Carbon dating tips

The old snarl “Act your age, not your shoe size” didn’t really hurt until I was rather a lot older than fourteen, for reasons which might be self-evident. I am, of course, a lot older than “a lot older than fourteen” these days; heck, this Web site is pushing sixteen now. And I occasionally get weirded out by the sheer span of those years: yesterday, in the midst of something else, it occurred to me that it had been forty years since I’d taken the Oath of Enlistment, which happened on the morning of 31 March 1972.

A coworker stared at me. “I thought you were, like, forty-eight or so.”

“Thank you,” said I. “I will turn sixty next year.”

Now if I ever wanted to go broke in a hurry, I’d become a carnie and set up a Guess Your Age booth: I am far from ept at this fine art. (Someone asked me once “How old do you think I look?” I came back with “Can I cut you open and count the rings?” No, I couldn’t. Go figure.) I have no idea what “sixty next year” is supposed to look like; I have the requisite amount of grey, sort of offset by the requisite amount of male pattern baldness, but perhaps I’m not as jowly as I think I am. Traces of ancient baby-facedness lingering, maybe.

This much I know: I am not likely to get carded, unless I’m doing something outside my everyday routine, like buying beer — or um, voting.


  1. fillyjonk »

    31 March 2012 · 8:59 am

    Yeah, but if you go by European shoe size…then I’d get to act like I’m 38.

    Which probably isn’t that different from acting my actual age of 43.

    (It’s even harder to guess ages with women because so darn many of them dye their hair. Though I was told on my most recent birthday by more than one person that they thought I was in my early 30s, so I guess I’m doing OK, even without dye.)

  2. Tatyana »

    31 March 2012 · 9:06 am

    Darn, that reminds me to change my LinkedIn picture!

  3. CGHill »

    31 March 2012 · 9:28 am

    Over the years, I’ve met lots of women who couldn’t be pinned down (I originally typed “nailed down,” but that wouldn’t do, would it?) more precisely than within a decade and a half. No pattern, either: a variety of heights, widths, and ethnicities. In the absence of a better explanation, I’m going to assume that this is due to my failure to pick up clues beyond a certain level of subtlety.

  4. McGehee »

    31 March 2012 · 10:04 am

    There is obviously a wide range of ages that could be denoted by shoe width…

  5. Brian J. »

    31 March 2012 · 3:15 pm

    When you’re young, forties sounds old. So any signs of age puts one into old age, that is, somewhere in one’s forties.

  6. Roger Green »

    31 March 2012 · 7:39 pm

    I’m dreadful at guessing ages, and I am oddly pleased by that. Try not to pigeonhole people unnecessarily.

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