So often, the youth of today go to great lengths to appear older than they are. With age come certain benefits: alcohol, STD’s, unwanted pregnancies... the list goes on. To control and restrain this desire to mature more quickly than is natural, society has placed limits to one’s activities based on the age of the participant. Though necessary in many circumstances, I have found these restrictions to be a nuisance in my life, and often times humiliating.
My entire life has been plagued with people voluntarily sharing with me how old they thought I was. Why anyone in their right mind would guess another’s age, I do not know, but they loved to guess mine. I can only be grateful they never tried to guess my weight.
At 18, I was asked to leave the Emergency Exit Row on an airplane because you have to be 15 or older to sit there. Up until I turned 14, I was repeatedly given the kids menu at restaurants that said brightly on the top “9 and under.” I kept the crayons.
After a few years without embarrassment, I slowly began to forget these traumatic experiences and move on with my adult life. This last week, I was on board a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico. In an attempt at exploration, we ventured into the 18+ dance club. A grumpy looking Indonesian security guard stood at the door. Colton walked right by him into the abandoned club. As I was halfway through the door, he stopped me. In broken English he explained that I had to be 18 to enter. In loud and exaggerated English, I explained that I was 24. He laughed and told me I could not get in without an ID. As I walked away through 4 bars and a Casino without being checked, I felt like I was 16 again back at Red Robin coloring in my menu before ordering Chick-Chick-Chicken fingers and a freckled lemonade.