Don’t lie about your age. No good comes from it. I always got the sense that the whole “40 is the new 20” thing was because a lot more women used to lie about their age. So when a 50-year-old said she was 40 –that’s what our perception of 40 was. But when Demi Moore said I am 40…everyone started saying hey – look what 40 looks like. Of course she may have had a lot of enhancement but there are plenty of 40-year-olds who look way better than their 20-year-old selves. I have 8 college dorm-mates and as many 20-something roommates than can attest to this.
Still today I read articles talking about how youth is a woman’s only advantage and that our value diminishes with age. Ick. Yes society promotes that image and men (like Geraldo Rivera) propagate it. But there are a lot of women at 40+ who can kick a 20-year-olds ass and more than a few men asking them out, hopes for a cougar hookup aside. But that is not the point. Don’t value yourself by the age of who asks you out. When you own your age …you are on the front foot. When you make decisions that are right for what you want you are not held bondage to a timeline. There are reasons you are where you are …not everyone has to follow the same path.
I remember, at the urging of a friend, the first and only time I lied about my age. At a party she insisted that being on the high side of 33 was a deal breaker…that every guy thinks a single woman at that age is desperate to get married (not) and is feeling her biological clock (not). A stop sign for the 30-something still unmarried male from the get go. I don’t even know why the age question came up, but as I fumbled and tried to say I was 30 or 29 or something….it felt so wrong. Why would I want to be with someone who placed age before a connection? In the end, for some reason he found out I was lying and called me on it. Who knows if I hadn’t lied if things would have turned out any differently, but it wasn’t worth the lie. I felt bad and he felt duped.
I can’t help but think that we are our own worst enemy. If we didn’t apologize for it (do men?) would it perhaps be a little different? Could we slowly change these perceptions? I know if it tough…because ageism and sexism create a big, strong invisible wall that is felt if not seen. But it’s possible to do and not feel alone…particularly the more women do. And who’s to say that the dating world doesn’t get better with age? There are so many people divorcing and not marrying that age (and fertility) is a no longer a sign of dating relevance. The way I see it, the more we lie, and the more we make jokes about getting old (could I please find some birthday cards that don’t make age the butt of the joke), the more we place the focus on age over connection. Connection is the energizing force of life…not a number.
So 20-somethings, own your age. Don’t live by the sound of a clock ticking. Live by sound of your heart beating.