Jenny Hewett on the benefits and occasional pitfalls of looking younger than her years
Jenny Hewett on the benefits and occasional pitfalls of looking younger than her years.
British poet George Eliot was onto something when she said you can never judge a book by its cover. As a freakishly perpetually baby-faced individual, I’m on the constant receiving end of remarks about my age (or the perceived lack thereof).
No complaints here, there are far worse predicaments than having had to carry ID for 13 years. But I can’t help feeling that the fountain of youth is a double-edged sword. In the Gulf as with most other places in the world, the topic of my age versus my looks comes up in almost every conversation. The truth is, it’s all started to get rather old.
However, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t also a source of constant amusement. To friends, I’m known as ‘the teenager’ or ‘pocket rocket’, but it’s predominantly on a job that I encounter good-natured, harmless acts of prejudice when it comes to my appearance. Like many journalists, a decent chunk of my job in this city involves attending fashion events, meeting PRs and sussing out the latest shopping and beauty hotspots. But I often find I’m initially overlooked as my guest’s sidekick, as if my youthfulness determines the level of my professionalism.
I’ve since discovered a case of mistaken identity is nothing to get too precious about. Much to my amusement, my seemingly more mature plus-ones are doted on at press events while they stare back discombobulated as our host rattles off information they wish had never been directed at them. This is a guilty pleasure I need no persuasion to indulge in. Needless to say, I’ve got predicting the exact point my guest turns to me and says: ‘They think I’m you,’ down to a fine art. On occasion I’ll let it slide, but if I’m feeling extra griped, within seconds, a force I can only describe as small man syndrome takes over my deceptive 5 ft 2 stature and I puff out my chest and step in before the situation gets any more awkward.
On the flipside, not looking my age means I could seamlessly attend a Justin Bieber concert, should I ever need to, though I no longer get mistaken as an unaccompanied minor when boarding flights (okay, that never happened). In all honesty, I should thank my lucky stars. But we all want what we can’t have, right. Besides, I’m only human. Or am I?