May 20, 2014

Let’s Stop Asking People How Old They Are

At least every other week in many different situations and circumstances:

Person: Hello!
Me: Hellloooooo brand new person!
Person: How are you?
Me: Great thank you. Good to meet you for the first time.
Person: You too.
(slight pause)
So, how old are you then?

And sometimes it’s the other way around. But I’ve noticed recently that we’re all become really casual with asking how old people are upon first meetings – which is fine – I don’t actually mind or have a weird defence against my age; I just find it a bit odd. Like, who cares?

There’s a real nosiness slash competitiveness around what someones achieved versus how old they are. We do it all the time with celebrities (OMG J-LAW IS 23 WTF) but we also do it daily, IRL, in the office, at the weekends, when meeting someone new but call me old-fashioned: I don’t really get why it’s so important. 

I am an awful judge of character (I trust people too easily which can result in my secrets being splashed across public networks); I have no Gaydar (I’ve been known to flirt with gaymen for ages thinking I’m ‘in there’ whilst my friends observe with confused faces); and I have no concept of age (I’ve had drinks with 40 year olds and being like “what are we like, US TWENTY SOMETHINGS!). It’s like doing the “is that your sister?” thing when it’s someone’s Mum but ALL THE TIME and being serious. Flattering to the other person yes of course, but also a bit strange that I never really know how old someone is. But that’s OK.

Us 20-year-olds seem a little bit obsessed with the age game. Let’s not worry so much about the age/achievement formula and just be happy with where we are and where we’re going. (And I’m talking to myself here).

I’ve actually written about age before so if you fancy a deeper delve, here they are: 1) Liz Jones making Madonna feel bad about her age (that annoyed me) 2) Ageism in the workplace.


Emma (Age Undisclosed) 

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