Getting questioned about my age is just the norm!
My license picture is straight up deceiving.
Based on my photo, there is no doubt that I look at least old enough to drive a car. You can see that I am clearly in the "adult" group because I am displaying an expressionless face. That facial expression says: "My life is weighed down by overdue bills and undereye bags." So, of course I fit into the young adults group. By using the right makeup, I turn into a true "adult catfish."
However, this only happens in some rare instances. Without makeup, its a different story.
As a 23 year old woman, I am still mistaken for a 16 year old. On most days, my height and appearance make me look no older than a junior in high school. Looking too young to grab a drink at the bar, or enter into a private venue, has lead to some pretty embarrassing scenarios.
There is one day though, that is forever etched into my memory.
This particular thursday afternoon produced the most ridiculous string of occurences in which my age was questioned MULTIPLE times at a mall in Chicago.
Due to the city's curfew, some malls have restrictions on how late youth can stick around. If you are under 18, then you have to leave by a certain time frame.
Since this rule was new to me, I had no idea what was happening when several security officers stopped me mid-walk into the food court. I was pretty scared at first, thinking I did something wrong or went into an area I shouldn't be in.
Instead, I got the infamous question:
"Ma'am, how old are you? Can I see some ID please?"
Stunned, I pulled out my ID and asked if this was a new procedure. Once the security gaurd scanned my ID, his face turned into a serious mix of confusion and shock.
"Are you really 23? I thought you were 16!! That's crazy."
Not only did I get stopped by various security gaurds once, but several times over the course of an hour. I could not believe that I kept getting pulled to the side while minding my business.
Even though I kept getting called out and embarrassed in front of some shoppers around me, that day somehow kept getting worse! My naive brain believed that the age games had stopped, but I was unaware about what was going to happen next. By some unlucky miracle, I was STILL running into the same problem with the general public.
When I finally finished shopping, I exited the mall to find the 157 bus stop. It was right outside of Macy's and I had a 10 minute wait. Already forgetting about what happened, I put in my headphones to chill out for a bit before the bus came.
That is, until I spotted a group of teenagers walking directly toward me...
Without warning, they called out "Gabby!!!"
Hearing this, I figured I would ignore it and keep doing my own thing.
They had to be calling someone else right? Nope.
All of these 15 year old girls came running up to me in a frenzy, stating that they were looking for me. I was in disbelief. Crowds of people began looking in my direction at all the commotion, and my face was growing hot. I wanted to crawl in a hole.
Did they not recognize their own classmates? What is going on here?
They continued to ask if I was new at their school, but I denied their persistant proding. Once I got a word in, I explained that I was in college and not the person they were looking for.
After a short conversation, they also realized I am not the new friend they were supposed to meet up with that day. At this point, I didn't know whether to be grateful that I was aging slowly or utterly mortified by this constant embarrassment.
Luckily, I haven't had that problem happen too often since then.
When the situation deems necessary, I sometimes comply to wearing the new flashy neon "wristband of shame" at the mall. This signifies to the security officers that I am 18+ and had been checked already.
I guess this will never truly end!