Really, I shouldn't have to write this article, but for the past few years, I have been plagued by an incurable condition: the baby face (the baby everything, really). There's no medicine I can take, and really nothing I could do within my moral compass or budget to make myself look any older if I ever even wanted to.
Let me lay out a scenario I experience almost every day. Someone sees me out and about, living my adult life at school or at work or in a store/restaurant, it also happens almost every time I go to a gas station which is weird. Anyways they see me, don't know anything about me, yet still approach me out of the blue and say something like "excuse me, how old are you, honey?" or "My oh my, you look mighty young to be driving a car." Even though it happens all the time, it never ceases to catch me off guard, because there has not been one time in my life where I've seen someone and felt the sudden urge to ask them something like their age or their weight. Probably because it's none of my business.
This next one's for the boys. If I had a dollar for every time a boy asked me how old I was and then started flirting with me (or vice versa), I'd be able to pay for college. For example, if you're an employee, I get it. You need to know how old I am if I want to see a movie or climb a rock wall, but once, a rock climbing employee told me he thought I was 11 and after I told him how old I was, he proceeded to FLIRT WITH ME. Gross. However, not as demeaning as when a middle school boy openly flirts with me and then asks me how old I am, at which point I have to embarrass both of us. Maybe as a standard rule, you just shouldn't flirt with people unless you know their age for sure because it's rude when you ask, but also they may be 7 years older than you.
Okay, now lets talk about the reaction. Probably 4/5 times when I tell someone how old I am, they react as if I have defied all laws of nature and they something like "OMG OMG mom guess how old she is!!!". This is neither a carnival nor a zoo. You are not going to win a prize. I'm not trying to trick you, it isn't like I'm putting forth a magnificent amount of effort to look like a 12-year-old. They always try to make it better with the standard phrases like "you'll get carded until you're 50!" or "don't worry, you'll appreciate it when you're older", the latter of which I actually doubt to be true.
Shall we discuss the proper way to handle the situation? We shall. If you're unsure of someone's age, maybe try asking some contextual questions about their life regarding school or driving or relationships. If you deem it absolutely necessary to ask how old they are then please for the love of all that is good in this God forsaken world, accept the answer and MOVE ON. No need for oohs and ahs here.