I know I shouldn’t feel so annoyed when people remark on how much younger than 28 they think I am. After all, they most likely mean it as a compliment…i.e. isn’t it great for women to look younger than they actually are? And maybe in ten years or so, my feelings will change and I’ll be flattered when/if someone tells me, “Wow, I thought you were younger.” But I still take issue with the fact that 1) 28 is an age where you should need to feel flattered about looking younger and 2) it’s a mostly backhanded compliment anyway, as generally what the speaker is NOT saying about your advanced age is, “Where are your husband and kids?” or “Why do you still dress like a teenage boy?” or “You seem a lot less mature than someone who’s pushing 30.”
Archive for March, 2010
I am going to do things a little differently the next time I come to Central America. Even though I’ve complained about it often, my standard of living here is far out of reach for the vast majority of Guatemalans. I live on a safe street inside a house that, despite its lack of insulation and the ever-present black mold blossoming on the walls, is equipped with all the comforts to which I’m accustomed (electricity, indoor plumbing, gas for cooking, a relatively hot shower). Because I can’t be bothered to hike the 20 minutes uptown to the sprawling Mercado Democracia in Zona 3–or take the colectivo to the even cheaper, more chaotic Mercado Minerva by the chicken bus terminal–I buy my vegetables and spices at the most expensive, centrally located market in town, a convenient three blocks from my house. For the most part, my weekends have been filled with fun activities exploring the country that many of its countrypeople cannot afford to enjoy, like hikes and hot springs soaks. I consistently drink the best beer available, go out whenever I want and take taxis home after midnight ’cause it’s only Q25 and you can usually bargain the guy down. Almost everything I do is tailored for maximum convenience, which is a luxury so many people around me cannot afford. The biggest hypocrisy of all is that the people at the community center where I’ve been volunteering for the past seven months think I’m the good person for coming here to work for free.