I was more excited about spotting a strand of grey hair in the mirror than someone my age could be. I tousled my bangs with my fingers as I tried to center the singular hair so people at work would think twice before making an alienating comment about my age, an occurrence more common than you’d think. The other day I was cast aside with a “you’re too young” snide because I expressed my love for Ought in a conversation. There are several reasons why this argument falls flat: 1. My favorite band is Steely Dan 2. One of the reasons I was hired was to keep these guys in tune with the taste of my generation–you know, the main target group. 3. Only people who are “too young” are allowed to listen to an album that came out from this year?
I didn’t realize how much this bothered me until I was stuck in the elevator of the Trump Building, listening to Morrissey’s “Little Man, What Now?”, and somewhere in the midst of a forthcoming panic attack (propelled by what I read in the paper about the 37 year old who got crushed in a Williamsburg elevator a month ago) escaped a snigger. “Too old to be the child star/ Too young to take leads”–if this were the last line I would ever listen to, it was eerily accurate. I counted back from ten and by the time I reached four, the elevator started working again.
I wondered if I was just feeling persecuted or whether I was truly being punished for being born in the year 1995. So I did a little study of my own and realized it has nothing to do with me, and a lot to do with the “seniors”. I did the honors and compiled a list of people who consciously (and sometimes subconsciously) put girls down because of their age, and why:
The 38 Year Old Self-Proclaimed Comedian Who Performs Bits About The Stupidity Of The 21 Year Olds He Meets On Tinder During Open Mic Wednesdays
He jokes about how a girl he went out with hadn’t heard of Kurt Vonnegut. He doesn’t realize people read Vonnegut in their teens, and not their early 20s, so he places the blame on the age of the girl and not her–don’t be offended, this is only because the girls who did read Cat’s Cradle when they were fifteen know better than to go out with nearing-forty comedians who pay to perform. At a dive. In Chinatown.
The Almost-Famous Type, Approximately 2-3 Years Older Than You, Working Her Second Job
These are the worst. She most likely claims herself to be “a young gun”, “supports” all-ages venues, but posts demeaning subtweets about nineteen year olds with black Xs marked on their hands, wherein she refers to them as “tweens”. Chances are, she was cast aside due to age, and wants to remind the kids in middle school she’s a high schooler. She’s probably threatened, too. This again, has nothing to do with you.
The Girl In Her Late 20s, Who Patronizes You Because You Have Not “Reached The Age Where You Truly Don’t Give A Fuck”
Yes, she just moved in with her boyfriend whom she met on OkCupid, and that makes her feel like her life is more serious than yours. She doesn’t realize referring to him as her “man” because he bears a striking resemblance to Frank Zappa isn’t the surest sign of maturity. She is typically inclined to make a lot of comments about how homogeneous society has become, ignoring completely that she bears responsibility for it, too. Here’s the thing: turning 29 doesn’t mean you suddenly just “don’t give a fuck”, even if “the media isn’t targeting you anymore”. Cut her some slack, she’s dealing with growing older, too.
The Business Acquaintance Who Keeps Calling You A “Youngin'”
These guys most likely don’t mean to be patronizing, and they’re probably unaware of your disdain towards Lord of the Flies. They generally don’t mean to make you sound like you’re under-qualified–they are just habituated to talking about how old they’re getting and in all honesty, you probably remind them of their youth. If and when they play the “If I was your father” card, know that they mean well.
The Guy At The Bar Who Tells You To Enjoy The Attention Because “Thirty Starts To Breathe Down Your Neck The Moment You Turn Twenty”
“Date all you want now, the woman loses value in the marketplace as soon as she turns thirty”. You know this guy didn’t get any in high school. Or college. And now, he’s pooling his decade long loathing for the opposite sex so you inadvertently try to seek his approval. He probably owns several copies of “The Game” and they’re probably hiding behind “The Idiot’s Guide to Kafka”. He brings up his income several times in the conversation, because, come on, he’s overcompensating for other things he cannot offer. Like, I don’t know, decency.
The Older Man Who Tries To Play Roger Sterling To You
This guy who just happens to be older than your father, tries to offer you a worn world perspective. He will tell you that you seem like the kind of girl who dates older men, because people your age don’t have their shit together. He will try to get you to doubt yourself until you feel insecure enough to go home with him. Don’t let him convince you that the Sister Christian song plays in place of “Jessie’s Girl” in Boogie Nights. He is wrong. And creepy. And you should find another seat at whatever establishment you’re at.
The Older Woman At Your Job, Who Isn’t Exactly Your Boss, But Tries To Boss You Around Anyway
When this woman was your age, it was a luxury to work in a roomful of men and be treated as an equal. She worked for it. To her, you got away with it too easy. She also most likely has a son, so she doesn’t see you as someone to mentor. I’m sorry, you’re going to have to sort through her European hotel and bar receipts until you don’t. She’s a tough one.
As my boss says, “the good thing about people bringing up your age, is that they won’t for much longer”.