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Asians overestimating my age

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

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Asians overestimating my age

Postby Falcon » Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:56 am

I am now 24 years old (southern Chinese descent), and looked just about the same at age 21, but about half of younger urban NE Asians (Mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, Koreans, and some Thai university students) would say I don't look my age. They say I look around 30. This ONLY happens with NE Asians, or occasionally white guys who have lived in places like Taiwan for a long. And of course, when I show them photos of my mature-looking Latino/a friends who are 19 or 20, they would say the Latinos look like married people in their 30's.

From my point of view, NE Asian guys in their early 20's will often look like androgynous high school boys who don't look very physically mature or sexually developed. I don't hang out with same-age NE Asian peers that much, so I'm pretty bad at telling their ages too and keep underestimating their ages as well. Some 30-year-old Asian women really look 16-18 to me.

No one of any other race is surprised by my age. In Mexico, Europe, Indonesia, the Philippines, and even Laos no one is surprised by age. Latinos, Arabs, and Africans have never thought that I'm 30 or above. In Mexico, everyone calls me "muchacho" (boy) or "joven" (young dude), and in Indonesia people also look at me and immediately assume I'm a very young student. My Indonesian female friend said I really don't look older than 25 or late 20's to her. Older rural people in China and Thailand are also not surprised. The farther away they are from a major big city, the less likely they are to question my age.

But in Taipei, graduate students keep calling me "Laoshi" (teacher). So what's with urban NE Asians, usually urban folks from their teens to 40's, who think that simply because I don't look like an androgynous prepubscent boy that I must be 30 or older?

Just last week, a 21-year-old Chinese girl from Shenzhen literally refused to believe my age even after I pulled out my drivers license with my date of birth on it. She then accused me of using a fake ID. First time someone literally refused to believe my age, but usually they'd say, "Um, really? But you look so mature!" I keep getting this all the time, and it is annoying to keep trying to explain that maybe it's because Americans tend to eat more meat and milk laden with mystery growth hormones, which is the best I can do. And what do I have to do to look they way they want me to look - Pull out my balls or suck testosterone out of my blood, and start talking like a squeaky little boy?

I am slim, athletic, don't have wrinkles or bad skin, have a head full of hair, and am decent-looking. But I have to shave everyday unlike many Asian guys, have somewhat tanner skin, am quite tall, have a deep voice. I look pretty much like the opposite of Winston. To them, not looking like a metrosexual prepubescent guy would be "looking old," but to other people these would be normal masculine traits for a guy in his early or mid-20's.
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Re: Asians overestimating my age

Postby zboy1 » Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:41 pm

I have the opposite problem with Asians: they vastly underestimate my age. What gives? Haha...

Falcon, it's true that most NE Asian men look young and not physically mature compared to other races. It's mostly genetics, I guess...Whites and Blacks are more physically dominating than Asians, on the other hand, they also tend to age the quickest and fastest, while most Asians maintain their youthful looks as they become older.
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Re: Asians overestimating my age

Postby Rock » Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:51 pm

Interesting that you bring that up. Cus I remember the Taiwan girl we talked to at Eslite Bookstore also pegged you as 30s.

You're right that you don't have wrinkles, falling/white hair or other obvious agin signs. Nor did Winston. Actually, Winston appeared to have a boyish look during his Russia periods even though he was already 30s then. You may already look more mature now then he did then.

30 something NE Asian guys tend to show age in very subtle ways which are hard to pin down with concrete adjectives. But, observers in NE Asian countries will still peg them as 30 somethings thanks to the marvel of human right brain powers which pick up on such subtleties.

I would say maybe the lower face of 30 something NE Asian tends to fill out a bit, the mouth might start to turn down at ends, or their qi just might be more mature and serious. In contrast, the 20 something NE Asian guy looks very fresh, with boyish vibe, often accompanied by a face resembling an inverse triangle and underdeveloped lower/jaw region.

You Falcon are probably an old soul type. You facial expression (mouth and eyes) are very serious and you've got a bit of facial pudge (which depending on other factors can look either teens or 30s lol). You don't carry the lightheartedness of youth in your aura. I rarely see you laugh and your smile is kinda adult geeky lol.

Maybe cus the only places I saw you were Taipei and Bangkok, you looked more mature and serious. Could it be I need to watch you in your element down in the jungles of Indonesia or the rural parts of Mexico to see your boyish side come through? Or maybe you are just serious in front of me cause you have this silly notion that I'm some kinda Taiwan uncle figure hahaha.
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Re: Asians overestimating my age

Postby Rock » Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:06 pm

zboy1 wrote:I have the opposite problem with Asians: they vastly underestimate my age. What gives? Haha...

Falcon, it's true that most NE Asian men look young and not physically mature compared to other races. It's mostly genetics, I guess...Whites and Blacks are more physically dominating than Asians, on the other hand, they also tend to age the quickest and fastest, while most Asians maintain their youthful looks as they become older.


Black guys in their 40s and 50s very often are the best agers by far. Sometimes, the only telltale signs are some white in their hair or beards which if they wanted, could be dyed out. For example, Denzel Washington looked great in mid-to-late 40s and Chris Rock still looks about the same at 50 as he did at 30. I've seen so many blacks like that, both in USA and elsewhere.

NE asian guys often get pudgy in lower face (and tummy) by late 30s and this tissue tends to start sagging subtly before 40. They sometimes get wrinkles too tho not nearly as harsh as typical Norther Euro whites do. And they get eyebags too.

Blacks are blessed with very thick sun resistant skin which protects their face, neck, and other exposed body regions and also higher T which helps keep their lean body tissue relatively robust as advanced aging kicks in.
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Re: Asians overestimating my age

Postby The_Adventurer » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:33 pm

No kidding! Not sure where he got the idea of blacks raging the fastest. Aside from some grey in his hair, Djimon looks exactly the same as when he started doing movies in the 90's. When I go to a uni to teach, I get asked what I am studying. Also, when I tell taxi driers to take me to the uni they ask what I study.
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Re: Asians overestimating my age

Postby WorldTraveler » Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:58 am

Falcon wrote:I am slim, athletic, don't have wrinkles or bad skin, have a head full of hair, and am decent-looking. But I have to shave everyday unlike many Asian guys, have somewhat tanner skin, am quite tall, have a deep voice. I look pretty much like the opposite of Winston. To them, not looking like a metrosexual prepubescent guy would be "looking old," but to other people these would be normal masculine traits for a guy in his early or mid-20's.


So how old do they think Winston is?

I hate that metrosexual look on guys. Real men try to look like men and not girly men. :evil:
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Re: Asians overestimating my age

Postby BlackKnight » Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:33 am

The_Adventurer wrote:When I go to a uni to teach, I get asked what I am studying. Also, when I tell taxi driers to take me to the uni they ask what I study.


They probably think you are just some poor African dude on student loans.
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Re: Asians overestimating my age

Postby Falcon » Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:18 am

Rock, of course you're an Asian uncle figure, and you are a very serious guy yourself so I don't feel the need to act silly in front of you.

I also have a more developed jaw and more manly facial features. Latinas and white girls will dig that.


You facial expression (mouth and eyes) are very serious and you've got a bit of facial pudge (which depending on other factors can look either teens or 30s lol). You don't carry the lightheartedness of youth in your aura. I rarely see you laugh and your smile is kinda adult geeky lol.


Because that's what Taiwanese adults, especially my strict, old-fashioned family, expects out of people. And I felt especially repressed in Taiwan, where acting happy and silly like Winston would be a no-no. I'm not always like that. Being in a NE Asian environment just causes me to be like that because everyone expects you to be serious.

You should have seen the silly, funny, boyish side of me come out in the Philippines. Totally opposite of what I would be in Taiwan. Filipinas have asked me why I look so happy and fresh. Remember that Visayan girl whom you said has 夫妻臉 (matching couple face) with me? She actually asked me if Taiwanese people are also happy and sociable like me. I said they're actually generally serious people and she asked me why that was the case.

As for why I might be more of an old soul? Well first of all I never fit in with my peers, usually have older friends, and have been through a lot. Lots of experiences, travels abroad, and different perspectives just molds you into a different kind of person.
Last edited by Falcon on Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Asians overestimating my age

Postby Falcon » Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:36 am

I think it comes down to: Do you have a baby face or not?

In some places, people tend to lose baby faces relatively early on (such as Latinos and Arabs), at maybe age 20 at the latest. I know a short Asian guy with a baby face, who said that when he traveled in Morocco, he would get propositioned by men because they associate that look with gay guys.

I have the opposite problem with Asians: they vastly underestimate my age. What gives? Haha...


From your photos on WeChat, you have a more boyish look too, and still have a baby face. Light-skinned, baby-like face with little or no facial hair. Winston also did in his early 30's.

Even if someone with some facial hair shaves everyday, you can still tell because they would have stubs, but you and Winston don't have them.

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoteny
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Re: Asians overestimating my age

Postby Falcon » Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:47 am

Cus I remember the Taiwan girl we talked to at Eslite Bookstore also pegged you as 30s.


A few months before we met that Eslite girl (that time when I met you in Bangkok), my Isaan GF would actually treat me like a little boy fresh out of high school and tell me things that moms might tell their kids when they are about to go off to college (study hard; you're still young; take care of yourself). In her area of Isaan (rural Srisaket Province), people age quite fast due to laborious outdoor work in the sun, such as street vending and farm work. By age 30, they might have very rugged looks, like what you see with taxi and tuk-tuk drivers in Thailand, many of whom are actually only in their late 20's or 30's, but already have wrinkles and rough, dark skin.

My Indo GF also affectionately called me "little boy" a lot.

But many Taiwanese people would treat me like a teacher, not like some kid fresh out of high school.


30 something NE Asian guys tend to show age in very subtle ways which are hard to pin down with concrete adjectives. But, observers in NE Asian countries will still peg them as 30 somethings thanks to the marvel of human right brain powers which pick up on such subtleties.


Yes, I have asked them to name specific features that make me look older, and they could never name any of them. They could only say that I "look" or "feel" or "act" more mature and couldn't go more into detail either. They'd say, "hen nan jieshi" (hard to explain).

In the WeChat group, I heard all the Asian guy's voices too (Winston, Ethan_sg, zboy, bao3niang). They all had a boyish sound that wouldn't be very deep (especially Baoniang and Winston), while mine was obviously not boyish and sounded markedly different, which might sound maybe even a bit African-like haha. I remember in 9th grade, Asian guys would make fun of my deep voice, since the rest of them would obviously sound like boys.

I can also imitate West African men's voices and accents pretty well, which would be hard to do if you naturally have a boyish-sounding voice. Even if an Asian guy with a more boyish sound were to speak perfect Nigerian Pidgin English on the phone, people would be able tell that something's off by his voice quality and timbre. But if I were to do so, I'm pretty sure people wouldn't suspect an Asian guy's actually behind the phone. Listen to online audio recordings of people speaking random languages, and you should be able to easily tell the African voices apart from the Asian voices. Try listening to them at http://www.bible.is/bible

http://www.bible.is/VIECOV/Matt/5/N (Vietnamese)
http://www.bible.is/PCMTSC/Matt/5/D (Nigerian Pidgin)

Some Japanese men, especially the more masculine and hairier ones who likely have some Jomon/Ainu blood, also sound like this. Or like those authoritative-sounding Chinese officials and emperors in historical Chinese movies, haha.
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