Should I Be Flattered?

There was a friend, from my days in Scunthorpe, who always made the same observation on all my photos: “You always manage to look younger.” It was an isolated remark, which no one else echoed for many years, and frankly I took it with a pinch of salt.

Then I started shedding the kilos. I got a haircut, which turned my long, stringy hair into a curly mop. And another friend said that I was “ageing in reverse”. Again, I chuckled and let it go.

The thing is being overweight adds years to one’s face. So while I didn’t look older than my years – thanks in the most part to great skin inherited directly from my mother – I certainly didn’t pass off as younger.

But now? Hooboy.

Losing the flab has taken years off my face, and since the loss has been gradual, my skin hasn’t sagged. I am grateful for this, although I honestly am not losing weight to look different. Purely health motivated weight loss. So I haven’t looked at skin or hair or anything else that I find somewhat superficial during the process. Just focussed on getting fit.

So now, my profile pictures on Facebook are getting weird comments from friends [purely platonic, I should clarify]:

Right. Granddaughter. Parallel universe. Entirely normal reaction.

Then.

Today, I accepted an Instagram follow request from someone. I think we had a friend in common, so though perhaps this was someone I knew. Nope.

Honestly, it would be flattering if I didn’t think about it too carefully, except he thought I was lying to get out of talking to him. I also considered this was a line, except he got upset. Sigh.

I don’t have anyone else to share this nonsense with, so I briefly posted it on Facebook. And then I had a mental image of comments telling me to stop showing off, instead of understanding that this was just me trying to wrap my head around such absurdity. And promptly deleted the post.

I pinged my friend. What. A. Mistake.

[Non-Hindi folk: Ladka = Guy; Ekdum = Totally]

I get that it could be a line. I get that it is flattery. However, being absolutely sure of my age, I cannot process why I am suddenly the recipient of these comments. It is mind boggling. In my effort to process with someone, I have to make so many justifications. I am not showing off. I don’t particularly enjoy unsolicited male attention. I am not fishing for compliments.

I just can’t understand. Sigh.

And really, of all the things I could choose to be dishonest about, my lie of preference is to pretend I am 10 years older than what I am?

Lunacy.

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