Sunday, September 14, 2008

I am not fifteen, dammit

Something has been happening that I'm not entirely comfortable with, and that is people mistaking me for being younger than I am. I don't mean ballparking, like twenty-ish... I mean younger. Mind you, I don't think I look that young. I've never been carded ordering a drink, so I assume that the general population agrees with me. However, whenever I'm with my little cousin, people seem to think I look about fifteen, which really irks me.

The first time this occurred was a couple of months ago. My mom was in the States, so my aunt and uncle invited me for Summerlicious with my little cousin. They had also invited some of their friends from church, and one couple had brought along their three daughters. Now, as it turns out, I knew one of these daughters, who happened to be my own age; and she had two sisters, one about 20 and the other 15 (my cousin's age). Apparently, the three of them had drawn a conclusion that I looked like one of their youngest sister's friends... and in fact, looked about 15 myself. They all came to consensus on this issue, which of course leads me to the conclusion that they're all completely nutty.

The second time occurred today, hence my current blog-ranting frenzy. We had just finished Sunday service, and we were waiting for my brother (who was visiting from Montreal) to finish schmoozing with his old friends. My little cousin locked eyes with one of his friends, went to talk to him, and then brought him over to meet me. After a quick name exchange, he asked if my cousin and I were the same age. I asked him, "Do you think we look the same age?" He took a split second glance from side-to-side and said, "Maybe." My eyes widened. "Really?! You think I look fifteen?" ("Sixteen," my cousin corrected.) "Whatever, sixteen?!" "Well how old are you?" he asked. "Twenty-two." "Oh, I'm twenty-one." (Great, so he's younger than me too...)

So why? Why is this happening to me? One explanation obviously, is that my cousin just looks old despite his age. Put beside him (sick as this prospect is to me), we look about the same (this has indeed happened sometimes between my brother and I, where people thought I was older than him despite being five and a half years younger than him; I finally understand his abhorrence). Indeed, my cousin tells me that many people have mistaken him for being my age (22) or older (25+). True as this may be, however, it's completely poppycock. My cousin does not look like a twenty year old. He looks like a proper teenager. Sure he's huge (as tall as me, and quite a bit wider), but he still has young features matching his age (such as a round face) and wears characteristically teenage baggy clothing. Honestly, people, size is not everything (Stop what you're thinking right there, pervert!).

An alternative explanation is that this has, in fact, nothing to do with my cousin but everything to do with what I was wearing when I received the comments. As a matter of fact, both times I was wearing casual dress shirts that I had bought on the same occasion near the beginning of undergrad. Since my overall wardrobe has changed over the years (hopefully for the better), maybe I would look my age if I got around to chucking out all the clothes that I wore in high school, but still fit properly. Maybe. Just maybe.

Lastly, one final explanation is that... well, Asians age better than other ethnicities (this is certainly true of hair loss, as my siblings have lots of Caucasian friends who are already slightly balding at age ~30). My sister firmly believes that most people can't tell the difference between Asians aged between 15 and 30 because they don't change that much. Of course, this is partially her own justification for her own bad experiences (one time in residency, a patient expressed discomfort at being operated on by her because she looked like she was "just out of high school").

In the end, all three of these explanations may contribute to my unusual ability to be perceived as youthful. But for goodness sake people, I don't look like I'm fifteen. >_>


terence said...

some pp thought i'm in gr10... but don't fret my friend, when we're in our 30s, we'll have incredible advantage over pp at certain places...

a_ndy said...

Haha, so true

sandlot said...

If you look 15, does this mean I'm dating an Asian Justin Bieber?