How Old Do I Look? (She Asks)

Tonight I was at a work-related party. Beer in hand, I was talking with a volunteer I hadn’t met before. I knew she had kids and that she had recently moved back from Seattle with her husband. I should add that she’s a very attractive woman.

While we were chatting–I can’t remember how this came up–she revealed that she was 42 years old. My genuine response was, “Really?!”

She laughed and said, “How old do I look?”

How old do I look? The ageless question. Women, is there any right answer to this question when you’re over 30?

I have tried for years to find a good answer to this question. Obviously their actual age is off limits. You want to go younger. But how much younger? I’ve tried going way under their age, but this comes across as disingenuous. But you can’t get too close to their actual age either.

So what did I say tonight? I answered honestly: 35.

Wrong answer.

“35?!” she exclaimed. “People always tell me look much younger than that!”

Well, people be lying. But here’s the thing: Who cares? Who cares if you’re 42 and you don’t look like you’re 27 anymore? Why not be happy that you’re a pretty damn hot 42 year old? That seems like quite an accomplishment in itself.

I’m so curious to hear what you women think. How old are you, and what age do you want men to say when you ask, “How old do I look?”

23 Responses to “How Old Do I Look? (She Asks)”

  1. @JMJKDulce says:

    Haha. This is awesome! I’m 25, and I get carded sometimes (which makes me feel good), and hit on by significantly older men (which makes me feel kind of weird). If I ask someone and they say I look over 30, that kind of irks me, but it’s more the way I carry myself I guess. I can’t relate to 20-something guys much, because I’ve always been WAY more mature then normal, and I was at the adult table holding conversations when I was 10. Either way, it’s just a question like “Does this make me look fat?”. Don’t ask it unless you are prepared for an answer you don’t like. Women…we’re crazy. LOL.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      “Don’t ask it unless you are prepared for an answer you don’t like.”

      Couldn’t agree more 🙂

      That being said, I think the age question is a fun one, as long as you’re not sensitive about it. If I met someone at a bar, a question like that could lead to fun banter and flirtation.

      So you didn’t quite answer the question–if you asked that question, do you want guys to say 25?

  2. Katie Baker says:

    As someone who has made a career out of avoiding disclosing my age or birthday, I think my response to this woman would have been something akin to “not 42!” and left it at that. This woman needs to chill. Clearly she knows she looks younger than her age, and that you’ve given her a compliment. Trying to deepen or clarify that compliment is odd to me. A response of 35 from you should have warranted a “Thank you very much!”
    To answer your question: How old are you, and what age do you want men to say when you ask, “How old do I look?” I’ll not tell you how old I am (see opening statement above) but if I did ask you how old I looked (as part of my diversionary tactics) I would secretly feel hurt if you went over my actual age. If you hit the right age, I’d wonder if you hired a private detective, and if you were under, I’d be flattered, even if it’s only a year or two. (Though you’re right, too far under is ridiculous.) I feel like if I’m asking the question, I should be prepared for an answer that I don’t like.
    But I am a pretty damn hot ** year old, so I generally get an answer that pleases me. :o)

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s an interesting career path! I can derive from your double asterisk that your age is 2 digits, so you must be between 10 and 99 years old.

      I don’t think the woman was truly offended; I think she was just used to a different answer. I also probably took it too far because she asked me why I thought 35 instead of younger, and I said, “Your hair…” and then realized I didn’t have a good way to finish that sentence. 🙂

      So your answer (you seem fairly confident about your looks) is a few years younger than your actual age. I can give that a try sometime.

  3. Trisha says:

    I would never ask this question, first of all. People generally assume I’m younger than I am. Probably because I act younger than I am, LOL.

    I heard low twenties last week from a super young guy (21, OMG) who hit on me and then fell over when I told him I’m 31, but he obviously wasn’t looking all that closely.

    There was nothing wrong with your response, the woman seems to like her compliments fat and full of flattery. 🙂

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      See, like I mentioned above, I think it can be a fun question. How old do you want to appear to people? Mid twenties?

  4. T-Mac says:

    I was just reminded of a time about 5 years ago when I was at the beach with my mom. It was dusk/the sun was starting to set a little (thus making it a little harder to see/discern age…but not much). A group of guys are on the beach as we’re leaving, and I’m a few hundred yards ahead of my mom (so this story was recounted to me). One of the guys walks over to my mom and says, “A group of us (motions to the other guys) are going to X club later. You want to join us? (and adds some minor cheesy pickup line I can’t remember).” My mom says, “I think I’ll pass, but maybe my kids would like to go with you.” Apparently the guys eyes got really wide and he high-tailed it out of there when he realized that she was about 50.

  5. Tracy says:

    As a woman over 30, and we’re going to leave it at that, I don’t care for that game. Haha. Admittedly, I look young for my age – I’ve been told this my whole adult life. I would never ask a guy how old I looked, because no matter what he says, I’m going to launch a defense. It’s just how women are wired. We have a tendency to be sensitive about our ages when we reach certain milestones, and you just have to accept and deal with it accordingly.

    Now, if it comes up in conversation, and they toss out there, without knowing my age, that I look 20-something, I’ll eat it right up…and leave it at that. Full disclosure is not always necessary. 🙂

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Ha ha…thanks for the perspective, Tracy. It’s good that you know yourself well enough to not want any answer to that question, and thus you don’t ask. But you know you’ll always look 27.

  6. Simon says:

    Dude, you *always* guess low. Even if it feels like you’re lying to make her happy. You can always guess outrageously low and play it off with a wink, you know. (Except winking at ladies sometimes comes across as creepy. Why is it sexier when they do it?)

    Either way, it’s like The Price Is Right. You NEVER want to be over. Guess $1 if you have to….

    • Lorena says:

      I think girls find things sexy when they want that attention. If they don’t, no matter what you do can be considered creepy. I do believe the same goes for men. Creepy may replaced with pathetic though (sometimes it is for me).
      Of course last night I went to a sports bar to watch the Canucks game and this guy proceeded to talk to me, even after I said, “I’m here to watch the game.” and dropped in (not right away mind you) that I was there alone because my boyfriend wasn’t able to come. Which should be 2 flags: 1) I have a bf 2) I’m really actually there to watch the game. And since I’m there to watch the game, I’m not there to talk to you. I don’t care how hot you are, I came out to get hot wings, a beer, and to watch hockey. Please respect that. That said, he wasn’t creepy. Though he didn’t wink, he was however standing slightly inside the personal space bubble… the very one we’re happy to have broken by someone we want to get inside (oh goodness, unintended sexual pun there)

      • Jamey Stegmaier says:

        Really? That was an UNintended sexual pun?! Sounds like you were pretty clear with that dude, and he should have respected that. What if he had started talking hockey with you while watching the TV?

        • Lorena says:

          If he wants to talk hockey, well that’s fine. But during the commercials.

          And it was definitely unintended! I wrote it out, giggled, and decided to leave it.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Oh yes, I know to guess low! The question is how low. There must be a formula for this. And there’s really two situations here: One where you know her actual age, and the other where you don’t. Maybe if you know her age (42), you subtract by 21 (drinking age) and add that to half the difference between the two. So 42-21 = 21, half of that is 10.5, then add that to 21, rounding down to get 31.

      If you don’t know her age, I’d say guess her actual age and then subtract 4. That also equals 31 in this case, because I legitimately thought she looked 35, minus 4 equals 31.

  7. Regan Leigh says:

    Just got a chance to try and catch up on your blog. Thought I’d add my 2 cents here since I have a different opinion.

    I’m 30 and people usually guess my age to be between 19 and 25. I might have gotten a 27…

    Anyway, I don’t like looking younger. Constantly I hear, “Well, you’ll love it when you’re older!” Maybe I will. But not now. 🙂

    I have a career where I’m expected to lead, give advice, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been discounted because of my young appearance alone. Before I even open my mouth, I’ve seen eyes roll. I have to fight against gender and age issues all the time. So because of that, when someone guesses I’m younger it irritates me. 😀

    *When I was graduating with my Masters degree, someone passing heard I was graduating that weekend and asked what high school I was graduating from. Seven years of college and they thought I was a high school senior. Sigh.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Regan! Thanks for dropping by. So it sounds like you’d prefer that people thought you looked 30? Or close to 30?

  8. Regan Leigh says:

    Yes, looking my age is better. (For now. :D) Mostly my issue is work related, but there are those times when a guy my age or older calls me young lady… and I can’t help but bristle. 😉

  9. Amanda says:

    I know this post was written awhile ago, but I LOVE playing the age game! No one ever guesses my age, it’s always younger and then they think I’m fibbing when I tell them the truth. Plus it gives us females a chance to impress the guy with our guessing skills (or lack thereof) and no matter how bad your guess is, the expression on a guy’s face is to die for. Such a great game, almost as much fun as wrestling with a significant other…almost.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      So what’s the age you most like to hear? At what point–high or low–are you offended by the guess?

      I think I’d choose wrestling any day over the name game 🙂

  10. Amanda says:

    I’m happy with anything 24-30, but no one usually guesses over 27, which is my current age. I don’t get offended at any of them. If they get obnoxious and guess something like, I don’t know, 42 then I know they are having playtime with me. If they guess something along the lines of 20 then I know they are just trying to be nice and hoping to get some action tonight. Either that or else they really suck at the age game lol. It’s just a guess either way, nothing to get offended over. What age do you like to hear the most? Is 37 in the offensive category?
    I probably would too, wrestling is such a great getting to know you game.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Wow, if someone called me 42, I’d probably wrestle them immediately.

      I think I generally like to hear my own age. 37 is a little high :). I’ll be turning 30 in January, and…well, I think I’ll still want people to think I’m that age.

  11. Amanda says:

    I would have, except the gentleman did it over the computer. He was hiding behind his computer, shame on him. January is a long time to wait, we could just round up and call you 30 now.

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