I am a lot of things I am proud of. I am a writer, actress, comedian, lawyer, daughter, sister and friend. On the other hand, I’m 31 years old. That’s when you were supposed to spit out your pizza in disgust. Because, apparently, being 31 is something to be ashamed of.
I learned this recently while chatting with a younger male friend at a bar. We were talking about relationships and I mentioned that since being a part of the New York comedy scene, I had dated some guys that were younger than me. It was an off-hand comment that I didn’t think about very much. UNTIL…
My friend asked me if I thought that the prestige of getting on a house team at our comedy theater had helped me date these guys that were “otherwise out of [my] league.”
I had given him NO information about these dudes except that they were younger than me. They could’ve been Prince Charming or they could’ve been Prince Humperdinck. He had no idea. And yet my friend automatically deemed them out of my league because they were younger than me.
Now, forgive me if this comes across as conceited in my old age, but I have never considered the fact that someone would be out of my league. Could I imagine a scenario in which someone didn’t want to date me? Sure. But it would be because there wasn’t chemistry or he’s a Republican or something. Not because I wasn’t good enough for them. And certainly not because I had timed out, like some amateur playing Taboo. (For the record, I am awesome at Taboo.)
I went into the conversation as a confident young woman. I left the conversation feeling like a crusty old lady, lucky to have increased her quickly-declining value by being good at comedy. And that sucked.
But I can’t blame my friend. It’s the world we live in. Women are not allowed to get old in this society, and yet, we haven’t figured out how to stop time. So where does that leave us?
It leaves us teaching women to be ashamed of something they can’t control, to lie about it, to hate themselves for it. It leaves me feeling like I have to add a few years when a guy at a bar asks me when I graduated college. It leaves me feeling like I need to apologize for something that I didn’t do wrong.
Shaming women about their age is just another way society tells women they aren’t good enough the way they are. The voice that tells us we should inject poison in our faces to belie our age is the same voice that tells us we should starve ourselves to change the shape of our God-given thighs.
Well, thanks a lot world, but I’m sick of feeling like the first draft of a term paper that needs to go through a shit ton of revisions until it’s ready to be shown to the world. I have a lot on my “To Do” list that has nothing to do with staying pretty and young for you.
While I am disappointed in society’s obsession with women’s age, I’m not delusional. I know that people will continue to judge women based external factors associated with youth. I can’t change that.
But I can change whether I’m going to be ashamed of myself because of something as arbitrary as my age. I can choose to recognize that age is just the number of years you’ve been on this Earth, with no positive or negative value attached to it.
And frankly, I’ve reviewed all 31 of my years and there isn’t one I’d be willing to give back. Regardless of what league it puts me in.
You can read more from Kassia Miller on her blog.
Feature image via Shutterstock