on site and serve it with food:
When the van pulled up, the automatic door opened and the driver immediately said, “how old are you?” I said, “40.” “Good,” she replied. “I just didn’t want to get in trouble for taking a minor to a brewery.” I didn’t want to laugh at her, so I was absolutely shaking internally with laughter, the kind where no sound comes out but I am absolutely coming unglued.
It’s kind of cool that I haven’t been a minor for 20 years and I still get mistaken for one on a regular basis. I was in a liquor store a few months ago, and even though I was only buying spicy ginger ale, I still got carded because the cashier thought I was too young to be in the store.
I feel like I should have a t-shirt that says “Older Than Advertised.” There’s a reason I don’t dye my hair anymore. I am looking forward to a little more grey coming in. It’s a shame people can’t see inside me, because they’d instantly know how old I am by the way my spine corkscrews and the inflammation of 40-year-old arthritis.
Or, as I told my mother when I handed her an eyebrow hair, “your daughter’s first grey one. You can put that in the baby book somewhere.” She laughed and told me that she went grey much earlier than me and to just relax. It didn’t mean I was old.
Unsurprisingly, it was not comforting in the slightest.
It is now, though, because sometimes being mistaken for younger than I am is great, and sometimes it’s annoying.
Mileage may vary.