October 31, 2009

A man in Didcot, Oxfordshire was unable to buy alcohol because his wife looked underage. Lab worker Terry Almond, 41, went to buy a bottle of Crème de Cassis liqueur in Sainsburys, but was refused; as his wife Anna, 22, did not have ID to prove she was over 18. There were fears that he could’ve been buying alcohol for an underage teen. Needless to say, the Almonds were not impressed.

I know how they feel. If you were to ask how old I was, I could shave ten to fifteen years and get a little frisson knowing you’d believe me. But let me tell you there’s much more fun to be had by being honest about my age, watching people picking their jaws up from the floor, once they’ve been given smelling salts to slap them back into consciousness. The oldest age guessed has been thirty-five. The youngest, most recently by a doctor, was twenty-four. The youngest age used to be eighteen but that was over five years ago. I guess the portrait in the attic is finally starting to decay.

Ten years ago, I was in the kitchen department of John Lewis, looking to buy a present for a friend’s wedding. I found a nice knife and bought it to the counter only to have the assistant ask me if I was over sixteen. I was flabbergasted. “Over sixteen?” I spluttered, “I’m nearly thirty five.” The most recent incidence of having to prove my age was three years ago in my local Iceland. I picked up a bottle of wine and went to the till to pay for it. The checkout girl who had probably just hit puberty asked me, if I was old enough to buy this wine. It’s not the girl’s fault. She was probably trained to ask anyone young looking who would try and buy alcohol, but come on now. I know I look at least eighteen, so can we have some common sense please?


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