I don’t know how many other women around my age would agree with me or not, but no it’s not a compliment when someone says the following to me:
“Wow, you look great for your age.”
“You’re how old?! You don’t look it at all.”
“I want to look like you when I’m that old.”
There are many other f@%ed up versions of this offensive statement.
I know that on the surface, the said individual who makes such a statement to me, or any other woman around my age, thinks that they’ve paid a great compliment. But, come on! Grow a brain! Telling me any version of “I look great for my age” just doesn’t feel good, like at all. If anything, it makes me feel like that bruised fruit they sell for a reduced price at the market. It’s still good, it’s just a bit past its peak.
It’s not that I have an issue with my age, okay, maybe a little, obviously. I’ll admit that I’ve drank some of that awful Kool-Aid that exists in the US regarding age. But, for me it’s more about the sudden realization that holy crap I’m forty-something and comments that allude to being perceived as an oldie just don’t sit well.
Sometimes when I’m told such things and it does happen more often than I’d like, I feel like stopping the entire conversation, staring down the fool and saying, “What do you mean by someone my age? What does someone my age supposed to look like? Is it bizarre to think that forty-something year old people can look great? Is forty-something old?”
So far I’ve refrained from letting anyone have it but one of these days…
I’ve realized that in this society that’s brimming with Millennials and Gen Z’s, that I am now considered way old. Yes, old, me.
For example, the other day I was walking with one of my favorite Millennial students during a work related event and in the middle of our conversation she says to me, “I can’t wait until I’m old and not have to care about anything!”
WTF? I nearly stopped in my tracks but I didn’t. Somehow I kept my composure, barely.
My student’s response was to something I had said during our conversation and honestly I can’t even remember what the heck we were talking about…