Being polite... at any age?

I don't get it.

Okay. Here's what I get: I GET that I look young. I GET that "one day you'll be happy about it".
What I don't understand is why people feel that it is socially acceptable to point out how young a person looks.

Example from this morning at a garage sale:
Me: I’m just looking for an end table for my new place.
Homeowner: Really? Aren’t you a bit young to move out on your own?
M: I’m actually in college.
H: Oh! Are you getting excited about heading off to the dorms and meeting new people? Where are you going to be?
M: I’m a junior at OU… I just have my own duplex now…
H: Wow! You just look so young! Kids these days.

Gee, thank you. Thank you very much.

And then another favorite: I went to the doctors office back in April. The receptionist asks me- “Now, are you 16 yet?”
Um… I was 4 years ago. Does that count? A simple, “Can I see your license? I need the number for insurance,” would have sufficed. Again, I appreciate the thought.

So here’s my thing. Because, like I said, I know I look young. I know plenty of people do… but you would never walk up to a 40 year old after you found out their age and say, "Oh man. I thought you were at least 55!" You would be considered horribly rude! You would never tell an older person that they looked ancient- that would be distasteful. You wouldn't have to lie- just keep your mouth shut as to not offend.

So who makes it okay to tell people how young they look, before they are at an age where that might even remotely be considered a good thing? No 20-something wants to be told they look as though they could be in high school.
It makes me angry that people can get away with those things under the guise of, “Trust me, you’ll appreciate that when you’re older.”
Under that pretense, it would be completely okay for me to tell some old lady just how OLD she looked as long as I followed it up with, “You would have appreciated that when you were younger.”
Hi. Not okay.

I’m asking that you ALL show some respect- be it to someone older or younger, or even your same age. If you make a mistake when judging their age, don’t make a big deal out of it- especially if you hadn’t previously said what age you thought they were. If they tell you that they ares 23, keep the words “Dang, I guessed you were 17..max…” in your head. Don’t tell someone how much older/younger they look, unless you are absolutely POSITIVE that it would be taken as a compliment. I don’t care how old you are, learn to have a bit of tact.

That’s all. ☺

1 comment:

Jaimie Krycho said...

Dear Janelle,


My breakdown happened in October: http://jaimiedawn.blogspot.com/2009/10/what-makes-you-think-its-ok-to-say-that.html

I say we young-looking people rise up and take over the world.