I have a rant, and it is too long for a Facebook post, so I have returned to the ancient medium of ages past: blogging.
Here is my problem. I look younger than I am. Though I have reached the ripe old, womb-shrinking age of 30, people constantly peg me between 21-24. I know what you are saying: "That's the kind of problem you want to have!" Indeed, while it is nice that nary a gray hair has emerged from my thickly-covered skull and my eyes remain surrounded by stubbornly active collagen, there are some major drawbacks to being in your thirties and looking early twenties.
1. Older people don't take you seriously. As I have gotten older, I have begun to realize that in my early twenties I was struggling under a misapprehension. See, I thought I was an adult. Living the college life, working a part-time job, participating in social activities. Because of my youthful visage, when people see me they assume I am still in that post-adolescent phase, and I now realize that "real" adults treat that age group differently. While that youthful energy, the still-optimistic and opinionated-without-the-benefit-of-real-world-experience is, I have come to realize, extremely annoying, many adults still treat this age group with indulgent fondness. Whether this stems from nostalgia or a continuation of adult interaction styles with teenagers, when I am treated this way I want to take their Portsmouth Historic Dockyards lanyard and shove it down their throat.
2. Younger people mess with your head. At my (albeit still early) phase of life, it is not particularly acceptable, or important, to ask someone's age. Anyone within a 5 year radius is basically in the same phase as you are, and the number of times the earth has circled the sun since the beginning of your existence doesn't make much of a difference. I can never remember which of my friends are older or younger than me, and I don't much care. However, when you are younger, those years still seem (and likely are) vitally important to an understanding of how a person relates to you and where they are in their maturation process. Looking younger than I am means every time I am forced to interact with someone in that stage, they assume it is appropriate to ask me my age; recently this has happened several times in the first few minutes of conversation, and feels extremely awkward to me. I have never been able to lie in my life, and have to immediately admit my age in an embarrassed undertone. However, it should be clarified that I am not uncomfortable with being 30, and while I may have had the obligatory quick-cry-in-the-shower on my birthday last July about my 20's being over and still being chronically single as my parents put my name in the temple and my womb shrivels and makes friends with my spleen out of loneliness (I refuse to let it get a cat), age pressed on. No, my blush of embarrassment when some 20 year old in a bonnet asks me my age is not because I am ashamed, but because I know what is going to happen next.
3. The Inevitable Shock and Awe. In the past, oh, say, four years, I have NEVER told someone my age without their eyes widening in surprise and the phrase, "It's bigger on the inside!"...I mean, some variation of "No, way! You look so much younger, I never would have guessed!" And I have to respond to that. What are you supposed to say to that? I'm genuinely looking for advise. I have no idea what the properly humble response is. It feels cocky to say, "I know." You might as well say, "I pretty much rock." Anything you can say to that sounds like you are tooting your own horn. "I get that a lot." "When I am 50 I can date Ashton Kutcher!" "I drink lots of water and stay glued to a computer screen so I don't get sunburned." The revelation of my age inevitably leads to social awkwardness and congratulations over how young I look; something I can't control and that isn't my fault.
4. Any compliment is a backhanded insult. I have no doubt that there is no malicious intent in these reactions from people older and younger than me alike (though people older usually assume I am even YOUNGER than I am, assuming an age range of 19-23 while the younger demographic assumes a median of several years closer to the truth). But despite the fact I know they have no intention of insulting me, when they say, "You look younger than you are", aren't they really saying "Wow, you are older than I thought!"? Any remark on my outward appearance is really a remark on my age as being something I should be proud of disguising.
5. It makes meeting men harder. This is how I tie this into LDS dating and make my role as an examiner a useful platform for this rant. I met an awesome guy the other day whom I would assume to be late 30's. As with all men worth dating, I initially assumed he was gay, but he mentioned that he had a son, so I have hopes he is straight. However, assuming he is the kind of guy I would want to date, he would take one look at me and automatically assume I was too young. A guy in his late 30's dating a 23 year old? Creepy, right? So the type of men I am interested in can't take me seriously until I assure them verbally of my age, which causes points 3 and 4 to repeat.
I have more reasons why looking younger than I am is not as great as you would think, but I took a sleeping pill over an hour ago and it's starting to kick in. Just trust me on the rest.