Under the Frequently Asked Questions at Coachella (btw 23 days to go…) I have learned that if you want to purchase booze you will be expected to show proof of age.
I don’t get proofed at the supermarket when I buy wine or when I’m out with my girlfriends, but when I go out with my boyfriend, I am always – without fail – proofed. This means that I will be getting proofed at Coachella, and I hate getting proofed. Getting proofed makes my blood boil. Here’s how it usually goes down…
The young waitress comes to the table, and asks if she can get us a drink. The moment I order a glass of wine, she smiles and asks to see my ID. I fumble through my bag for my wallet, trying to mask my irritation. As we both know, this isn’t a compliment. As much as I may look younger than forty-one, I certainly don’t look like I’m under twenty one. No, we both know this is about another kind of proof.
It’s a quick moment, while she glances at the number on my drivers license. She’ll spot the 68 at the end of my birthyear. Yikes. 1968. She’ll try to do the math, as she formulates her judgement. It can run the gamut from shock (‘Wow!’ she’ll exclaim) to disdain (‘hmmm’). But either way, now she has proof; I’m older than my boyfriend.
Sometimes I meet her gaze, and sometimes I don’t, but either way I’m left feeling like I need to show more proof. Proof that we are a couple just like most other couples. How much would I need to show to constitute proof? Photo albums? Journal entries? Letters? Birthday cards? Should I record a typical day in our life, and piece it together in montage form with some music?
She hands me back my ID and moves on, but I am filled with resentment. I think about how lousy women are to one another. There really is no loyalty among us. I guess it’s evolutionary, there were, after all, only so many men to go around. Still, if we’re going to get evolutionary, I’m something of an alpha female. I’m fertile, resourceful, smart. I’m definitely someone you’d want to procreate with. Although back then, by my age, I’d probably be done procreating. I’d be the wise old woman, or the one who eats less so as not to dwindle the food supply.
Luckily we have Whole Foods, and according to my ob/gyn I’m still well within child-bearing years. So why do I have to answer to these waitresses? In fact, who are they to call me to task? I know the simple answer: It’s okay if the man is older, but it’s not okay if the woman is older. That’s just the way it is.
People say that to me and shrug it off, as if it really is no big deal; I shouldn’t take it personally. But I do take it personally. I have a visceral reaction to things that are unfair, and having ‘society’ dismiss the validity of my relationship is intrinsically unfair. And even after my blood stops boiling, I’m still left wondering…
Why it is that I can’t just have a hamburger, and a glass of wine with my boyfriend on a Tuesday night, without being forced to show proof?