Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Reader, as you may know, I am thirty years of age. I could grow a full beard if I wanted to. I have climbed the jungle gym of life and stand atop the monkey bars bawling about the terrible sights I have seen.

So why is it that I am no longer able to buy a drink without being asked for ID? A note for American readers, in the UK you almost never get asked to prove your age unless you arrived at the bar in a pram sucking a lolly. I don't think I was ever refused a pint of foaming, nut brown ale when I was 17. Now, wizened and decrepit, I have to repeatedly prove that it is not 13 years ago.

This came to a head in Marks and Spencers when I was buying an expensive bottle of liquor as a Father's Day gift. The cashier had plainly seen me coming, I could feel the skunk eye being applied. "That's right, I'm a child," I said. "I'm going to drink this in Piccadilly Gardens then choke on my own vomit in the gutter".

I didn't actually say that, as I was too busy reaching under the cushion in my luxurious baby buggy for change. Plus I had a lollipop in my mouth.

Then, THEN, this morning I received some free samples in the mail which included "anti aging cream - for MEN". I am tempted to apply it just to see what happens. My guess: nothing good.


Sarah said...

I had a similar experience recently. In New Zealand, I haven't been asked for ID for ages. Then I went to New York and went out with a bunch of 20 year-olds, and was asked everywhere (I guess I was the only one in the group with genuine ID)

Two weeks later I'm in the UK and haven't bought alcohol yet, but I think I look over 21 (I'm 26). We shall see.

Steve said...

I don't know what the political climate is right now in the UK, but I'm guessing some mother screamed "We must save the children!" and the enacted alcohol stings.

As a person who sells booze almost daily, I despise the fact that it is the clerk who get fined the loads of money and not the person who is buying it illegally.

Deecee .W said...

I'm only 20 and I never get asked.
It must be the beard.

just cheez said...

dammit john, I can't grow a beard at all! i can't quite get the 'tache and the chin bit to meet in the middle. at least you have that!

Niveau said...

You're just before your time JA ;)

soda! said...

you're aging well! it's super lucky for men, because though ladies are mocked for their superfluous attempts to attain and retain youth, in the end men must scramble to the drugstore to buy some hair regrowth formula and perhaps a few choice toupees!

i am a 5-foot asian girl and consequntly will look 12 until i am 45. child-price tickets!!

Silas said...

I haven't been asked for ID since I was 18... apart from once in the US, and they were asking people who literally had long grey beards for ID too, so it doesn't count.

Steve: it's more "You're all alkies and don't know it!", as the entire middle class - people who drink wine with dinner most nights - are accused of being problem drinkers. Me, I'm ignoring it and trusting my doctor's advice, which amounts to "don't get drunk, but there's no great harm in drinking regularly". My doctor's cool...

Bassey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guilty Victim said...

Same thing happened to me 3 weeks ago, during second round.

I could only assume some anti-weatherspoons extremist snuck into the basement during the night and injected reverse aging drugs into all barrels, causing (un)lucky patrons to drop their digits until they're kicked out by the teenage staff members, in attempt to destroy the national franchise.

I tried growing a beard since, and the feebleness of it could be summarized nicely by this Penny Arcade strip

Richard said...

I feel sad that my first ever post about my favourite comic is of a complaining note, but hopefully this first sentence will have had the necessary mollificatory (and soporific; it's getting long) effect to avoid sharp-spooned attacks from John.

Why is Mr Pooka suddenly being called Mr Rabbit? I appreciate Mr Rabbit is a fine description of what Mr Pooka is but Bob clearly calls him "Mr Pooka" on 31/01/06 and he's my favourite minor character so he deserves better.

I suspect John referred to the helpful map of what had been going on recently where this Mr Rabbit moniker got its genesis.

You do seem to get four years ID-free between 17 and 21. After that you need to carry your birth certificate and your mother everywhere for proof.

Anik said...

I never get asked for ID when I purchase the demon rum, but oddly enough I did get asked when I bought a scratch lotto ticket. I put it down to a campaign of outrageous flattery by the lotto corp in order to increase sales.

Definitely stay away from the anti-aging cream. I've heard about people overdosing on that sort of thing and ending up as zygotes.

Jay said...

In America, it depends on the establishment. But I generally find that there's a parabolic relationship between whether you're carded: Your chances are sky-high at first, generally decrease until about age twenty-five, then incomprehensibly rise until you're eighty or so.

At that point they just throw nuts at you until you go away.

Gamma Tree said...

I'm 21 and when I carpool to work with my father, the lady at the laundromat asks if it's "go to work with daddy day."

The elusive "they," who seem to have so much to say about everything, tell me that I'll be glad to look like an ankle-biter when I'm 40.

For us, I predict a well-preserved convalescence.

Russia Moore said...

Heh, when I was about 15 I told people I wanted a cream that would make me look five years younger :P

Sadly I'm getting to be too old for that joke to be funny.