Thursday, February 10, 2011

Of Legal Age

I have a hard time doing things by myself. That is not to say I don't know how to do things and thus it is difficult for me to do them, but that I know how to do things but when I try to do them my progress is impeded in one way or another. More often than not, due to age restrictions. As you are well aware, I am old enough to go to the strip club and buy booze. So says my I.D. Yet whenever I am performing a task that requires you to be of legal age, I face difficulty.

For many women, this sort of thing would be flattering. A blessing even. For the most part I don't so much mind it. From time to time it even supplies great entertainment. It also however carries with it a stigma. That I'm some wily minor trying to circumvent the law, and I don't like being treated like a con.

For example, in 2009 I bruised my shoulder socket. To make sure that it wasn't broken or dislocated, the doctor ordered an x-ray. I was there by myself. I had no issue turning in the paperwork to see the doctor to the clerk at the front desk, and the jolliness of the doctor I assumed was just his kindly good nature. As it happens, he was being nice because he thought I was a kid. Later he would ask me if I needed an excuse to get out of gym. He must have thought the age on my chart was either a mistake or a lie.

When the nurse came to escort me to radiology she gave pause and asked me if my mother was in the waiting room. Incidentally, since she had been the one to drive me to the medical center, she was. The nurse then explains that they'll need her consent to give me an x-ray. I interject that I can consent for myself because I'm an adult and she gives me a sort of confused look, followed by a glance down at my chart. Embarrassed, she apologizes several times. I of course relieve her by saying she has no need to apologize, and have a laugh.

That was last year. Just the other day while Aaron and I were at the grocery store, we decided to buy a bottle of Sweet Vermouth. Aaron, on the phone, excused himself from the check-out line while I went ahead and wrapped up the transaction. As I'm standing there the woman behind the register rings up the Vermouth and asks me if my mom is in the store elsewhere. Momentarily, I am perplexed. Then I realize what's happening  and reply, "No."

In disbelief the woman states very assuredly, "Honey you're not a day over fifteen! I'm going to need to see some I.D." As if I were trying to pull wool over her eyes. I remove my I.D. and hand it to her. It takes her a few seconds to find my birth date, since my I.D. is still out-of-state. Once she's found it she exclaims in disbelief, "NUH-UH! No way!"

By this point the middle-aged man in line behind me is curious and inquires, "What? Is she 17?"

The cashier, with now-wide eyes replies, "No. You wouldn't believe it!" and confirms the transaction. She apologizes too, but I just laugh it off and tell her I'm used to it.

Another time, while at dinner with my grandfather in Illinois, I was forbidden from buying a drink at Chili's. Due to my appearance and out-of-state I.D., they thought I was underage and that my identification  may be fake. With the right to refuse service to anyone, there was no argument I could make on my own behalf to convince them otherwise. In order to get a drink, I had to remain at the table while my grandfather went to the bar for me. A similar event happened to me when I was in Florida, at a Fridays.

It was even worse several years ago, where whenever I would go to clubs the doormen always wanted to put X's on the backs of my hands so that the tender would know not to serve me alcoholic beverages due to being underage. To make aggravate matters, even after proving my age they would try to make me leave the venue with the rest of the minors at midnight.

While many women in their 40's would love to be mistaken as 20, being a woman in your 20's constantly mistaken for a teenager just isn't as beneficial. Mostly it just creates awkward (albeit funny)  moments and holds up lines.


  1. Yeah, I don't think I look very young anymore, but I get carded every time as well. Not as bad as you though! I do know the little sneery laugh of "Hah! can I see your ID?" But, when I look at 17 or 18 yr olds now they look like such little youngsters to me! How can I be mistaken for that? :)

  2. Yeah, it seems weird to me as well, but maybe that's because I'm more familiar with my own face and how old it is? No idea.