nobody likes you when you’re 23, and still act like you’re in freshman year

Places I’ve recently had my age questioned:

-While attempting to order frozen yogurt at the bar at a Marathon Grill at 4 p.m. on a Sunday, when all the tables were full

-While attempting to register for wedding gifts

-While attempting to see a rated R movie

Once provoked, the consensus among the skeptical gatekeepers intent on depriving me of my vanilla cone/toasting flutes/movie I didn’t wanted to see in the first place, is that I look 19.

I really thought I was fine with this, had even started to find it flattering, but last week’s encounter at the movie theater by Dave’s parents’ house kind of did me in, especially when I discovered you only have to be 17, not 18 as I had originally thought, to see a rated R movie. Do you know why I thought you had to be 18? Because that’s how long it’s been since I actually had to care about this shit. I mean, picture the days when you had to buy tickets for the PG movie and then sneak into the other theater, felt your hands tremble when the security guard started his long stroll down the aisle, and, in a moment of desperation, were forced to ask the couple in front of you to pose as your parents?

Now picture what you looked like back then. That, my friends, is apparently how I still look.

Admittedly, my complexion isn’t much better than my middle school days. And I’m not the maturest 20-something you’ll ever meet. But I like to think I carry myself with some sort of an air of worldliness, of experience, of I’ve-been-able-to-legally-down-that-shot-of-tequila-for-half-a-decade-ness.

Also, let’s just be frank: I have a substantial rack.

Still, this was the response after I proudly handed over my license:

“Huh,” the checker said, apparently puzzled. “Connecticut.”

Yes, I’d say that’s the most remarkable thing about that little piece of plastic too. Not, maybe, that you just accused a 26-year-old of being 16.

It didn’t make matters better that David was not asked for identification.

It did make matters better when my college-aged sister-in-law to be regaled me with tales of how she still gets asked for parental permission before being allowed to taste samples at Costco.

The next day, as I proudly strolled through the store, double-fisting black-bean empanadas and Maine lobster dip, I felt a strange sense of pride. Had I violated some sort of rule by going back for seconds on the cheesecake? Probably, but it was one that involved my dignity, not my age.


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