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Ageing Lies



I have a confession.

Sometimes, I lie about my real age.

This habit started during the 1990s, the years I wore my sister’s white lab coat and walked around her campus like I was one of the medical students. Frankly, I didn’t care if anyone bought into my fake ‘medical student’ hype; after all I really wore the coat because I wanted to look older than I was.

These days, I hide my real age from a particular group of nosy colleagues at work. I gave them a ‘work age’ because as the youngest in my group, even though there are no apparent threats, I feel they might silently start viewing me as too young to manage certain people or projects. My speculation aside, they don’t even seem to remember I already told them I am…uh I need to remember what age I’ve been claiming. Despite my effort to maintain a reasonable deviation from my real age, +5 years, I clearly haven’t convinced them because I keep getting asked the same age question. Can’t they just act uninterested? It is not like I am 29 yet claiming 50. Even if that were the case, they should simply compliment me on how great I look for my age. Who knows, I might return the favor by sharing details of my age-defying regime with them.

I’m not the only one with this habit. While I add years to my age, my sister, as well as a friend of mine, take years off. During her birthday speech, my friend went on to thank everyone for attending her 27th birthday “again and again”. And until my sister’s 40th birthday party, her teenage daughter had no clue her mum was “that old”. Over the years, “how old are you mummy?” got the same response, “I’m a big 2.” Yeah I don’t know what that means either, but it always resulted in my niece making random guesses below her mum’s real age, which of course her mum took as a compliment.

While my sister and friend lower their ages for the fun of it, there are other people who do so for far more serious reasons; Like older job applicants. With the high unemployment rate in Nigeria, a 39 year old trying to re-enter the job market has his work cut out for him. Depending on the level of experience required for a job, most corporations would rather pick a younger applicant over a 39 year old one. This intense competition with younger candidates puts the older applicant under pressure to revise his date of birth and declare a lower age on his resume. You can’t blame him, can you? Even if he does not revise his age and still gets a job, he has to worry about how his employer’s retirement policy would affect him in the future since most corporations mandate employees to officially retire either at age 60 or after 35 years of service, whichever occurs first. So technically, the 39 year old applicant has only about 21 years of service before his expected retirement age. He doesn’t have the extra 14 years of service to strengthen his savings, boost his retirement plan, prepare for his children’s remaining education costs and other expenses bound to arise during his retirement years. With all these and more scenarios to worry about, lowering your real age for longer employment status is simply a survival method.

Maybe concealing my real age at work is also a survival mechanism. But someone once told me that lying about my age means that I can lie about anything and can’t be trusted. I must have pressed my mental snooze button when I heard that. Thanks ‘fortune teller’! However, whether I lie about my age or the next guy lies about his income, the bottom line is that we have chosen not to disclose the details to a particular curious person but freely tell other people. Besides, either for fun or for survival, the people mentioned above are not the only ones playing musical chairs with their ages.  Just take a quick glance at the Super Eagles Under-21 team. Please, just a quick glance; if you stare for too long you might mistake them for 30-something year old liars. Okay, okay… go Super Eagles, go!

In what situation have you lied about your age?

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  1. Gennyz # 1 Fan!!!!

    October 25, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I always increased my age in the past, because i was interested in older guys, and they’d usually freak out anytime they found out my rreal age! lol

  2. Gennyz # 1 Fan!!!!

    October 25, 2011 at 10:48 am


  3. mawieeee

    October 25, 2011 at 10:53 am

    It happens everywhere but one thing we should knw is that a lie is a lie. Age,income…………..all is bad n God is against it.

  4. Vique

    October 25, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Lol. I can totally relate with this post, d fact dat I had a fast education + looking mature @ a young age made me keep sealed lips on my age. Even wen I tell, I get this dazed look, like “U’re kidding!”

    • Amaks

      October 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      lol…same here…it can be annoying when people realize how old i am and start treating me like a kid

  5. qhaycee

    October 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

    is this confession week?

    • Tiki

      October 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      I guess it is. What u scared of?

  6. mie

    October 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    lol @qhaycee i think it is ohh… my own confession is that i hide and eat so my siblings wont count calories for me cos am on a “slim” me workout regime …. no judgements ohh 😉

  7. chinny

    October 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I love this post. I can totally relate – I got an MBA at 22 (3 years ago) and I am the youngest on my team at work. I too do not like to reveal my age – but I do not lie about it. When people ask me how old I am – I just laugh. Frankly, I find it disrespectful to ask such a personal question in a professional setting. I have high expectations of the teams I collaborate with at work and I do not want them thinking they have a daughter my age at home- so I just keep numb. At least that way – Im not lying.
    In non-professional settings though- I have no issue at all talking about my age:)

  8. fortune

    October 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I stopped increasing my age this year when i clocked 22, prior to my bday, most people wouldn’t believe when i tell them ♓☺w old i am therefore i added 2 years anytime. Now, i believe they can reconcile the face with the figure. Good write up.

  9. Dr. Bee

    October 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Writing ur age on your CV in itself is in POOR TASTE and should NOT be mandatory because it can indeed lead to age discriminiation in the workplace. You may not even get the job because u are presumed to be too young for the responsibility and salary bracket talkless of getting a promotion. You skills, experience and ability to succeed should be the primary factors so your employer or colleagues have no business whatsoever asking you how old u are. This is another reason why Nigeria is so freaking backwards…if ur employer tries that in the UK u can sue for Age discrimination…FACT.

    • Onyx

      October 30, 2011 at 10:01 pm


  10. Mo

    October 25, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    People never believe my real age so i don’t even have to lie lol. i’ve had a really fast education and my average classmate were at least 2 years older than i am. Not that u’d guess by the way i relate with everyone!

  11. shydiva

    October 25, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    When you start thinking about lying about your age, trust me you’re old ….according to Fine Boy 🙂

  12. lafunky

    October 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Haha! People, please embrace your age.
    I understand why people would lie about their age for jobs in Nigeria but it doesn’t mean it’s right. (It’s a lie–all liars shall go to hell). Once you start lying about your age, you will continue to lie. It will be difficult to say the truth.
    I bet the author of this article will find it hard to say her real age.
    I’ve noticed that people that are embarrassed about their age are the ones that do not hesitate to disclose their friends age publicly.
    Abeg, love your age/embrace your body if you look older/younger/if you finish school at an early age it doesn’t matter. It’s a blessing.

    Oh, let me share this. I know a couple who have been married for ages. The wife said when they were courting the husband lied about his age. It was only until they married and they started living together that she saw his birth certificate and she found out that she was older than him. Obviously it was too late for the wife to go back.
    Be Proud!!!! of your age.

  13. taami

    October 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    totally agree with Vique…we in the same shoes lol!!!

  14. Maroon

    October 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t believe I should have to lie about my age at work. I am currently working on a project with everyone older than me. One of them is actually old enough to be my grandfather (almost about to retire) but I am upfront when I agree or disagree with him or I think we should follow a different direction on an issue. I state my opinion. It is not disrespectful, like my manager once told me, we are all co-workers trying to make the best product we can, so you speak up if you have a different opinion. That is what makes the best product – different ideas coming together. At least in the US, whether you are 22 or 50, if you act mature enough and make the calls when needed, people will give you due respect. There are 30 something year old CEOs so why can’t I have the respect I deserve if I am getting my job done right at age 26 or age 55.

  15. bukioni

    October 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    People always think I’m younger than I am but I’m not sure if that’s beacuse of my playful nature or just because my black don’t crack, lol.

  16. Vique

    October 25, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    @ d end of d day, I believe age is a thing of the mind. Maturity does not jump on us, we groom ourselves to be matured. So, either 14 or 40, I have no control over time, but I can very well choose who I want to be and I want to be percieved.

  17. Atukpa

    October 25, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I embrace my age, cos i realized every age in the past i thought was old is younger than i am anyways.
    I lie about my mom’s age to my in-laws, i add 5 years. And it is beacuse of the yoruba syndrome of age and respect.
    Next thing i will hear is all the aunties are older than even my ma. Like that matters, to avoid confrontation or some altercation. It’s +5 o… my ma often forgets as she is not the originator of this lie. Iam 🙂

  18. tatafo

    October 25, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    All you young ‘uns, one day you will find out you’re the oldest one in the room.

  19. hghg

    October 25, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Am guilty..but i only take away 1yr …ok i know im still lieing .But hey, am still older than alot of my friends i cld recall were actually either my mate or older.They are still at 30 even when i count and it is like 7yrs gone.Hmmm guess y’ll can tell my age now.

  20. mary007

    October 26, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Please those saying all liars shall go to hell? who are you guys to judge? so you wont me to believe you have never told a lie? if you answer is No then you too are a liar! if your answer is Yes then its the same yardstick, no big or small lie. BN if you like dont post! you too…..

    • Lafunky

      October 26, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Mary, just because we quoted what the bible says does not mean we are judging. Let’s call a spade a spade. Lying is wrong. I personally would rather not answer a question than lie. We have to consciously make an effort not to lie. In d past when i lied, I went back to say the truth. I will rather face d consequences of saying the truth than lying or either way keep my mouth shut than to lie.

  21. memeee

    October 26, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I personally don’t like lying for any reason, but my age? most people in the work-place commit this crime more often without remorse! i just know – no body runs forever. let’s keep it real guys!


    October 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Some people say I look older than my age some say I look younger than my real age, so I say what you see is what you get. If I look older to you fine, if I look younger to you then let it be but what I have never done in my life is to lie about my age. Lie is a lie and always soils your reputation when you are found out.

  23. speaktheword

    October 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    i have never lied about my age. not that ive never had reasons to but i try to be real most times. i’m quite lucky tho that i look younger than my age. lying about one’s age makes one live a lie and it subconsciously affect the individual as u would get so used to this lie that u also begin to believe u are that young.

  24. shawtty

    October 27, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Absolutely boring writeup! Makes very little sense!!!

  25. taken woman

    October 27, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    awon BNites yi man kpamilerin sha. i actually thought maybe you commented on the wrong article. chill out. considering that some people actually relate to the post, it is your comment that (using your language) makes very little sense. ever heard of leisure reading?

    I don’t lie about my age but I’ve seen situations where one is better off doing so sha. who even started that trend of writing ones age on the resume? it is crap and needs to stop.

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