How can I look older?

This is going to be a bit long so I apologize up front.

I had an upsetting experience today. I was stopped in the street by a woman who claimed she was with social services who told me that my child’s doctor had sent her out to speak with me after an appointment because my child was not dressed properly for the weather. I explained to her that it was 77 degrees today and 88% humidity and that my child was not too cold. Furthermore she was just at the doctor and seen by one M.D., three nurses, and half a dozen receptionists and security people and not one of them had a single complaint about her outfit. I took her name and her office location and called 311 and they advised that there was no such office at that location. They also said that if she were with social services she would know they don’t call it that any longer (now it is known as ACS) and that if she didn’t show an ID then she was lying about being with the government. I also called the doctor’s office and they had no idea what this lady was talking about and felt my child was dressed appropriately.

Normally I would let something like this go but the lying about being with social services and accusing me of child abuse/neglect was too much for me today. I called my only friend that actually has a baby and asked her how often this happens to her and she said it has never happened to her in the 2 years since her son was born. I was shocked about that because this happens to me at least once a week, whether it is about how she is dressed, the position her head is in while she is in her stroller, feeding her formula instead of breast milk, etc. We talked about it for a bit and she mentioned to me that I look really young and she thinks that may be what is causing people to stop me to foist advice on me for no damned reason. She asked me how old I was and when I told her I was 30 her response was, “Wow, I thought you were 25.” She said that depending on what I’m wearing I look anywhere from 17-22 and the only reason she guessed my age being as high as 25 was because we worked together in a professional capacity for several years so she assumed I had to be older than I looked. Here are a couple of pictures taken in the last year to give you some idea of what she means.

This crazy advice from strangers needs to stop. I’m tired of nodding and giving a terse “thanks” to people who feel the need to tell me this stuff and I am even more exhausted by the insane people who feel the need to try and force their opinions into my life through lying and coercion. It isn’t just baby related either, though that is the bulk of it. When my husband and I are out at the movies or whatever we occasionally get comments from people who feel like I’m too young to date a man that old (he started balding prematurely so he looks much older than 31 and I look much younger than 30 so we sort of look like a 19 year old married to a 40 year old out in public.) I’ve had people tell me that what I’m reading isn’t appropriate for someone my age. When I was pregnant I had people stop me on two separate occasions and ask me if I was old enough to have a baby. I’ve had bouncers and bartenders quiz me on my personal information because they think my ID is fake.

Short of getting a shirt that says, “I’m 30 goddamned years old and you can keep your stupid advice to yourself, asshole” I don’t know what to do. Is there a special “old lady” haircut or makeup style that ages people? Is there a specific style of dress I should be aiming for? Do I need to have fake wrinkles tattooed on my face or something? How can I physically give the impression of being a responsible adult so people leave me the hell alone?

This is strictly supposition on my part but I’m going to go out on a limb and say people are doing this because of the way you carry yourself, NOT the way you are dressed. (Assuming you don’t dress showing off a lot of skin. That might be it)

If I were you, I’d analyze that: Don’t slouch, speak confidently with the appropriate volume, etc…

Also, keep in mind: you are not obligated to be overly nice to people ALL THE TIME. If some one is giving you unsolicited advice you feel is inappropriate, tell them so, your an adult woman capable of doing “this” on your own thankyouverymuch!

Hope that helps. Good luck.

Cut your hair into a soccer mom cut. They’ll be busting out the 'ma’am in no time flat.

Do you still have long hair? I associate long hair with youth. Don’t know if it’s worth cutting it, though. Silly people and their opinions shouldn’t drive you to cut her your hair.

Get addicted to meth?

Some older women do that to lots of people and there is nothing you can do to avoid it. I have had it happen to me as well. As far as I can tell, it is just a hobby of some subset of them.

If you really want to look older for other reasons, meth is your friend. If you don’t want to invest the time in that hobby, just eat a lot unhealthy food and put as much weight as possible and consider taking up smoking. Youthful looks that last beyond their welcome are an affliction that must be dealt with swiftly or you will be stuck with them for a long time.

“How exactly is my private business any of YOUR business?” Said oh-so-sweetly.

How bizarre.

If you really are of Irish descent, you could always start sunbathing. Many lack an enzyme that helps the skin to heal from sun damage, and so you will start to wrinkle and sag quickly. Yay? Of course, you will also need to start saving up for the inevitable skin cancer removal surgeries, but the scars will also help to make you look older. Also, start smoking- that does a real number on the skin, as well.

If it were me, I’d probably just practice saying, “Please mind your own business!” in a loud and authoritative manner.

I believe that part of this is that I am generally pretty chipper but I hadn’t considered posture or other things like that. Thanks!

My hair is shorter now, just above my shoulders, but I don’t really do anything to it. It just kind of hangs out on my head, being hair. I suppose styling might help but I’ve never been one for putting in the time on my hair. It might be time to start though.

Since when is 25 “really young” for having an infant anyway? It’s not like you’re Teen Mom. I would say a 25-year-old (or even a 22-year-old) is just as qualified to know if her kid is cold as a 30-year-old.

I don’t think you look young fwiw but maybe it’s the pics.

Actually, I think weight makes people look younger. It plumps up the skin and stretches it out, hiding the wrinkles.

I used to live in Montreal and parents there seemed to average around 23-29 years old. Definitely still in their 20’s. I now live in another city and it’s like every new parent here is in their 40s. In my mind anyway, way too old to be having their first kid. You’re even pushing it in your 30s, frankly. I’d say 25 is just about right.

Reasons I’ve been told I look younger than I am (23):

  • How I’m dressed: if I’m wearing those ubiquitous-on-college-campus Nike shorts or some cutesy jeans and a hoodie, it’s partly the clothes and partly that I probably don’t project as much confidence when I’m in them. Same if I were to start, idk, carrying a sparkly pink purse or something.
  • Hair: now that I wear it shorter, it’s less of an issue. I have hair shorter than many of my male colleagues.
  • Effort: on a glasses/no-makeup/wet-hair day I’m also not projecting confidence. Probably cause I overslept or feel sick, but yanno!
  • Posture: do you lean and put most of your weight on one leg? Fidget with your hair, hands, bag? Not hold eye contact very much?
  • Voice: my voice is high and can be comically so at times (to make a point or it just happens and I don’t notice). Do you have a girlish voice?

I say screw those people “helping.” Sorry it happens so often!

If I recall correctly, you live in NYC? People giving you their two bits on child-rearing and oohing and ahhing is just a fact of life.

The rare fun part is you never know who’s offering up their ‘wisdom’. One time my wife and I were in Duane Reade with our twin daughters in a stroller and I heard this woman with a really heavy deep voice from too many cigarettes go “oh my god! They’re so adorable!” And I’m like oh my god we have to get out of here. Turns out it was Patricia Neal.

The not so fun part is since we’re on the upper east side and my wife is black and our girls are very light-skinned a lot of people assume she is the nanny. That hurts every time.

I hesitate to say it, but this is the easy part. This time next year people will be glaring at you like ‘why the hell can’t you control your child’ every time he commits whatever transgression pisses them off.

And I say don’t change your youthful good looks for them. No matter what you do some crap-head will always break through.

It might be your hairstyle - people with their hair parted in the middle and just hanging do tend to look like younger girls to me. I think cutting bangs into your hair might help you look older.

I also agree with telling people politely to mind their own damned business. One of my go-to phrases is, “Duly noted.” It usually gets people off my back without me making any promises or endorsing whatever it is they think I should do. :slight_smile:

This is a great idea!

With all these people approaching you, ugh, it sounds very annoying. I’ve never found strangers approaching me on the street have anything all that *interesting *to say in the first place.

And if what they are saying is actually new and interesting, it’s always because they are crazy and sharing their crazy with me. And, yeah, someone who pretends they are social services, and gives a fake name and office, is a crazy busy-body in my book.

Perhaps, it because your child is too cute. People don’t approach ugly babies.
I suggest body makeup for the adorable little one.

You, however, based upon your pics look completely old enough and competent enough to handle a child. I like your idea of the tee-shirt.

What a weird problem! I wish people would leave well enough alone myself. Harrumph.

I’ve been told I’m too young to have a child, but I’ve never had strangers routinely accosting me to give me parenting advice. Once a week? That’s utterly bizarre.

Don’t tolerate them. Bite their heads off so they think twice about interfering with others in future. “If you knew enough about me to offer child rearing advice, you’d know I was old enough and able enough to raise my child without strangers sticking their noses in. Your criticism masquerading as advice is unwelcome and I’ll thank you to keep your opinions to yourself. If I feel I need help raising my child I’ll speak to a doctor, friend or family member, not some busybody on the street.”

You don’t need to look older. You don’t need to tell them your age. If you were 15 years old and the mother of that child it would still not be any of their business. I think they’ll rethink their initial assessment of you if you stand up to them eloquently, intelligently and confidently, but it is ultimately not their place to stop you in the street and criticize your parenting.

Don’t change the way you look. Tell strangers who offer advice to get lost. Call the cops next time someone claims to be from social services. If someone won’t leave you alone start screaming “This woman is trying to steal my baby”.