How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

The Age Guessing Wheel of Misfortune

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The Age Guessing Game Wheel of Misfortune

Generally speaking, women don’t tend to be hardcore fans of the word “old,” or even “older.” So, to play it safe, I’ll avoid using the words at all here. Also, my wife reads my posts and to be honest I hate being responsible for making her cry. I’m also pretty partial to my testicles remaining attached to my body, so you’re going to have to suffer through some word workarounds and blackouts.

My Secret Identity

My wife was born before I was. (See how clever that was? Still, wish me and my two-piece set of man marbles good luck.)

One night, years ago, before we were married, I was brushing my teeth and she asked me if I thought she looked [CENSORED]er than I did. That’s precisely when I decided to reveal my secret identity as the dumbest man this world has ever known.

I shrugged and said… “yeah.”

I said it casually, because she did get a head start on me at being born, and also because I had no idea I was about about to die. A million times. Her sobbing let me know I could take a break from my dumbness and begin my millions of deaths.


So yeah. Some girls can get pretty touchy about their age. Freakishly though, this apparently doesn’t stop them from inflicting the Age Guessing game on hapless dolts like myself. I’ve seen it played countless times.

“How [CENSORED] do I look?”

However it’s asked, “How [CENSORED] do you think I am?” or “Can you guess my age? Tee hee!” None of these are questions! Don’t let the tee-hees fool you, these are commands. And what they are ordering you to do is to spin the wheel, say a number and then experience a fury that Hell ain’t got nothing on.

Ever since the “yeah”-of-a-million-deaths, I’ve refused to play this game. I won’t go near anything having to do with women’s ages. Not even girls. Or babies. I just never spin that Wheel of Misfortune. Except this last time…

My Last Spin

A few months ago, I happened to be in a conversation with a large group of writers. All women. (You can almost hear the whistle of the imminent train wreck, can’t you?) I caught one woman say something like “thirty-eight” and noted the consequent grunts of disapproval.

Then it was put to me. “How [CENSORED] do I look?”

After refusing for five minutes, even mentioning my deep-seated aversion to castration, I finally caved. Why, you ask? Why’d I cave!?! BECAUSE I’M A MORON!!! But further than that, because I thought I was safe! Like I’d gotten the tip-off of ages! Thirty-eight got that reaction, ::deep breath:: so I knocked eight years off and said, “Thirty?”


I couldn’t believe it! I overshot it!?! Her smiling face fell into very graciously concealed hurt. It turns out, of course, she was much younger. My eyes searched the crowd wildly for the woman who had pulled the pin on the misleading thirthy-eight grenade and tossed it onto my marble collection. Then I proceeded to break a land-speed record back-peddling, saying desperate things like, “No way! Heh! How could you be so youngβ€”heh heh!β€”and have accomplished so much and be such a great writer!?!” CTRL+Z CTRL+Z CTRL+Z!

I was so flustered, I really don’t remember much immediately after that last spin of the Age Guessing Wheel of Misfortune. I may have said to the air, “Pat, I’d like to buy a vowel and a cyanide capsule, please.”

Never again. NEVER!

At least not until the next time.

–The Dumbest Man this World Has Ever Known -aka- Andy


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Instructional Diagrams
Probably best if I just make pictures and don’t say anything.


45 Responses to “The Age Guessing Wheel of Misfortune”

  1. WeirdFish says:

    Do people still say “NOT!” after sentences? Or, to rephrase, do people younger than late-30s say it? πŸ™‚

  2. Krysta says:

    I let you in on a secret… Always say “25”, when forced to play. If they are 30s it is “no silly, but thank you” 40s “how sweet”, 50+ “hahhahaha cute”, 20s “not far off” 15-20 “really?” πŸ™‚ <15 "your silly!"
    So no matter what.. Positive reaction. πŸ™‚

  3. Or you could use the Price is Right strategy. “1 year old, Bob!”

    Great post!

  4. Laurie says:

    Great post, and I feel for you, I really do. I have seen this play out many times and some people do get pretty touchy on the age subject. I am in the minority I think, being very very very close to 34 I still get carded, and I have been asked many times why I am not in school during the day, and the best one was once I opened my front door of my home and the kid selling something asked me if my mom was home…sigh
    Everybody and their mother tells me someday I will appreciate this, I am waiting for that day!

    • Jade says:

      For most of my life people always assumed I was much younger too…. that is until 4 years ago when I became a mommy at 33. Children sure do age a person! Women in their 20’s started calling me “Ma’am.” But back when I was about 25, my ex-husband and I were getting work done on our house. One of the men asked me if I could go get my DAD for him! I just about died! Now I sorta miss that. Enjoy it while it lasts my dear. It won’t be forever! Great post, Andy!

      • Andy says:

        Thanks! And ARG!!! “Ma’am”??? I got called sir a couple of years ago at a friend’s band’s show and without being to stop myself, I said “Fuck you!” He was so shocked, we all wound up laughing once I explained that it was first time I’d been called “sir” outside of a store.

        But MA’AM? Holy crap, I was born knowing that if you called a woman a ma’am it was about as bad as dropping the B bomb on her. (Unless you’re wearing chaps and spurs or something.)

    • Andy says:

      I have a friend that gives me an idea of the life you lead. She’s a little over thirty herself and she really does look insanely youthful, pixie like, literally. And she’s got a really young sort of personality, too, so same deal. She just started getting a grey hair or two and is all yahooooo about it! She gets a kick out of it.

  5. Lynn says:

    I always answer with whatever my current age is and then if they act hurt I turn the table. “Oh, so you think I’m old. I may as well just go crawl in a hole and die.”

    The sad thing is I’ve had to say that and I’m only 30. Seriously, average life expectancy in the U.S. is mid-seventies. If you think 30 is old, and you are that upset about the thought of being old, then you are in for one long, depressing ride.

    • Andy says:

      Good point! I’ve got grey coming in in my beard and the only thing that bugs me about getting older is when teens shuffle back slightly afraid when I start dancing the robot in the line at the coffee house. But, really, that’s always been the case, just the grey in the beard that’s new. πŸ˜‰

  6. Erich says:

    Depending on what season it is my wife is 2-3 years younger than me. She frequently remind me of this fact.

  7. Hee Hee “CTRL+Z CTRL+Z CTRL+Z!” I’ve been there brother. Funny post Andy.

  8. Mother Duck says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! So how old do you think I look, Andy? πŸ˜‰

  9. Bonnie B. says:

    It plays both ways sometimes. A male co-worker once asked me to guess his age and I over-shot and he has NEVER LET ME LIVE IT DOWN!! And yeah……..never again.

  10. Jill says:

    Amazingly, having a baby in your forties makes people think you are younger than you actually are (especially if you color your hair). Probably because no woman in her right mind would actually try to have a baby after the age of forty. But whatever. I’ll take it where I can get it.
    When I was not coloring my hair, I started getting offered the senior discount when I was 38. When I started coloring my hair, I got carded at a liquor store, which made me concerned for the sanity of the clerk, who was probably in her 50s.
    Now, I’m 43, and because I have a baby and color my hair, people usually think I’m in my 30s. Unless they are lying.
    But really, how [censored] do I look is the dumbest question in the world. You are laying your entire self esteem in the hopes of the thoughts of another person. You want them to be honest, and lie at the same time. And you don’t even care if they are a bad guesser.
    The correct answer to that question is, always, “beautiful”. Because it is always true, even if you don’t personally agree with the truth.

    • Andy says:

      To ask the “how [CENSORED] do a I look” question is one of two things, as I see it: 1) masochistic, if they care about the answer, 2) sadistic, if they don’t care and just want to watch a grown man squirm like a kid near an empty pitcher of Koolaid.

      “Beautiful” is always a good answer. But I won’t even answer that. I can already hear the “30’s beautiful or 20’s beautiful?” bonus round question. ARG!!!

  11. Carl says:

    Here’s one that’s even more dangerous: “Do you think my best friend looks younger than me?” I learned a lot about stupid by answering that one …

  12. Rebecca says:

    You must be careful though depending on who is asking… I look *very* young. At 25, I was carded for a rated R movie (at the time annoyed… at 31, I’m still carded for drinks, which I can live with). Anywho, when I was 25 or 26, I had someone ask me why I wasn’t in school. “Um… because I’m a graduate… FROM COLLEGE”… you can’t win either way… I agree with the PP who quoted WarGames – so true.

  13. Dayna says:

    Awesome post! Love your blog…it’s that LOL in the morning.
    That being said, I too used to look really young for my age. When I was in my early 20s I got asked if I was 9 or 12 by a nice man who said he & his wife were wondering and arguing about how old I was… Now I have experienced the moment when you realize it’s NOT just one white hair anymore.

    • Andy says:

      I’m so sorry, I had trouble reading much past “it’s that LOL in the morning.” Thanks for making my day. πŸ˜‰ Don’t sweat the white.

  14. Jess says:

    I CAN’T WAIT TO BE 30!! πŸ˜‰

  15. Rob says:

    I once accidentally called a girl fat at the top of a mountain while we were camping. That didn’t end well.

    • Andy says:

      Wow. The survival books don’t even cover that one. They really should.

      • Rob says:

        Me and my old school friends meet up every now and then to do something and this time, we were camping in Wales. We reached the top of a mountain and had a sit down and a chat and banter, when i jokingly said to my mate (who used to go out with a girl of our little group) “haha you just like the fat birds don’t you!”.
        She overheard this. To be honest, she was a bit overweight, but to be fair, she had been exercising and losing weight.
        She said directly at me “What? Like me?” with a big grin on her face – she knew the position she had put me in.
        At this moment all my friends were staring at me, like i was about to announce the lottery of awkwardness. This was at the top of a freakin mountain let me stress. She must’ve known she was overweight, but she just was – she always had been, she couldn’t of fooled herself into believe otherwise. It would’ve been crazy.
        My mind was pinging back and fore – “Yes” “No” “Yes” “No” “Yes” “No” “Yes” “No” “Yes” “No” “Yes” “No”. I didn’t know what to do. In the end, the needle stopped in the middle and i said the worst thing i could ever have said. I said “a little bit”.
        She stormed off, one of the other girls chased after her and said to wait. She just tearfully said “Fuck off!” as she stormed down the footpath back to the tents.
        I knew how bad i fucked up.

        I still don’t know what i’d do if that situation happened again.

        • Andy says:

          Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Next time it happens? Just slowly take off all of your clothes and begin flapping your arms like a bird. EVEN IF BIRDS HAVE NOT BEEN MENTIONED! Just keep flappin’, gov. With your arms and every bloody thing else. πŸ˜‰

      • Bonnie B. says:

        Okay…..that was MY LOL! in the morning right there.

  16. Tad says:

    Curiously, I thought the infographic for this was going to be for guessing child ages. Which is just as perilous, if not more so. I’ve learned to never even hazard a guess at the age of other folks’ kids – either just asking, “How old?” (notice omission of boy/girl questioning) or just commenting that is an obvious plus about them (wow – good at jumping, huh?). Otherwise, it’s all too easy to get into an uncomfortable mis-step.

    • Andy says:

      Oh man. I’m sorry but there is no comparison between mis-guessing a woman’s age and a kids. But yeah, the whole age issue can be a touchy one across the spectrum.

  17. Faye says:

    Ah, one of the dreaded questions along with “Does this outfit make me look fat?”

  18. Tony says:

    One of my wife’s colleagues got “You don’t look old enough to be my doctor,” from a uncomfortably young laboring mother. “Well, you don’t look old enough to be having a baby, yet here we both are.”
    Best age discussion ever!

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