Author Topic: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?  (Read 17656 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Eisa

  • Thread Killer Extraordinaire
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1711
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? ???
"And neither the angels in heaven above, nor the demons down under the sea can ever dissever my soul from the soul of the beautiful Annabel Lee"
Idaho

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5474
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2011, 01:07:58 AM »
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.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

MsMarjorie

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1464
  • The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2011, 01:25:39 AM »
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.

JoieGirl7

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7375
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2011, 01:27:10 AM »
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!"


Eisa

  • Thread Killer Extraordinaire
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1711
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2011, 02:35:41 PM »
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?
"And neither the angels in heaven above, nor the demons down under the sea can ever dissever my soul from the soul of the beautiful Annabel Lee"
Idaho

NotTheNarcissist

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 779
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2011, 11:10:16 AM »
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.

This.

Stormtreader

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1850
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2011, 11:30:14 AM »
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?

Since youre saying you think your appearence may be causing you some issues in being taken seriously, have you considered maybe a makeover or a personal shopper session etc to try and help you look older? Id never suggest anyone should change their look when theyre happy with it, but if you want to look older you may be amazed what a different makeup/hair/clothing style can do.

earthgirl

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 183
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2011, 12:21:25 PM »
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?

I understand being annoyed at this.  I was mistaken for 12-13 up until I was in my late twenties.  It drove me absolutely up the wall. And I don't think people realized how insulting it was to hear that they thought I was one of the students I was supposed to be teaching (despite my professional dress and makeup). 
When it ended, though, I realized how much I missed it.  It seemed like overnight, people went from thinking I belonged in middle school to calling me ma'am. 
Every once in a while someone will tell me I look like I belong in high school.  Five years ago, it would have irritated me to no end.  Now it makes me break out in an enormous smile.   

Ginya

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 164
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2011, 04:15:25 PM »
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?

I understand being annoyed at this.  I was mistaken for 12-13 up until I was in my late twenties.  It drove me absolutely up the wall. And I don't think people realized how insulting it was to hear that they thought I was one of the students I was supposed to be teaching (despite my professional dress and makeup). 
When it ended, though, I realized how much I missed it.  It seemed like overnight, people went from thinking I belonged in middle school to calling me ma'am. 
Every once in a while someone will tell me I look like I belong in high school.  Five years ago, it would have irritated me to no end.  Now it makes me break out in an enormous smile.   

Hm I'm in the same boat with the OP, but it really depends on your disposition on how you handle the transition. I am usually thought to be younger but sometimes not :) and when I'm called Ma'am it just makes my day, I love it. I'm never mistaken for being older but when someone addresses me in such a way it makes me happy. I still get grumpy when people mistake me for being younger and I doubt that will change in the next 10-20 years. Maybe one day though I will be happy for the confusion  :)

Daffydilly

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2357
  • Live;) Laugh;( Pretend you're sane :-}
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2011, 06:33:35 PM »
I've been in the same boat for years. People say "Oh that's great, you'll love it when you're older.". Thank you for the thought, but it really grates over the years. In high school, middle schoolers hit on me; when I was in my early twenties, high schoolers hit on me. Now I'm thirty-one. And I had a baby last year. No one mistakes me for a high schooler now.  But they still think I'm in my early twenties. I can live with that.

Having someone recognize me for my real age and treat me with the respect that tends to be given is really nice. But normally, I'm treated with a bit of the patronization that younger adults and teens are treated with. If someone asks how old I am, they will treat me a bit differently than when they thought I was younger.

My mother was treated the same way when she was younger. So she understands how it feels and would correct people when they made an age judgement. I think it's such a different type of life that most people don't understand how frustrating it it.

Ginya

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 164
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2011, 11:34:27 PM »
I've been in the same boat for years. People say "Oh that's great, you'll love it when you're older.". Thank you for the thought, but it really grates over the years.'............'Having someone recognize me for my real age and treat me with the respect that tends to be given is really nice. But normally, I'm treated with a bit of the patronization that younger adults and teens are treated with. If someone asks how old I am, they will treat me a bit differently than when they thought I was younger.

My mother was treated the same way when she was younger. So she understands how it feels and would correct people when they made an age judgement. I think it's such a different type of life that most people don't understand how frustrating it it.

I think most of us who have this problem feel exactly this way and have similar experiences. Its just not something someone who hasn't had to deal with it their entire lives can understand or that it's an insult, not a complement.

Eisa

  • Thread Killer Extraordinaire
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1711
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2011, 04:58:49 AM »
I'm so glad I'm not the only one bothered by this. :D Even when I do "dress up"/dress my age, I only look about 18, if that. If I try too hard, I look like I'm trying to dress up in my mum's clothes or something. :-[

To some extent, I don't mind looking younger. I really don't. But I hate the way you're treated if you look younger. I do not appreciate being treated like I'm 15. I'm 23 years old and have a college degree, thanks. People mistake me for a freshman in college, sometimes a freshman in high school [-wince-]. I have no doubt that if I told strangers I'd just graduated a few months ago, they would assume from high school. It gets old. The platitude doesn't help. Great, wonderful, lovely. I'm glad I'll appreciate it later. I don't now. People are patronizing. It isn't a compliment.

What's even creepier is when old men hit on me and check me out and I look 14. :-\ There was a man in the library several months ago sitting in the children's section who gave me an extremely blatant up-and-down with his eyes. My outfit that day, according to my mother, made me look 15. Hello, probable creeper.

Teenage boys check me out, too. I swear, I am SO tempted to pat them on the head and tell them I'm too old for them sometimes. And that besides, I prefer older men. :P
"And neither the angels in heaven above, nor the demons down under the sea can ever dissever my soul from the soul of the beautiful Annabel Lee"
Idaho

Jess13

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 524
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2011, 09:55:36 AM »
I've been in the same boat for years. People say "Oh that's great, you'll love it when you're older.". Thank you for the thought, but it really grates over the years.'............'Having someone recognize me for my real age and treat me with the respect that tends to be given is really nice. But normally, I'm treated with a bit of the patronization that younger adults and teens are treated with. If someone asks how old I am, they will treat me a bit differently than when they thought I was younger.

My mother was treated the same way when she was younger. So she understands how it feels and would correct people when they made an age judgement. I think it's such a different type of life that most people don't understand how frustrating it it.

I think most of us who have this problem feel exactly this way and have similar experiences. Its just not something someone who hasn't had to deal with it their entire lives can understand or that it's an insult, not a complement.

This sums my life up quite well too! People are shocked when I mention having an 11 year old son, they blink rapidly as they do the math from my assumed by them age and his. They usually play it off nicely like "Oh you don't look old enough to have an 11 year old" and I've had people seriously disbelieve me when I say that I'm in my early 30s. And I have some grey hairs now too!
 

Viscountess

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 720
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2011, 10:12:51 PM »
Quote
People mistake me for a freshman in college.

Oh this happens to me a lot.  I'm 22 but I look like I'm 18 (on a good day).  The other day when I was walking across my college campus to pick up my book order, freshman orientation was going on.  One of the orientation leaders thought I was a fleeing freshman and tried to direct me back to the group...
"If you don't like something, then change it.  If you can't change it, then change your attitude towards it."

Eisa

  • Thread Killer Extraordinaire
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1711
Re: Should I have said something? WAS this an interesting assumption?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2011, 10:30:04 PM »
Quote
People mistake me for a freshman in college.

Oh this happens to me a lot.  I'm 22 but I look like I'm 18 (on a good day).  The other day when I was walking across my college campus to pick up my book order, freshman orientation was going on.  One of the orientation leaders thought I was a fleeing freshman and tried to direct me back to the group...

ROFL. That happened to me 2 years ago, I believe. I was a senior [it took me an extra year to finish], and freshmen registration was going on. Everyone was separated by college into groups and stuff. I was leaving the computer lab and this woman stopped me and tried to talk to me about going and finding my group or something. I was like...huh? I'm not a freshman. :P
"And neither the angels in heaven above, nor the demons down under the sea can ever dissever my soul from the soul of the beautiful Annabel Lee"
Idaho