Introduction: There’s Gladys, Rasheed, the homeless guy who lives indoors and plays guitar, the Korean chick with the Pomeranian, the homeless woman who lives outdoors, and my across-the-hall compadre who shall go unnamed. Those are my neighbors.
If you’ve ever been to Hollywood, there’s no doubt in my mind you know Gladys. She’s a pillar of the community. She’s got the stuff of legends are made of: a strong jaw line, 500,000 followers on Twitter, a large head. The way she struts her ladyboy linebacker frame like Coco Rocha, you can’t miss her on the boulevard. You really can’t.
Yesteryear, our first introduction, she told me she was the new girl on the block. She’s probably forty, but I’ve never asked because I’m gentleman and because I don’t really care. She’s also black, which l tried to subtly imply by saying she was built like a linebacker. I was referring to NFL-grade linebackers.
I’ve watched at least two minutes of every Super Bowl since the Nipple Slip Incident. As far as I can tell, most of those guys would check African-American/Black when requested by the government or an employer. What I’m trying to say, but I can’t seem to is I have very difficult time guessing the age of black people who appear to be thirty or forty. Usually I’m off by twenty years.
White people are much easier. I’m a pro. I really am.
Guide: Give your Caucasian specimen a hard look. Take in the liver spots on their hands, the damage from sun exposure on the bridge of their nose, the dark circles under their eyes, the rooster-like gullet, the sallow complexion, protruding nose hairs, latte-stained teeth. Take it all in.
Now make your first guess. Write it down: 65 years old.
Now subtract 10 years: 55.
Give the specimen another look. They’ll flash you a smile and you’ll see that prematurely receding gum line. It makes you want to add those ten years on, but don’t. Give that grill of theirs a hard-look. Have a peek at the hardware. See any silver? Gold? Wooden bridges? Me either.
Subtract 10 more years: 45.
You’re in the ballpark, you know it, but you want to be polite, not accurate. That’s how we do en los Estados Unidos.
Take another 5 off the top: 40.
Now let it rip.
“I’d say you don’t look a day over forty!” Be enthusiastic, but don’t let them think you’re jesting.
“Do I really look that old?”
Shit, this always happens with white people. Remain calm. “Um.” That wasn’t very smooth.
“I’m going to kill myself… but I should probably get Botox first so I don’t look old in my open casket.”
“That’s not a bad idea.”
And that’s how it’s done, folks!
-The Neapolitan Mastiff