A WOMAN in her 30s says she’s regularly mistaken for her ‘date’s child’ due to her youthful appearance and 5ft frame.
Melanie Bell, who’s originally from the Canada but lives in the UK now, says she was always small for her age, but as she got older the gap “increased dramatically”.
Melanie, a writer, says she’s endured three decades of comments from strangers, classmates, and aquantinaces, and is often called ‘itty-bitty’ and ‘tiny’.
When she was younger, Melanie says she’d imagine she was ‘Cinderella’ due to her tiny shoe size, but being told she’s ‘lucky’ to look young has worn off.
She gets ID’d virtually everywhere she goes – with security thinking she’s a pre-teen.
Melanie told Huffington Post: “Would they enjoy repeatedly being mistaken for a date’s child or asked if they were old enough to sit in an airplane’s exit row? (At least the minimum age for that is 15.)”
Airport staff have also asked Melanie if she’s old enough to go through the airport scanner, as she pointed out the scans are a requirement over the age of 12.
But it’s not just her height, as Melanie admits her “a round face, slight bone structure, minimal chest definition, and wide eyes” all give the impression she’s younger than she is.
Melanie confirmed she has no “growth hormone deficiency or underlying condition”, and says her mum is of a similar build – and would also get mistaken as her husband’s child.
Her brother – five years younger than Melanie – didn’t take after their mother and stands at 6ft tall, prompting people to believe she is the younger sibling.
Over the years Melanie says it’s become “embarrassing” to go out in public, and she’s developed strategies to try and highlight her age.
Melanie, who has a masters degree, said: “Dressing in business clothes while traveling, wearing massive platform heels when an occasion permits, relying on tailored items, darker colors, bold lipstick, and keeping my hair short have all, at least on occasion, seemed to silence questions.”
And she always avoids hoodies, as they make her look like a “juvenile hobbit”.
Overall Melanie says shopping for clothes is hard, as she’s limited to a “fraction of stores and my legs dangle above the floor in most seats”.
Melanie said: “I’ve been accused of having an eating disorder and my clothing has snidely been referred to as ‘doll clothes’.
“Others refuse to believe that I hear the things I hear, or tell me these comments shouldn’t bother me because ‘of course you look 12’.”
The online world is where Melanie has found acceptance, as she’s “grateful” colleagues can’t see her face so treat her like an adult over email.
Online dating is also where Melanie has met all of her partners, as she finds the sites which list her age help stop unwanted questions.
Since moving to the UK, Melanie says Brits feel “less entitled” to comment on strangers’ bodies.
And as the current coronavirus pandemic has moved much of daily life online, Melanie says ironically it’s allowed her a sense of peace as “nobody pops up and asks my age”.
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