Thanks to the African juices/genetics (thanks, Daddy and Ma), I have somewhat youthful features. When I was a teenager, I looked younger. When I was in my mid-20s, a woman at a hair salon once asked me if I was excited about Homecoming. Her shock when I explained that I was 26 years old–and not 15, like the girls getting their hair done–was memorable. Even in this later-third decade of life, when I meet new people, I frequently get a prolonged, quizzical stare before the onlooker leans forward and asks, “how old are you?” At a dance party last year, my dance partner asked me if I’d ever heard the song playing on the loudspeaker. It was “Motownphilly” by Boyz 2 Men. I replied that of course I knew it and that I grew up listening to it. I couldn’t help but laugh at his reaction. All that said, a lady gets used to questions like this, at the raised eyebrows of surprise, at the declarations that they would have never guessed my age. By the way, any woman who claims to find these questions/comments to be a nuisance and complains about them is trying to pull a bit of wool over your eyes, dear reader. Sure, there’s a difference between questioning age and questioning maturity (an entirely different animal), but who doesn’t like a bit of surprise when you explain that you’re older than you look? Come on.
Anywho, keeping all of that in mind, imagine my reaction when someone guessed my actual age. About a year ago, while in Alabama to visit the bestie, a bunch of us were chatting.
Lady: Do you mind if I ask how old you are?
Me (with muted pride and a mischievous, tiny smile in expectation of the impending guess): How old do you think I am?
Lady: I’d say…36?
Me (muted pride and mischievous, tiny smile vanish): You’re right.
The sheer audacity of that woman, I later raged to my bestie, who was laughing so hard and hysterically that tears brimmed in her eyes. How dare she accurately guess how old I am? I was well aware of how foolish I sounded, y’all. But that didn’t stop me from waving my arms in the air and pontificating on how she was certainly in the minority, that several people believed me to be younger than I looked. Later, after I finally came out of my age-related fugue, I joined my best friend in loud, raucous laughter. “Welcome to the real world,” she pronounced. “Indeed,” I replied.
When I was 14 years old, I couldn’t wait to be 16. When I was 23 years old, I couldn’t wait to be 25. When 30 came and many of my (mostly toxic) views about myself, my beauty, my worth, my body, and other things changed for the better, I embraced this wondrous start to a new, epiphany-laden decade. For me, I can honestly say that aging has always been about exciting transitions, new realizations and understandings, growing further into adulthood…
But it’s nice when you don’t look like you’re aging. *wink*
Happy Friday, everyone. Because I adore you and because my 15 year-old self danced to this song in my bedroom, here you go.