And not the questions that a certain friend of mine has taken to asking of late. Nothing about trees falling, where people park their cars, or even the great chicken egg dillema. None of those earth shaking, world crisis averting questions.
How old does she look?
Every woman reading just had a collective chill run up their spine and felt that tightening nausea in their stomachs. Why do people ask that question? Don't they know the traumatizing potential in that answer? And don't they realize the position they are putting the interrogated individual in? Strip them naked on the Grand Old Opry stage, hook them to a polygraph and shine a spotlight dead in their face why don't you? It might be more comfortable.
We went to dinner with some friends Saturday evening and Beloved, apparently unaware of the emotional peril contained in the question, asked the other female in the party that very question about me.
27. And the answer came back fast and very matter of factly.
Now as the mother of three under 6 and a woman who tries (sometimes very hard) to stay at least in the shadow of fitness, there were two directions my brain went with this.
Path A - Nice! All that yoga and swimming and walking and water have actually come to serve some purpose this summer. My scale may be in denial that I did any of it but perception is reality people.
Path B - Come on already! Haven't I earned my stripes? Do I really still look like someone fresh out of college? Don't I at least look like I could be the responsible parent of one or two? I have worked really hard for my thirty (mumble, mumble) years!
And it's not the first time THIS WEEK that I have been mistaken for someone much younger than my thirty somethings. Thursday I was purchasing some adult refreshments at the grocery store and of course my children were with me. The lady behind me in line was giving me a shady look when I presented my ID to the cashier. He cleared me and her countenance visibly relaxed with the return of my ID. It was odd but I wasn't going to make a big deal. The cashier remarked that I was only 2 years older than him and he thought I was actually younger than him. I didn't take offense because I know him and see him at the store regularly.
But then Snarky Eyes chimed in with "Really?! Those children are yours? I thought you were the babysitter!" Because every babysitter I've ever hired takes the children out to buy adult beverages. What?!
But back to the question. What if the friend at dinner had come back with 37? What if she had given me EXTRA credit for my years? How would I have felt then? Would I have been motivated to come home and do midnight pilates? Would I have been proud of my maturity?
And why do I even care? I am as young as I feel, right? But then if that's the case the popping in my ankles, knees and hips has me at 92 with one foot on a banana peel.
Maybe I'll stick with the 27 after all.
The Nightingale a Novel by Kristin Hannah
13 hours ago