I am 5’1″ I am about a size UK 6, (in America that’s about a Size 2 I believe). So I am small. I was always going to be small since neither of my parents are tall. If you were to equate me to a celebrity, I’m about the size of Kylie Minogue- ‘pint-sized’ as they always label her. Or the Olsen Twins.
I’m 25 years old and I run an online business. Sometimes I feel older since I’ve seen and done so much. If you spoke to me for more than 5 minutes, you would instantly realise I am older than 21.
Yet so many American’s found it hard to believe I am over 21.
Maybe I am wrong, but I get the distinct impression that people think size relates to how old you are. Somehow people think that if you are taller and larger, that somehow you are older.
Wrong. That’s simply not true.
In America, everyone gets asked for ID. I’m fine with that. Even if you look 40 you get asked to present some ID. To drink alcohol, you have to be over 21, and they’re very strict about it.
In my opinion, their law sucks. They can drive at 16 (crazy), join the military at 17, and vote at 18 but they can’t drink till 21?? Crazy stuff.
Anyway back to my point.
During my two month trip around the States this summer, there were several incidences where people could not believe I was over 21. And it made me feel like I wasn’t being taken very seriously, which frustrated me somewhat.
It’s a weird feeling to be mentally older, but to feel like you’re being looked upon as a child. Not cool.
At a pool party in Las Vegas, some guy came up to me and said “Have you not been busted yet?”
“I’m sorry?” I said, very puzzled.
“Have you not been busted yet for being under age? How did you get in here?”
“Um with my passport, I’m 25.”
He laughed and utterly surprised. I turned away and walked off.
Only a few days later I was relaxing by a different pool having a conversation about business with a friend, when an older man yelled the same thing, interrupting our conversation.
“Have you not been busted for being underage? Don’t worry I won’t tell!”
“I’m 25 years old, and do you think I could get past those security guards without showing my passport?”
I carried on my conversation.
Here’s the thing…the security is really tight at these pool parties. You can’t get by without showing some ID. The fact that these people STILL thought I couldn’t be 21, even though there is tough security, shocked me somewhat.
In Texas I noticed people double even triple checking my ID, as if they were trying to identify my passport as fake.
My passport full of stamps…
On another occasion in Las Vegas, I went to an Oyster Bar and ordered a dozen oysters. “Oh and I’ll have a beer please too.”
The man laughed in my face. A really patronising laugh.
“Can I see some ID please?” he said, still laughing.
“Sure” I replied.
His face turned from a smile, into a look of complete and utter shock. When I proceeded to get my passport out of my bag, he just couldn’t believe it.
“I thought you were about 16!”
He checked the date on my passport, and I could almost hear him counting the years in his head. He then even got his supervisor to take a look, still laughing his head off.
It’s the server’s job to ask for ID. But it’s only polite and respectful to ask for it with a straight face. They don’t know who the customer is, or how much they might be willing to tip.
Not just America
There was another outrageous time in Australia where I was denied entry to Little Creatures Brewery. To give you some context, it was afternoon and they serve food there. There were also parents at the brewery with their kids. I was just going for something to eat with my friends, and we would maybe a get one beer. The drinking age is 18.
I was asked for ID so I presented my UK Driver’s Licence before entering. This wasn’t allowed, I was told. It had to be a passport.
I told the security guy I could show him a dozen other cards with my birth date on them to prove I must be over 18. Not just over 18….24.
No good. It had to be a passport, since the law required one. Prior to this I had no trouble getting in anywhere in Australia with my UK Driver’s Licence.
“But there’s kids in there, how is that fair?” I pleaded.
(In the corner of my eye, I noticed girls who I am 90% sure were younger than me walking straight in no problem. Big boobs and height do not fool me!)
Apparently unless my friend Crystal was my mother or guardian, I couldn’t go inside to eat.
My friends and I walked off and started discussing where else we should eat.
Then it came to me…we had just been on a weekend away to Margaret River, so my day pack was actually still in the car. Unless I had taken it out, my passport was probably inside my day pack!
We went back to the car, and I retrieved my passport. Grinning, I walked up to the security guard, and he smiled.
I had forgotten what it’s like for my age to come into question so much. In Europe, where are drinking laws are 18, and sometimes even 16, I don’t really come across the issue. I don’t get asked for ID, and people seem to be a lot more accurate when estimating my age. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can think of a few European countries that seem to have more short/petite women too.
You may disagree with me, but I can’t help feeling that a lot of this comes down to a bit of heightism.
People always say I should be grateful that people think I look a lot younger than I am. I hear this all the time. And yes, I’m sure when I’m 40 and people think I look 30, I’ll be pretty stoked.
Just as long as people aren’t rude. Or patronising.
Do people think you look younger than you are? Do you get ID’d all the time? I’d love to hear your stories!