On Looking Young

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It’s no secret that I look young. I’m naturally petite (short and thin), and I feel like this is a large reason why people always assume I’m still in college or- gasp– high school. Although it’s super annoying to get carded everywhere I go or have 18-year olds hit on me, everyone keeps telling me to embrace it. As you get older, you start to enjoy people carding you or mistaking you for someone a decade younger than your age. There’s no doubt I’m looking forward to all of that, but right now as a 26-year old professional trying to be taken seriously, it can be frustrating. In honor of my frustration, I figured I’d share just a few of the instances I can remember off the top of my head.

Back in my senior year of college, a few of my roommates and I stopped by Macy’s to look at dresses for our college senior formal. Macy’s had a huge selection of nice cocktail dresses, so it was an obvious choice to find a dress in the months of April and May. While we were browsing dresses in the women’s section, the chatty cashier asked us which high school prom we were going to. As seniors in college, we were slightly offended. At least this time she grouped all of us together, and didn’t call out just me for looking young.

Recently, while making a trip to the dollar store by our house, I was stopped at the register by the cashier. “You’re 18, right?”, the pimply 16-year-old high schooler said to be while holding the box of matches I was trying to purchase in her hand. I swallowed hard, tried not to get sassy, and simply nodded. I wasn’t aware you had to be 18 to buy matches to light candles in your house. The more you know…

A few days later I stopped by Panera right after running errands to  the drugstore after getting out of work. Dressed in my work clothes (which is basically dark jeans and a nice blouse), I got something to-go since we were low on groceries and James had already ate his dinner. The girl packing up my order tried, a little too hard may I add, to make conversation and began to ask if I had just gotten out of class. “Actually work”, I responded. Her eyes lit up. And I definitely made a typical sarcastic Rachel face or even a casual, involuntary eye roll since she looked a bit sorry for bringing it up. When I told her I worked in Hoboken in marketing, hers eye lit up again. Clearly she doesn’t get out of Panera often if that excited her.

Now that I’ve shared a few of mine, share yours with me! Do you look young? Have you ever gotten into an awkward situation because of it? 


  1. Like you, I’m also petite and thin. I work in events at a university and multiple times clients have asked what year I am in college. It used to bother me, but now that I’m 30, I LOVE seeing the look on people’s faces when I tell them how old I am or how long I’ve been out of college 🙂 For example, I am in a dance class where there are lots of high school and college students. One girl was complaining that she’ll be 18 in a few months and when I told her I had just turned 30, her eyes got wide and she said “No you’re not! I could have sworn you were 23 or 24!” Ha! I’ll take it!

    1. hah I work at a university as well! People always ask me about class. I used to do recruiting and when I would go into high schools I would get asked for my hall pass…. 10 years too late buddy haha (also, who goes to high school wearing heels?!)

  2. I’m in a management position at my facility and when I introduced myself to a family member of a patient, they responded with something along the lines of “Wait, YOU’RE the manager? Uh how old are you?” I was pretty offended and I really didn’t know how to respond but I wanted to say old enough and qualified enough to have this position, thank you!

  3. Lol it all depends on what I’m wearing, lif I’m really casual with no makeup on. The other day at the mall a high school kid asked me for my phone number. It was hilarious!

  4. I always get asked if I know what college I’m going to yet when I work my occasional shifts at the coffee shop. Then people don’t believe me when I say I’ve already graduated (a few years ago) and this is just a part time job for fun and extra cash. The jokes I get.

  5. I haven’t been mistaken for being younger too often – in fact I think I used to wear too much makeup or something because when I was in high school everyone thought I was in college. Now, I think people are nice when they mistake me for 21 😉 or at least a couple years younger than I am. Don’t feel bad though, my little sister who is now 21 got carded EVERYWHERE we went on vacation. Even when we were at dinner with our parents and the waiter looked at her ID and said, no way, you must only be 15 – then my dad was like she is 21 and I say it is okay she drinks. It was kind of ridiculous. I mean yeah – she has a young fresh cheery face, but I would never say she is 15!!!!!!!! Definitely embrace it though, I would much rather look younger than older at this point in my life 😉

  6. It’s definitely a blessing, especially if you’re like me… over 30, married, with a baby… and you still get carded at the movies. Yes, the movies. On more than one occasion too. Also once I was in the grocery store and a young man used the line “oh haven’t I seen you on my college campus?” No, no you haven’t. I just smile, roll with it, and take it all as a compliment! 🙂

  7. My husband is 29 but he looks young and just the other day he got carded and the waitress said “Whoa! I didn’t think you were that old!” Haha. He also got carded a couple years ago when we went to see a rated R movie. lol.

  8. I don’t think I look particularly young, but I HOPE I don’t look my age… Does that make sense? I’ll just be over here sacrificing baby goats and drinking blood and doing black magic and stuff, don’t mind me…

  9. I look super young as well and I have even gotten yelled at in the past by parents asking me why I was ditching school (sadly, this has happened more than once). Yup!

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