The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Getting carded and the advantages of being a girl

For my 21st birthday last September, one of my friends gave me a card with, “You still look 16,” written inside.

In the moment, I didn’t know whether to take this as a compliment, which was clearly my friend’s intent, or an insult, since I have thankfully not yet reached the “I don’t want to look my age” point.

Despite my effort, I couldn’t help but feel a nagging twinge inside.

I didn’t want to look 16. I wanted to look 21.

To some extent, I suppose my friend is right, considering that at the high school where I now tutor, the hall monitors always inquire why I’m trying to leave campus when I’m supposed to be in sixth period, and in Las Vegas, I lured security guards at every turn with my “come hither” girlish smile.

And nowhere does my youthful appearance draw more attention than when ordering a drink in a bar or restaurant, especially when I go out after a long day of school, wearing little makeup, jeans and a tank top, with my hair wrapped in a headband.

But perhaps this is the point.

Looks can indeed be deceiving, but I have found that physical features alone are often not the most influential factors in determining whether a girl is perceived as older or younger.

At clubs, to which I go dressed much differently than I would for school or even dinner, wearing heavier makeup and fancier jewelry than I would on the average day, the bouncers do not give me a second glance.

In fact, I’ve seen it happen that a friend of mine, who is not yet 21 and looks as young as I do, was on one occasion able to slip with us unnoticed into an upscale night club simply by wearing a sexy dress and dark lipstick.

In this setting, it is comically ironic to me that people actually guess I am older than I am, and I often have to explain to near 30-year-old men that I am probably too young and silly for them to be interested in.

Though it is hard to assign precise ages to either girls or guys, guys don’t have the benefit of makeup or jewelry to compensate for “boyish” looks.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, as many girls dislike an older look in guys.

I love it when a guy gets carded going into a club and I do not, especially if he is older than I am.

And in restaurants, I have seen it happen that the waiter only card the guys at the table, while bypassing the girls, including me.

This is rare, however.

It is much more likely that they card everyone at the table, even those who are without a doubt much older than 21, simply so that I don’t feel bad about being asked.

But I suppose by the time I am 30, I will no longer look 16 and will feel disappointed that no one asks to see my ID anymore.

Or maybe I won’t mind so much.

Since I supposedly look 16 now, perhaps by the time I hit 30, I will finally look 21.

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