The Pros and Cons of Looking Younger Than You Are
There are many cons to being child-sized when you are in fact a teenager. When I tell people I'm a sophomore, generally they'll nod and say, "Oh, okay." I then feel forced to clarify, "In college," and they'll say something along the lines of, "Oh. Wait, really?"
But I’m here to tell you that for every con, there is a pro, and for every pro, there is yet another reason to stand tall (or as tall as you can) and own up to your baby-faced awesomeness.
Con: You will receive a children's menu long after this is acceptable. Your younger sibling, however, will receive an adult menu while they still have baby teeth.
Pro: The children's menu has macaroni and cheese and chicken tenders that are shaped like dinosaurs. I think we know who the winner is here.
Con: You will have to show ID to get into R-rated movies, while your friends will not. You will probably be forced to fish around in your purse for it as everyone in line behind you slowly bands together in hating you because you're slow, and for God's sake, why didn't you just have your ID ready? Why couldn’t you have just resigned yourself to looking prepubescent? Why are you making this difficult?
Pro: You can get into some places at a discount, or even for free. I used to get away with the "kids twelve and under get in free" thing when I was fourteen. Not even on purpose. They just assumed. (The first time, anyway. Then I exploited it, and evil burst forth in human form.)
Con: Your youthful features can be misconstrued as immaturity when you’re not actually all that immature.
Pro: You’ve been given license to be immature as long as you want! Embrace it! Immaturity, unfortunately, has an expiration date. Once you’re past it, people will expect you to hold your own in a conversation about taxes or vegetables or something. But not YOU, because you look exactly like the kind of lawless juvenile whocould crack a "your mom" joke at a moment's notice.
Con: People will treat you as younger than you are, possibly by not taking you seriously or by giving you a kid's toy at McDonald's.
Pro: Looking younger has been theorized to mean you'll live longer. So you can rest assured that you'll be dancing on the graves of people who tried to give you a Power Ranger Morph Belt Buckle with your Happy Meal.
Con: Your clothing tastes will outgrow your body. Your innate teenager senses will be drawing you to the juniors' section, but nothing will fit, and an employee will ask if you’re lost, and you’ll start crying in the aisle while other shoppers are forced to go around you.
Pro: You'll still be looking young and FINE while everyone else is dealing with wrinkly skin and receding hairlines. This is pretty far in the future. You should probably draw very realistic pictures of what your friends will look like when they’re old and decrepit, alongside a picture of you looking fantastic and youthful, so everyone knows how this is going to play out.
Con: People will say, "You look exactly the same as the last time I saw you!"
and you will flounder mentally, searching through your arsenal of clever responses for one that fits, because what the hell do you say to that?
Pro: You can reply with either a) "Thanks?", b) stony silence, making it weird, or c) "Yeah, I know, I don’t really age," prompting polite laughter that will slowly give way to fear and suspicion when you continue to stare, unsmiling. They will then secretly wonder if there’s any truth to that statement, and whether they just outed a Time Lord.
There you have it. You’re not alone; there are plenty of elf-sized teenagers sharing your woes. Perhaps we should start a club. Or a rioting mob. People all around the world will cower in fear as swarms of apparent children march upon their towns, dropping pitchforks that are too heavy for them and chanting their ominous threats in chipmunk voices. It will be adorable and terrifying. No, it will be adorable and then terrifying. They will be blindsided by cuteness, and then we will rule.
Are you a soon-to-be-ruling-class baby-faced college sophomore? Do you hate looking younger than you are, or do you take advantage of the benefits?