“Baby Face is that phenomenon whereby a person is 50years old but looks like a 30year old e.g Pharrell Williams”. Everyone tells you that you should be grateful for your baby face; I laugh in French, honestly. You have no clue what people with baby-face are going through.
After graduation from university, I had worked for about 6years before joining this particular company. Six months into my stint, there was this lady, an intern from a Nigerian university who had been seeing me around. She met me on the corridor one lovely afternoon and asked “Allen, did you get the e-mail?”.
I could not think of any particular e-mail as we were in different departments, so I retorted “which e-mail?”. She then told me that there was an e-mail sent by HR to all the interns. I immediately busted into laughter; apparently, she thought I was still an intern after close to 7years of graduation. #Baby-face.
About 4 years ago, my department had a team building exercise in a prestigious hotel in Lagos, Nigeria. The event was anchored by two external professionals; a lady and gentleman in their 50s. You can tell from my articles that I like to share my thoughts and opinions. I did the same during the first session of that particular team building event. The two instructors liked my assertiveness and approached me during the break.
Their words “young man, you should keep this attitude. If you can be this assertive at your age, the sky is your limit”. I knew they had mistaken me for a green-horn who talks tough, so I asked them to take a guess at my age. Hmmm, they gave me a figure 10years younger. I told them my real age and their commendations stopped. I guess they realised that I was just acting my age.
There was this other lady who had been seeing me at work for over a period and decided to accost me; “when are you going to complete your internship? Have you decided not to go back to school?” she asked.
The insults you receive when you have a baby-face is unbelievable. Some years ago, I had recently rented an apartment; since I got it directly from the landlord, I did not get the chance to meet the care-taker (property manager) until a few weeks after. The guy came to the house, saw me and asked for my elder brother (to this guy, I was too young to rent that apartment). I did not even bother telling him that I was the occupant since he gave me no chance.
The other challenge with baby-face is when you advise young people. It is always obvious on their faces what’s going on in their minds: “what does he know? Why will my age mate be advising me?”. Sometime, young people wonder whether to treat you as equals or show you respect. I stayed in an area for about 7 years and got to know this young lady while she was in her teens. Before my eyes, she grew up to become a young lady.
Initially, I was “Uncle”, then as she began to mature and as I kept my baby-face, we began to look like equals and I was no longer “uncle”. At some point, she stopped greeting me all together because she was probably confused. I held nothing against her as I have seen many of these incidents. It’s basically what people with baby-face encounter every day.
What more can I say? My ordeals with Policemen wondering if I was the owner of my car or at airports when travelling with wife and kids; the level of questioning is sometimes ridiculous. What about the looks on some people’s eyes when you call them by their names; some will even call you arrogant and disrespectful.
Everyone knows a person who has got baby-face. My prayer for the baby-face gang is that as we have refused to age facially, our internals (kidney, lungs, heart, liver etc) will also refuse to age, so that when we get to 80years of age, we will still be able to run marathon races.