“Hi, how old are you if you don't mind me asking?”
That was the first question that one Indian colleague asked me in my early flying days.
I didn't find this question offensive because he then continued that he knew one of the requirements to work with the company was to be at least 21 years old, and I looked younger than that. I was 24 back then.
I laughed and told him that I suppose I should thank the Asian DNA that prevented me to age too soon. Like we don't age until we hit 50 or something.
I never really thought I actually looked younger than my age, until recently I had to work and interact much with college students and it took them by surprise knowing that I'm 29. Some even joked about me being 29 and looking fine. 😛
Those who were surprised by the fact that I was 29 are also Indonesian, hence I may have to rethink that it's not solely the Asian DNA that makes me look like this. Maybe it's my look, maybe it's the fact that I act rather immature for someone my age. 😛
Some people, especially women, they think it's a privilege to look younger than their age. Well, from my firsthand experience, it definitely has its perks but then again it's not always the case. So on this post, I want to rant about the ups and downs looking young, especially in this part of the world. Hmm.
It turns out, in some places, they actually check your ID when you order some alcohol.
It was a couple of years ago when I traveled to Singapore with my best friend Steffi and after a long walk through Little India, we decided to stop by a pub nearby and order a pint of beer for each. It's nothing fancy because we only ordered San Miguel Light.
First of all, it's San Miguel. And second of all, it's light so there's barely alcohol in the ingredients. I mean, it's there but barely! 😛
But the next thing we knew, the waiter actually asked for our IDs. We were over 25 when it happened.
It never really happened in Indonesia, so we were actually amused by the fact that we got checked.
You tend to attract younger guys too.
I mean, back when I was a sophomore, half joking I told my friends that I wanted to marry a guy who's at least 8 years my senior.
I mean, sure… I hear so many times about how age is just a number, but my Dad is 8 years older than my Mom, so I think that affects me so much that I want to have what they have. Or kind of.
But what really happens is that more often than not, I attract guys who are younger than me. Like, amongst many guys that I have dated, I think I have only been with 2 guys who are actually older than me.
Other than that, they will be either the same age as me or a couple of years younger than me.
It's even harder when you look young in Indonesia, because seniority and prejudice are pretty much common here.
Well, it's my firsthand experience because recently, like I mentioned before, I was participating this Invitation Tournament for Asian Games in which I worked mostly with college students.
Like for example, in Indonesia we tend to call those who are younger than us with nickname like ‘Kakak', or ‘Mbak' for girls and ‘Mas' for guys, to emphasize the seniority. And most of these students couldn't tell that I'm actually older than them.
It is totally fine for me, until I actually had something to say and they thought pretty much like them, I was only a college student with a snobby attitude when the fact is that I actually tried to give an idea based on my previous experience professionally. But no, they tend to look down on me because I look young and inexperienced.
Even your mother sometimes forget how old you actually are.
So recently it was my 29th birthday, but then my Mom thought it was my 28th! Like for real.
It was by the time she realized that it was in fact my 29th birthday that she started talking about how I need to take dating more seriously because for her, just like all regular conservative Moms in Indonesia, it's time for me to get married and breed.
Honestly, I regret the decision to correct her about my age. 🙁
But looking young has its own perks too…
Like, for example when I'm lucky in the family gathering, people won't bother too talk shit about how I need to get married as soon as possible as my biology clock is ticking. They may mistake my face as in early 20s or something. *lol*
And also, living in Asia who actually praise the physical look like no others (you know, you should have fair skin with some particular kgs to actually feel good about yourself!), looking young has its own perks because you see that my skin is pretty much fair but I'm not so skinny, but plus point that I look younger than my age. That's like a plus-plus or something!
Oh, but then again my Mom still thinks looking young is not enough because I still have to get married so that I can have a sense of responsibility for something else than my life. But anyway…. Shall we get over it and praise the fact that I look 21?!