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When Will “Looking Young For My Age” Be In My Favor?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

Debatably one of the most exhilarating aspects of growing up is feeling more mature, and finally being taken seriously by adults. I think it’s only fair to say that growing older becomes a significant part of our identity.

Personally, as I change, I want to be taken more seriously. However, I always find these few simple words inevitably dismember the developing identity I have of myself.

“You look so young for your age.”

No matter how many times I was told this, I never knew how to react. Sometimes the sentence comes off as demeaning whereas other times I don’t know how to feel.

I first heard these words when I was around the age of fifteen, this is when I started working my first job, as a hostess/waitress. My uniform consisted of khaki pants, a white collared shirt, and an apron.

I would get comments about my appearance pretty frequently, sometimes from co-workers but most of my encounters came from customers. Regardless of who said it, the brush remarks always seemingly came from adults significantly older than me.  

As I am still working this job, it’s hard to pick out a specific time when this comment is made, (considering it happens relatively frequently) but to break it down, the conversation usually carries out like this:

A customer asks me what high school I go to.

I reply saying I’m actually in college.

The customer goes on a small rant about how young I look.

It sometimes feels like a never-ending cycle of me laughing it off, yet secretly thinking to myself “What’s the point of saying anything at all?” I think the comment can be especially patronizing when I’m trying to do my job. It almost comes off as a way of questioning my ability to do my job. 

It’s one thing for someone to make conversation with you, and bring up my age, however, there’s been moments where people butt into a conversation about my age/appearance.

I was attending a wedding, and catching up with a relative about how school has been. I’ll never forget how in mid-conversation an older woman (whom I never met) reached for my arm, made direct eye contact, and asked me to repeat my age.

It caught me off guard. After I responded, she stared at me and then made the infamous remark “You look so young for your age”. Of course, she didn’t stop there, as she then tried to guess my “actual” age.

So, I sat there as this woman tried to satisfy herself by figuring out an age that made sense to her.

It was uncomfortable, to say the least.

I understand that this comment is not always meant with bad intentions.

I’ve had people tell me I look young for my age, but they tack on how it will come in handy when I’m older when I want people to think I’m younger. Although I appreciate the positivity of the add-on, I think the reason why this doesn’t feel much better is that it alludes to the fact that “looking young for my age” won’t benefit me anytime soon, instead, I have to wait a good 20 years. I don’t want to wait. I want the way I look to be positive relative to my age, or even better, irrelevant. 

So, I wait for the day when “looking young for my age” is no longer held against me. I will let you know when it works in my favor. 

Lena Zadroga

West Chester '26

Hey, my name is Lena Zadroga. I'm a sophomore at West Chester, and currently studying English, with a minor with professional and technical writing. I've always had a love for reading and writing, which is why I wanted to join the incredible HER campus writing team. Little fun fact about me is that I have an complete obsession with sharks!