geriatrics

Stop Accepting “You Don’t Look Your Age” As a Compliment

It’s nice to hear “You don’t look your age,” but on reflection maybe not. The person offering that observation may have unrealistic expectations about someone’s physical appearance at a certain landmark.

A ten year old most likely believes thirty is ancient.

I don’t mind telling my age, depending on who is doing the asking and if they are on a “need to know” basis.

Others who are insensitive enough to inquire, earn a place on my “idiots and asshole prayer list,” and I give myself permission to respond accordingly.

I am eternally grateful for modern medicine, exercise, and good genes, but what am I supposed to look like at my age?

The advent of Botox and plastic surgery gives women options, adding a dynamic that makes it difficult to tell which digits one’s age reside in.

In the land before time, I remember being insulted when someone asked how I liked taking care of my baby brother when it was my first born, dangling off my bony hip. That’s almost as bad as asking a woman who ate too many potato chips when her baby is due.

I tried to remember when I first heard that comment. Was it in my late forties when my first grandchild was born? I was too thrilled over becoming a grandmother to give any thought about my age. And, I hadn’t yet experienced age discrimination in the workplace, but it would soon find me.

Who gets to decide what we are supposed to look like at any given time?

I say no one.

We have self-appointed gurus in the form of mass media marketers who hawk everything from cosmetics to geriatrics. If we permit them to be the arbiter we will continue to have unrealistic standards that inaccurately portray women in ways that range from unbelievably youthful to doddering beyond belief.

The next time someone says “You don’t look your age,” don’t be too quick to reply “Thank You.”

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