Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Joys of Braces - Age Identity Crisis

Ahhhhh yes, the good old double take, puzzled look, confused brow, searching eyes for a clear indication of age. The braces do it every time, throws people of track, they assess your age, then you open your mouth and those little shiny brackets dazzle them and all of sudden your 16? No, 14? Ummm 18? 20? No, 15?
I was all of the above at some point, but now I'm a 24 year old with braces. It is surprising how many people struggle with age assessing me.

For example at a recent trip to my local contraception clinic I was discussing with a nurse how much easier the clinic is for me to get to and to be been seen by a nurse rather than trying to get in at my doctors. The Conversation went something like this;

Nurse: "Yes it must be difficult trying to get an appointment outside of school, I don't suppose you can just leave a lesson can you." 
Me : "School? I don't go to school." 
Nurse: "Oh sorry, do you go to college then, a lot of young people I see prefer to go to colleges now rather than staying on at school"
Me: "No, I work full time, I'm 24, I finished school a while ago."
Nurse: "Oh god, sorry. I thought you were younger than that what with the..... you look younger than 24, I wish I looked so young!" 
Me: "It's ok, you're not the first"
Nurse: "Oh yes look, here's your date of birth, 1988, yes 24"

The rest of the appointment was rather awkward to say the least, but it happens to a lot of people. Braces are just something that people associate with young people, children and teenagers, like grey hair with old people.

You rarely see or hear about adults with braces, particularly in the UK and braces are often portrayed in films, TV and other media as part of the nerdy/geeky teenager stereotype role (along with glasses and spots). Well not any more! Not while they are attached to my teeth!


  1. AH! I know! I am breaking out at the moment and having my braces on has caused awkwardness as well. I'm in the US so this morning I went to my polling place to vote. The people in front and behind me in line said I wasn't old enough to vote (voting age is 18) and asked why I was there. I told them no, I'm nearly 29, ten years into my career, and a mother of two, I'm definitely old enough to vote!

    1. Hahaha! That's so funny, I cant believe they questioned you!
      It does make me laugh, if only there were more images of adults with braces in the media, more awareness, then it wouldn't be seen as such an odd thing to have.

  2. I know exactly what you mean when you say people think you are a highschool kid. It is the worst when you go to work and people look at you as if you look too young to be there. Another thing that is awkward is when you are trying to talk to someone and all you feel is them looking at your braces. THE WORST lol