Why are some people sensitive about their age?

I can understand that some people may not be happy about the prospect of getting older, especially with some of the physical consequences of the aging process, but why are some people sensitive about their actual numerical age when all that matters is how they have aged physically and mentally? And even that doesn’t matter all that much.

What I really don’t understand is the people who lie about their age or joke around trying to convey that they’re much younger than they actually are. I mean, if someone is 50 years old and tries to tell me she’s 39, I’m probably just going to assume that she’s aged horribly and has likely led an unhealthy lifestyle. If anything, it would make more sense for someone who is 39 to lie and say she is 50. Right?

My Gramma always said to lie up. That way you look good for your age. I’ve been telling folks I’m 40 for about 20 years. Unfortunately, I’m 39 now and I really should say I’m 50, that one is a bit harder to swallow. However, I look fabulous for 50 and like a freakin’ train wreck for 20.

I have a friend who I just found out how old she is. She is freakish about it. I can’t fathom why except that for women, the blush fades from the rose much sooner than we expect. As the old saying goes, women get old, men get distinguished.

I’m 61, and could easily lie about my age. My only gray hair is in my goatee, not on the top, and I don’t have many wrinkles. People who don’t know, think I’m in my 40s. Both of my parents were the same way, so I guess it’s all in the genes.

But why would I lie about my age? What would it accomplish? Regardless of how I look, I’m still 61 (which is not a bad age to be).

It’s true. I have one great aunt who’s really paranoid about lying about her age (to look younger). She looks really good for her age, but she lies down…which doesn’t make any sense at all because it just makes her seem like she hasn’t aged as well. I think I’m going to lie up, as looking young for your age seems to run in my family.

Sadly, there is a stigma about age.
Even if you are healthy, look good, and are great at your job, sometimes people are treated differently if they are considered “old” and are passed over for promotions or simply ignored.

Granted, it only takes a call to Human Resources by a manager to find out the truth, but if people think you are more their age (younger) you are treated differently. Claiming to be 39 when you are 56 is stupid, but letting people think they are right when they guess you are 46 is not.

Only people my own age usually know how old I am, but I have noticed that younger people always assume I am younger than I am (I have overheard conversations when they think I am not listening). Why would I correct them? The advantage would be…?

Do I lie? No. Do I go out of my way to say how old I am? No.

To be honest, more often than not I am surprised to find out someone is actually younger than I thought. I have met many 30 year-olds that I thought were in their 40’s or older! Some people really don’t age well - and for those who do, no need to broadcast it.

Where you comin’ from on this, berff. How old are ya?

C’mon, no need to be sensitive about this. :smiley:

People often lie about their age because they know everyone loves to say stuff like:

He’s 37, and he doesn’t own a house?!?! He still lives in an apartment?!?

She’s 41 and she’s not married yet?!? She doesn’t have kids?!? Hope she’s given up on that, at her age.

Ohmigod, he’s 51 and he’s still on the floor – never even made low level management!

The stigma is within ourselves as much as from others - it’s that pervasive in society. Lots of people think “I’m x and I haven’t done y, or I look z” without even needing to be told.

According to a friend, her brother was very sensitive to his age due to the lack of a gf. Now that a prospective gf is around, he’s suddenly a lot less sensitive… so it sounds like the sister was right.

I know my no-woman brother is a lot more worried about his age than the married one.

I am sensitive about growing old, but I do not hide my age. I decided that I should be upfront about my age and get the people that get scared off about it out of the way first. If a women isn’t going to be attracted to me because I’m–OMG! 44!–then I want to know quickly.

[sub]I do shave my beard, though. Having a beard would make me look a LOT creepier, scarier, and older. Remember Sean Connery as the evil weather lord in that Avengers movie where the title sequence was excellent and the rest of the movie wasn’t? That kind of creepy-scary older.[/sub]

I’ve never been sensitive about my age (54, at least for another few weeks), and never felt any need to be coy about it. Interestingly enough, when I was in college a number of my classmates thought I was older than them because I just “seemed older” but as I got older people started thinking I was younger than I really was (at least until the gray started showing up in my beard). This was even more common when I was spending a lot of time in chat rooms over the last year or so; a number of the women seemed particularly amazed that I wasn’t in my 20s or 30s.

I don’t really know why other women are sensitive about their age. Perhaps once I get out of my 30s I’ll understand. If I had to hazard a guess, it seems to be a lasting stigma having to do with being past childbearing years and therefore not worth the trouble; historically men of any age have never been unattractive because of their years (though wealth certainly made them more attractive).

My sister freaked out when she turned 30, then really lost it when she found her first lines. When I turned 30 (and had already noticed the onset of those fine lines), I figured, “Hey, at least they’re laugh lines - if I get frown lines, perhaps I’ll get more upset.” What was really traumatic to me was getting cellulite when I got pregnant. I managed to get through almost 31 years without it, but I got pregnant and it started popping up out of nowhere and now I can’t get it to go away.

That’s me. I’ll be 40…someday! but someday is next year. :eek: And I have an OK job but a junky apartment and an old car. The good part is as I get older I am fulfilling my goal to get old single and childless.

I got really pissed about the Restalyn commercial that’s out. “Why do I use Restalyn? Because he thinks I’m younger that I really am.” God, that’s creepy.

People are worried because they don’t think they’ve accomplished enough. Or because they realize they’re as old as their parents were when their parents started to lose their mental faculties :wink:

Take it from someone who was unemployed for a year. No matter how proud you may be of your age, wisdom, experience, etc., once you’re past 45 or 50 you don’t want prospective employers to know just how old you are until you actually have the job.

Kunilou makes a good point. Other than that, I suppose people just don’t want to acknowledge the negative changes associated with aging - not only the loss of physical stamina/attractiveness, but also the closing down of possibilities. In telling others our true age, we make it possible for the person we are telling, but more importantly ourselves, to confront that reality.

As I started to get, well, old, I made a conscious decision to fight any negative feelings I have about it. So far, it’s working, but so far (a) I’m usually mistaken for much younger than my age, and it is always gratifying when people say "you are 48? You’re kidding, I thought you were much younger than that; (b) craftily planning ahead, I didn’t do that much in the way of sports as a youngster, so now that I’m running and lifting weights regularly, I’m actually stronger than I was at 30.

If I looked my age or older and if I were less fit than when I was younger, I might have a harder time being sanguine about aging. It also helps that I had some bodacious crazy fun when I was young and reckless! So I don’t feel I missed anything.

Meatloaf said, or rather sang, “A wasted youth is better by far than a wise and productive old age,” but a wasted youth followed by a wise and productive old age is probably best.

I never cared.

I did notice, however, since I was about 40 that people guessing my age got a lot more accurate than they were before that.

I’m sixty, and I look it.


No reason, really. I was always just kind of curious to hear others opinions on the topic. And, unless tragedy strikes, I’ll be turning 32 in February, which actually doesn’t bother me at all. However, I have been working out 5 days a week for the past couple of years, and I’m certainly in better shape now than I was at 18. And I eat much more nutritiously now so I suppose getting older has caused me to take better care of my body.

It’s just that when I was in my 20s, 30 seemed so old but now it’s no big deal. Although I do still live in an apartment, and I’ve been married and divorced already so at least I’ve got that out of my system.

I’m sensitive only to the extent that I’m worried about “ageism.” It’s fairly obvious to me that, if I remain healthy, I’m not going to be able to completely retire. I don’t want to be screwed because I’m an old guy.

However, being sensitive in this respect doesn’t really do me any good. I’m 57, and while I probably look 5 years younger, that still doesn’t exactly put me in spring chicken territory. So I don’t see any point in hiding my age from anybody.

The posts about “he’s such and such age and hasn’t done thus and so” are interesting. I guess most people, including me, think like that to some extent. I find, though, that with respect to myself, I just don’t give a crap anymore. I’ve done what I’ve done, because I’m who I am, and that’s that. One (or at least one who is not crushed by regrets or guilt) gets to that point somewhere around the time it becomes clear that there is more life in the rear-view mirror than ahead. It’s quite liberating.

I just ignore my age, really. I’m 30 and apart from earning more money, life is much the same as it was when I was 24, i.e. good. I don’t think I look 30, either, although the pic over on the picture thread might disagree!