Wednesday 20 September 2017

The Age-old Problem

When it comes to lying about your age, there are no half measures - go big, or go home

Selif sticks - Sophie White isn't a fan.
Selif sticks - Sophie White isn't a fan.
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Sophie White

The mistake most people make when lying about their age is that they leave the actual lying way too late. It isn't until the dreaded birthday is bearing down on them, that they hit on the idea to shave a year off their actual age, thus initiating a state of deceit in which they must live out the rest of their days. A stranger even to themselves, except in the depths of those dark nights of the soul when they confront their mortality head on and admit that they are, in fact, 41, and not 39, as they have long been claiming.

The other age-lie mistake that's commonly made is timidity. We believe - wrongly, I might add - that if we are too outlandish with the lies, then we are less likely to be believed. In fact, the more outrageous the lie, the more likely one is to get away with it. Shaving off a year or two is expected in a person of a certain age, but telling people that you are a full eight years younger than your biological age is a ballsy move that I guarantee no one will quibble with.

Of course, I still have years to go before I need to lie about my age - or am I starting that age lie right here, right now? - but, during a recent internet stalking session I learned that a contemporary of mine has been lying about her age. I discovered this on Wikipedia - she is a well-known actress. We went to school together, so I know for a fact that she is brazenly shedding at least six years.

At first I was sympathetic, thinking that this was a bid to ensure career longevity in a fickle field, but then I thought about the fact that the age lie is actually a great way to cheat at life. She is hitting loads of life milestones - such as career success, relationships, etc - at a nice steady clip, way faster than I am.

When 30 is bearing down, you only have a limited window in which to make an impact and achieve success young. Pre-30, you can get your book published or start a business, and it is impressive and newsworthy. You could be included on lists such as 'Top 30 under 30'; be held up by your relatives as a go-getter, and be loathed by the other under-achieving cousins. Any success achieved after 30 is expected, and therefore exponentially less impressive.

Often, women over the age of 30 talk about how much more secure they feel now that they have shed their 20s. This must be at least in part due to the fact that the rest of the population mercilessly derides people in their 20s and dismisses them as a pack of selfie-stick-touting assholes, which I think we can all agree is total jealousy.

With this in mind, I've decided to skip the 20s-extending age-lie that The Actress is partaking in. Truth be told, I'm 30 next month. I know that I couldn't pull off the claim of being less than 27, despite still getting spots - my bio just doesn't allow it.

I've seen the penny drop too many times when being introduced to new people. We shake hands and they take in my dirty runners, poorly applied lipstick, spots - who knew I'd be clinging to this lingering emblem of adolescence? - and general state of dishevelment and they put me around the 25/26 mark. Then, over the course of the conversation, certain facts about my life leak out - husband, baby, debt - and it dawns on them that I am not in my mid-20s. They realise that my disarray is not due to having 'crashed' on my mate's sofa last night after an evening of Buckfast and Snapchatting, but is more likely caused by being too tired/harried/defeated to make the effort.

The alternative solution I've come up with to cheat at life may sound extreme, but I believe that by playing the long game, I may still emerge victorious. I am going to do the age lie in reverse. I'm going to add years to my number.

This has two main benefits that I can see. One, I will be catapulting straight to the late 30s, and will effectively be skipping the decade of drudgery those years inevitably are. Two, I will forever more 'look amazing' for whatever fake age I'm claiming to be. Everything I do, from gruelling fitness routines to still wearing playsuits will be remarkable "at her age".

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