I ought to be ashamed of myself. And to be perfectly honest, I sort of am. Last night, for the first time ever, I actually considered lying about my age. I was being chatted up by a very nice young man who appeared to be all of 18 years old, and eventually — as is custom in Argentina — the topic of conversation landed on age, as in, he wanted to know mine. And firm “sin comentarios” wouldn’t do.
He persisted. “¿Cúantos años tenés?“
I stood my ground. “No importa la edad.“
He started to play the guessing game. “¿Treinta y cinco?“
Thirty five?! I was indignant. I demanded to know if I actually look 35.
He made up a moderately convincing story about how I actually look several years younger, but he figured because of my career and background that I couldn’t possibly be in my 20s. Still, the damage to my increasingly fragile ego had been done. Truth be told, better to look 35 than 40, my actual age. But just one week ago, while having dinner with a visiting friend, 41, and a couple of other guys, one of them, 25, guessed me to be 28. Mas o menos. Good answer, I thought at the time. But could I possibly have aged seven years in one week?
I’m still not sure why I insisted on being so cagey last night. Was I trying to encourage or discourage the guy? Was I afraid the he would pursue me even more ardently? Or was I worried that he wouldn’t? He was hardly my type — I generally prefer my guys to look at least of legal drinking age. But I kind of liked the attention I was getting from him and his similarly jail bait-looking friends. Even if I could do without that one nagging question. I much preferred the one his girlfriend asked.
“¿Sos gay o straight?“
She dropped the subject. Her friend, however, didn’t. “¿Cuantos años?” he continued to ask, by now asking more out of habit than out of a genuine need to know. Soon my friends showed up, saving me from the continued interrogation. The kid and I parted ways. I saw him a few more times, but he never again asked my age. And I didn’t tell him. Come to think of it, I never found out his either. Sometimes, ignorance truly is bliss.