Age is not, as many think, just a number - GulfToday

Age is not, as many think, just a number

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

Illustrative image.

Illustrative image.

The saying that age is just a number is, in reality, just not true. When it comes to other people’s perspective, age is how you look, how you dress and how you act in public because, whether you like it or not, there will always be people you know, and people you don’t know, who will be ready to judge you. This is the case in most cultures around the world.
If you’re in your 40s and 50s, in Korea, for example, people will call you old lady or old man. I’m not assuming this but relating what appears to be a fact after having watched countless Korean dramas.
In some cultures, if someone, especially a girl, isn’t married by the time she’s in her mid-20s she’s said to have reached her sell-by date and no one wants to marry her unless he’s a widower or divorcee, or there’s something fundamentally wrong with him.
But in some cultures, age prejudice extends more to females than males. For example, if a male was still single by the time he’s still in his 40s and 50s, in people’s minds it’s no big deal. He is probably trying to make something of himself so that he can provide for his wife. On the other hand, a female by that age wont’ be able to have children. Of course, this scenario is almost universal.
So age is not always a number. In fact, this saying is something one tells oneself to make oneself feel better as one ages but doesn’t feel it. If you’ve just turned 60 but still feel like you’re in your 40s then age is just a number for you. But to other people you still look 60 and people will probably treat you as such.
People say, act your age. But what do they mean by that? Do they mean you shouldn’t go to all-night parties or late night concerts because older people should be at home watching the news or an old movie, or sitting in a rocking chair reading a book or falling asleep?!
Okay, this is an exaggeration but the ‘act your age’ saying really applies to both males and females, and across most cultures in the world.
There’s also a ‘dress your age’ expectation. There’s a generally accepted thinking across the world that older people should dress a certain way. Older people in their 60s, for example, might look odd in jeans and a T-shirt and be labelled as someone trying to pull off a younger look and failing badly. On the other hand, a teen in ‘proper’ trousers and a shirt might also look odd, especially if it’s not a part of his daytime school uniform. If the kid insisted on dressing in this type of outfit out of choice, he will also be considered odd for his age.
According to people, even hair and makeup need to be age appropriate. Did you know, for example, that bright shades of eyeshadow shouldn’t be worn by older gals? Even fragrances need to be appropriate for your age. Nowadays, many fragrances have that fruity and zesty scent that I don’t like, but gals in their 20s and 30s love them. Older people, those in their 50s and above, prefer the old-fashioned classics, like Chanel, for example.
Even a hairstyle, and its colour, has age related ramifications.
If a lady walks around with grey hair, you can bet your bottom dollar, someone is going to address her as aunty. If she doesn’t look her age and she colours her hair, the ‘aunty’ stops! What’s that about in certain parts of the world? Maybe her hair has greyed prematurely?  
In some parts of the world, if a lady doesn’t want to be thought old, she has to cover her grey, whether she feels like it or not. Otherwise she experiences odd looks and a degree of discrimination. With greying hair she not only looks old but a tad crazy.
If this were a male, folks would say he has that distinguished look with the grey sideboards. He’s mature, he’s educated and is probably making good money by now, is what they think. But he might be none of those things, unless he’s Richard Gere who went grey in his early 30s. No casting executives thought he looks so bad we can’t hire him for this role.
For a lady, as she ages, in some cultures, she cuts her hair short to above the nape of her neck because that’s what is expected of her. And in some cultures they grow it long and tie it back into a plait because that’s how the world rolls.

Related articles