Children's Menus, IDs and Pithy Sayings

Once when I was 20 working part time and going to community college on campus about 4 blocks from where I worked, I was stopped for curfew violation coming home at 10:30. When I showed him my ID, the police officer who was still in his car say, “Wow, I thought you were 10.”

Since then ten has been the lower estimate of what age strangers think I am. A rare few go as high as 18 and most around 14. In fact I’m 26 and a 5’0" tall man. One half of my family is full of tall people. the other half has shorter people, but no one other than my grandma is shorter than me (and she thinks she’s shrunk quite a bit as she got older). I always joke that my short genes must have completely skipped my mom’s side.

For a while I had gone without getting a children’s menu, but recently when going out to eat with a lot of family members in town, my aunt who was standing next to me was asked if I needed a children’s menu. I should have kept the children’s menu and asked where the beer selections were on it.

Which brings me to the next thing, carding. Guess what, I’m not going to wait to take out my ID until you ask. My family, especially my dad, finds it funny that I preemptively have it ready whenever I am ordering alcohol. I know what you are going to ask and I’m just waitiing to look closely at your reaction when I order.

Inevitably after a dose of misaging (a word I am making up for the phenomenom) in the company of family or friends, I will hear, almost word for word the following:

“You know, when you get older (or when you are 40,50, whatever) you will love looking as young as you do now.”

A more creative response I once got at a bar was, If she looked as young as I did, She’d be messing with everyone and having tons of fun.

It seems many people truly do think existence is skin deep. If I look 20 when I’m 40, it doesn’t mean I’m actually 20. Hello! It means I’m 40 and I look 20. A new secretary at Microsoft during its early years once called to her boss telling him that a sixteen year old kid just entered Bill Gates office, and what was going on.

That kid WAS Bill Gates, only he wasn’t 16.

Which brings up the third response to looking young. I’m a college student studying some pretty advanced math, and obviously I’m on campus, but I look 14. Inevitably, this brings up a Doogie Howser reaction in people. Or more generally a child prodigy reaction. “Oh, your taking Partial Differential Equations, what are you, 6th grade, 7th grade? Haha, blah blah Doogie Howser blah blah.”

At work, the same thing happened. My eventual best friend told me later that he had thought I was a high school student working there on some sort of internship (it was a government contractor position). A number of other people have thought similar things.

The most difficult thing about being 5’0" and looking 14, is it making dating or meeting women on those sort of terms, nearly impossible. First, because they won’t even imagine you that way even if they notice you. Second, because being short as a man is a huge disadvantage for dating. My record in this area, is very close to nonexistent. One woman who I talked to for a while via email and met through EHarmony, said when she got my picture that I looked like her younger cousin. And then without explicitly doing so, gradually broke contact (eventually she said she had to do volunteer work at the zoo and hang out with friends the next day, so we couldn’t meet up on the weekend. I gave up after that)

Appearance is the doorway to finding out more about a person, and I flunk that test. But appearing young does let you find out how much more it matters in many areas that you might expect.

You MUST realize that this requires photographic proof.

MindWanderer that sucks. I had the opposite problem, I always looked older than I was. The good part about that was back in the day liquor store clerks didn’t necessarily ask for ID if they thought you looked old enough. Therefore at the tender ages of 15 and 16 I was the beer runner for my buds. On the flip side, as I’ve gotten older, I look older than I really am. I’m 50 but get assumed to be late 50’s to around 60. Sometimes I get senior citizens discounts without even showing proof of age. I just get em. That would bother me except that I’m a cheap bastid so gimme the discount if you want.

Oh, and what elfbabe said. CITE! :smiley:

Now imagine that in addition to all of that, you went bald before 30 and had a voice that caused everyone to call you “Maam” on the phone.

Welcome to my world.

This is a reply to the OP, not Swampbear.


Here ya go. Don’t have many recent pictures, this is one I took of myself for eharmony back when I still used it.

Luckily I don’t think I’ll grow bald before 30, I’ll be 27 in august and my hair is fine. I have been called Maam on the phone though. Not often but sometimes.

On the rare occasions that a caller asks to speak to my mommy, I tell them that she doesn’t live here, but if I can’t help them then perhaps they’d like to speak to my husband? It’s fun to listen to the backpedaling, and then politely tell them that perhaps they would have more luck asking for the person with whom they wish to speak, instead of making foolish assumptions.

Mr. S would heartily concur on the short thing with regards to dating, though he towers over the OP at 5’6" and couldn’t grow a decent beard until he was about 32. We were watching That Thing You Do! once, and in the scene where the groupie girl was trying to hit on Tom Everett Scott, and then Steve Zahn tried to horn in and was summarily ignored, Mr. S pointed out that it was because he was short (actually the same height as the girl). That went totally over my head (if you would pardon the expression). It seems that most women want a tall man. But I like being face to face with my guy. In fact, I’m an inch taller and have proportionally longer arms and legs, which means that I always get things off the tall shelf and always win games of keep-away. :smiley:

I know a tiny Chinese woman who is a physician. She is always dressed in professional clothes, yet is frequently mistaken for a child. What is up with people?



You (I’m so, so sorry to say this again) do look 14.

It’s not your stature (which I can’t see in the photo), but the “baby fat” around your jaw and the porportion of your head to your shoulders. The head:body ratio is most people’s biggest (unconcious) clue to age, and yours is indeed close to that of an adolescent boy. It’s been shown that people will respond to sillouettes of larger head:bady ratios with more sympathy and willingness to offer physical comfort, regardless of the stated age of the individual. It’s hard-wired in, and means that kids with a low head:body ratio are often neglected or abused, and adults with a larger one are often “helped” more than they might like.

Did you achieve full bone growth? Was there a growth hormone problem? To my uneducated eye, it looks like something more complicated than simple shortness.

Nah. I think it was because he was a jackass. A sweet jackass, but a jackass nonetheless. That girl had been at the club for weeks watching TES, and Zahn tries a last minute Bait ‘n’ Switch. Not cool or attractive. I think your husband was projecting a bit. :stuck_out_tongue:

Sometimes it’s a handy excuse to act pissed at the caller and tell them that “if they can’t even get my gender right, then they’re not getting my business, thank you very much!” But usually, I just say, “This IS Mr. Hypno-Toad” and tell them it’s OK.

There’s actually more truth to Scarlett67’s short hubby story than most folks realize. If a normal-sized guy does something dangerous, he’s considered brave. If a short guy does it, people assume he’s just compensating for his “Shortcoming.” Behavior that is considered “Aggressive” in a tall person is considered “Obnoxious” in a short guy. Yet another cross for us.

BUT. Scarlett is correct in that there are many short ladies who want a guy they are eye-to-eye with. I know some woman who are quite pleased that I am 5’5" so that they don’t feel intimidated and can match my height.

I was born something like 4 weeks premature and in neonatal for a while. I’m also blind from birth in my right eye, and still have a mark from a huge (for an infant) catheter they put in my neck.

I remember once being at the doctor’s office and he just they thought I was in a low percentile for height. I was somewhat normal in height until about 5th grade. But this was a small town doctor, never really asked any other doctors about it. But I haven’t really had any health problems since, other than poor vision in the one eye I do have (I would have coke bottle glasses now except they can make them thinner).

There’s a couple of other weird things about me too, :stuck_out_tongue:

  1. My tongue’s kinda messed up, sorta attached more than normal. Its hard to describe, but I can’t blow bubble gum bubbles.
  2. My legs don’t really “lock”. When my dad took me with him to weightlifting one time when I was younger, he tried to get them to lock but they don’t, same with my arms.

I don’t think it’s complicated at all. It’s his haircut.

MindWanderer, just take some clippers to that mess and get a crew cut. You’ll look older.

That’s the route I took (not because I looked young, but because my hair really did suck). For guys like us, the idea of going bald isn’t that bad, since our hair looked like hell when we did have it.

caution: if you do try this and decide you don’t like it, you’ll look like a chia pet at some point while the hair grows out.

Not uncommon. It’s called ankyloglossia or “tongue-tied.” Often the doctor will perform a simple snip of the membrane under the tongue, but only if it interferes with feeding or speech development. I know of no reason why it can’t be done on an adult, but if it’s not bothering you, I wouldn’t bother it.

Are the joints very flexible? Are you “double-jointed”? It could be something called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, one version of which causes hypermobility and no “locking” of the joints. Many contortionists have EDS. It’s pretty cool (read: oogey) looking in extreme cases, and can cause people to be more accident prone and suseptible to dislocations. OTOH, sprains are virtually unheard of, so there’s a tradeoff! A less common form of EDS includes weakened valves and arteries, so it’s probably worth getting a diagnosis to learn what to watch out for.

Sorry if I sound overly clinical. I find all our body oddities fascinating! (Watching my premie daughter develop from a fetus to an infant was the coolest thing ever, when it wasn’t the scariest thing ever! She still doesn’t have a proper belly button, which I think is just a hoot; no navel piercing for my little princess ever!)

Well, Mind-Wanderer, you certainly have my sympathy. I would get the treatment you describe when I really was 14, and it drove me nuts, nevermind that it was appropriate at the time.

However, allow me to make a few suggestions to combat this. Perhaps you should consider a few style changes that will manipulate the subconcious cues mentioned above that people use to judge age in men.

Starting with the larger head to body ratio, consider getting a hairstyle that minimises the perceived width / diameter of your head, like a brush cut or crew cut. Secondly, how about increasing the perceived size of your jaw with either a beard or a goatee, if you can grow them in thickly enough. Thirdly, you might consider some footwear that has a bit of a heel, like an ankle boot, or a square toed cowboy boot. Fourthly, whenever acceptable, consider wearing clothing that accentuates the width of the shoulders, like sport jackets, suit jackets, or sleveless western-style leather vests; leather can also give you a bit more of a “grown-up” appearance. You may also consider dressing one level more formal than the occasion calls for, which will confer a bit more authority to your image.

Having some slight autistic tendancies myself, I’ve had to learn to consider such subconcious cues more analytically, which is the basis for my advice. My personal “sense of style”, I am told, is hopelessly conservative and out of date, and should not be relied upon, so I suggest you run the above ideas by family members you trust, and seem to have a good understanding of style. Note: they will likely be female. Then, consult a good hairstyle salon, and a sales person at a higher end mens-wear store, and state your objectives plainly, for example: seeking to emphasize mature male charateristics while keeping a more classic / timeless style, rather than a very trendy / fashionable one, which is harder to carry off imh(& not so expert)o.

Good luck.

Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. The hair is NOT helping you! Fix the hair, STAT! Get the advice and help of a decent stylist if at all possible. If you’re capable of growing any sort of facial hair, do it! Even if it’s just a bit of slightly rugged-looking stubble, go for it. I also think the style of your glasses is contributing, but I can’t say I really know what style would be better.

Thanks for posting that. I tried to say something similar, but I couldn’t find a way of wording it that didn’t seem harsh. But I’ll post two points I wanted to make:
Do not use that photo. It’s obiviously a mug shot just for eHarmony. Try to have your friends take photos of you doing normal activities. You’re bound to find one that looks better. If your friends are also in the photo, all the better. Oh, and don’t have a computer monitor visible in the background.

Get rid of that shirt. Burn it so that it never comes back. Get rid of any other shirts you have like that.

Ok. I’ll shut up now.

I don’t have that shirt anymore, and my hair is a lot shorter. I have no idea how my facial hair would grow out, pretty sure my family would heckle me about that, but may be a good idea. I’ve also changed glasses since then.

The Ankylglossia comment is interesting. I knew it was something like that.

Actually, sprains can be common in people with connective tissue disorders. The bones and joints are not held in place correctly and can do things that the joint was not meant to do and cannot do without snapping some ligaments.

Another vote for cutting hair and changing style.