Etiquette School is in session! > "What an interesting assumption."

Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?

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Short background: I am frequently mistaken for much younger than I am. I'm 23 and a recent college graduate. Most people think that I'm a teenager or barely starting college. When I was 20, I was actually mistaken for 12. :-\ I'm sure that at some point, I will start appreciating this youthful quality, but it hasn't happened much yet! :P

My mother and I have a tradition of going to the library on Saturdays. Last Saturday, we were running late, so I only had time to run in, drop my books off, and renew a couple. I was wearing a skirt and mostly matching top--so I looked fairly nice-ish, but wasn't trying to dress up or anything.

There was a lady about to leave when I got out of the car. She told me that the library was about to close, and I answered that yes, I know, thank you...I'm just dropping off my books. So I went in and did what I needed to do. No problem, right?

When I come back outside, the lady is just getting in her car from where she had apparently been talking to my mother. ??? I was a little confused, but thought that perhaps my mother knew her. Her window was down and she called out to me and asked if I liked to read. I said, yes, I love to read. She then proceeded to tell me that she was...doing something, can't remember what, but it involved helping people "in my age group" to read classics. She asked me if I'd read a couple...and I hadn't. Well, I read the last one--Little Men--but not too sure on the other ones. I hoped that she was simply talking about young adults. :P

Well, I got in the car and my mom told me this. When I went into the library, the lady got out of her car and went over to talk to my mom. She said that I was dressed very nicely and was obviously a very well-mannered teenager and that my mother must have raised me right. :o My mom didn't correct her. Should she have?

I thought it was kind of ironic to begin with, as my mother has no influence on what I wear and actually wanted me NOT to read so much when I was a child. And my mother is toxic [actively emotionally abusive and neglectful], so it's also amusing that she 'raised me right,' when much of how am I today is despite her, not because of her.

But anyway. Should I have said something? Or should my mom have? Was it an interesting assumption to think I was a teenager and/or to say what she said? ???

Mental Magpie:
I don't think it was so much an interesting assumption as that it was simply a mistake of observation.  A gentle correction would have been perfect.  "That's flattering, but I'm actually 23.  Is there any way I could still help?"  Of course, only offer to help if you really wanted to do so.

When I was 21, I was mistaken for a 14 year old (the lady told me when I showed her my ID.  Apparently self respecting adult females do not have mohawks, only irresponsible rebelling teenagers do.

I wouldn't have bothered correcting her or telling her anything, she is a stranger who you are probably never going to see again.

Nod politely, smile and wave.

Well, obviously it wasn't the woman who was the ruder one here.  She made an interesting assumption but she was trying to be nice and helpful.  I don't see that we can ding her for that.
But, your mom not correcting her?  Ouch!
Your mom was rude to you.  Your mom should have said something.  After all this is a common problem for you so its like this was the first time.
But, since, as you say that your mom is toxic, it seems that the intent of not correcting the woman was that the woman complimented her parenting which she then used to throw into your face.

In that situation if I heard:
"She said that you were dressed very nicely and were obviously a very well-mannered teenager and that I must have raised you right."
my brain would scream:
"Wow!  Three strikes and she's OUT!"

Y'know, Audrey, I think that's what is bugging me the most about it. She only said "your age group" to me--so she could have meant young adult, I mean...I don't think many young adults read classic books, either. ;) But she did say "teenager" specifically to my mom, and my mom didn't say one word about it. >:( And I get the whole it's a stranger, never going to see her again, but I was in the library at least 5 minutes, and it seems to me that that's a long enough conversation to politely correct someone that your daughter is a little bit older than you're thinking she is...

But it does seem rather that she just wanted to throw that in my face now, like Ha! Someone thinks I'm a good parent! Lovely... ::)

Now that I think about it, she almost never corrects other people on my age. She just tells me that I'll appreciate it one day. And I'm sure that at some point, I will, but I'd rather not be mistaken for a high-schooler. It creates a lot of impressions about me that I don't like--hard for people to look at me as a responsible adult when they're thinking I look 15, y'know?


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