It was my fault. I put my hair up. I put it up in that little “poof” type thing that girls do, that I also recently learned how to do. I think it makes me look cute. Apparently, it also makes me look young.
I know it’s the hair because this has happened before. It happens when I have short hair, especially. One time when I was visiting my sister in Arizona, we went to the grocery store and she bought beer. She had just finished cutting several inches off my hair (Maria always gives me a haircut when I visit because she’s a beauty school drop-out – no joke. She’s the only stylist I’ve ever really had all my life). This apparently made me look young enough to be Maria’s daughter.
As soon as the question left the clerk’s lips, my 33-year old sister’s eyes bulged with shock and disbelief. “Is she my daughter? Are you serious? My DAUGHTER??” Maria, the black sheep of my family, has no trouble at all expressing her emotions on any given subject, any time. I’m surprised there were no 4-letter words.
There was a reason for the question, though, beyond this clerk’s total lack of ability to judge age by appearance. I guess Arizona has this law that unless you’re 21 you can’t even handle booze being purchased unless the purchaser is your parent. So when she saw me grabbing the beer off the checkout counter to load our cart, she was obligated by law to stop me. Being a child and everything.
I am still at that age where I feel more indignance than flattery when being carded. “What? I don’t look cool and old and sophisticated? Should I start dotting a fake mole next to my lips with eyeliner in the mornings? Or smoke Virginia Slims through a long cigarette holder?” I’ll have them all know that just a few weeks ago I discovered my first gray hair. Maybe next time I’m carded I’ll lay that on the table.
One day I’m sure I will be more like Maria, whom I’m certain would have loved to hear, “Can I see some I.D.?” instead of, “Is that your 20-something-year old daughter?”
Today the clerk who carded me wasn’t too bad. But I knew she wasn’t asking for I.D. from everyone, so it was the hair for sure. I had to fumble with my license to get it out of that stupid plastic death-grip thing in my wallet, and when I finally got hold of it it shot out onto the floor and I awkwardly fumbled around trying to pick it up as it slid all over the ground under my cold, dry, non-gripping fingers. All of this probably took place in about 3 seconds, but that’s sort of a long time when you’re being asked to validate yourself in a room full of grownups.
It was worth it all once I got home and had my rum and egg-nog. Mmmmm. Happy holiday to me, indeed.