I’m 22. Ok, I’ll admit it. Most of you are probably scoffing at me saying, “Ha. You child.” But I’m not embarrassed. I’m proud to be young. But I’m also afraid because I only have eight more years left to enjoy my 20s. Only eight. Actually less than that as we speak. I’m not saying 30 is old. It’s absolutely not. One hundred is old. Thirty is the new 20. Actually, these days it seems like 40 is the new 20 thanks to Demi Moore and cougars of the like. So turning 30 can’t be that bad. But really, before I continue to dig myself into a deeper hole of ageism, I need to ask you something. If someone tells you they just turned 30 and you’re younger than they are how would you respond?
Let me tell you a quick little story to explain myself:
Saturday night I was out with a friend and a bunch of random people I didn’t know. The random people happened to be in their upper 20s. Totally cool people. At one point, this one girl walked up to me. I didn’t know who she was, still don’t. I’m assuming she was friends with the other random people I didn’t know. Anyways, she comes up to me and says, “I just turned 30!”
I put the exclamation point there instead of a period because she was drunk. I don’t think she said it excitedly, but she certainly did not say it with a scowl on her face. Therefore, she’s getting the exclamation point to indicate her lala land drunken state.
I respond. “Oh, congratulations!” In return, she says to me, “Fuck you.”
Yep. There you have it. I got the big ol’ F U in my face for telling someone congrats on her birthday. The only thing I could think of to do was apologize. “Oh nono! I’m sorry! I wasn’t trying to insult you! I was just trying to be nice. It was your birthday after all!” I was trying to be nice! In retrospect, I should’ve added a “And you don’t look a day over 25!” to save myself but it was too late. She had already F U-ed me and I was officially humiliated. I felt terrible and ashamed.
I still don’t get what I did wrong, though. Turning 30 is a big deal to a lot of people and I totally get that. But did I really deserve the swear? No. She could’ve turned it into a joke. I love those kinds of people who turn insults into jokes. It’s a classic defense mechanism and humor is always the answer in awkward situations. Always. Should I have said “I’m sorry,” instead? Or “That sucks?” Or perhaps I should have stuck with the more traditional, “Happy birthday,” but she probably would have glossed right over the “happy” and thought I said “congrats” again. I really don’t know. I thought milestone birthdays warranted a big congratulations. That’s what Hallmark tells us to say. That’s why I need your help. Because I having a feeling I will be meeting more recent 30-year-olds in my future and will need to have responses that do not warrant for “Fuck You” in return.