I Am Fifteen Years Old

I Am Fifteen Years Old

My friend lives 13 miles away from my house. I take four different public transportation lines to get there. Over this hour-long trip, I see new people of all ages ranging from about 10 to 50 years old who take Septa daily, like me. Nine out of ten times, men assume that I am a lot older than I am based on my appearance. They say my dark long hair and makeup makes me physically look older. My tight fitting clothes make me look more flattering which can come off as grown. My straight posture and focused but kind facial expressions make me look mature. I’m only fifteen but men are ignorant.

This one day was a terrible day to go to my friend’s house. Because I didn’t want to spend $2.50 on the bus, I decided to walk to the subway. As I walked along Oregon, a small white Honda filled with college boys honked at me. “Hey sexy lady, why don’t you come in the car with us?” yelled a scrub in the passenger side but then drove off in a rush. I paid them no mind like I usually do when this happens. I didn’t think a tank top and ripped jeans was showy compared to my other outfits.

“Mmhhh, you looking real good there sweetheart,” a 40 year old man says as his eyes followed me slowly trying to take me in. I focused myself towards the subway entrance and ignored the very annoying perverted man. At the time, I wondered if he would still have said that if he knew I was only in my first year of highschool.

I skipped down the flight of stairs only to be glared at by strangers. The subway pulls up and I always go for the middle carts. The moment the doors opened up at Snyder, I could sense this man’s attention locked on me. He settled himself across from me. I just stared down at my feet and then looked up to catch glimpses of this man gazing at me. He was obviously lost in his thoughts. I wondered if would he still be imagining things involving me if he knew I was fifteen? I waited for the subway to fully stop before getting up to prevent myself from falling. I could see that he looked surprised when this was my stop and proceeded to look at me until the subway moved on.

Hundreds of people shifted themselves into the tiny staircase of Exit 3. When I get to the top, I take a right and go straight until I get to the other staircase. From there, I go all the way up and then take a left to the end and then another left to go down the staircase. Here, I stood against a pole as I waited for the next L to come. A group of people from the southbound BSL came flowing in. A short man, around in his thirties, stands beside me. We remained in silence for about a minute until he complimented my hair.

“Thank you,” I smiled politely.

He continued to talk about his mother and his tattoos. Basically anything to keep my attention to hit on me. I attempted so many times to end our conversation. That day, the L decided to take it’s precious time getting to me. It’s like everything that day wanted to make me suffer. When the L rolled up, the man asked me where I was going. I told him that I’m on my way to school. He then questioned what college do I go to and I told him I was a freshman.

“A freshman in college?” he asked.

I responded, “No, in high school.”

“Wait so how old are you?” he said surprisingly.


“Oh my gosh! I thought you were 21 or 22. You look so much older like I thought you were an adult.” He awkwardly said his goodbyes and parted ways.  

I can’t blame people for what they think of me. This society is stuck on what a “older” female should look like. But I’m not trying to look older and I don’t do it for attention. I have a passion for fashion and my style is popularly shared among older women. The way I speak can also make people believe that I’m older because I’m not afraid to speak out and I have manners. Kids are usually rude and wild so older men wouldn’t try to approach them. The idea of what’s right and wrong for young and old people is so broad and controversial that we should just do what fulfills our own happiness. But the intentions of naive men shouldn’t have to get in my way of doing me.

Comments (3)

Azirah Bowman (Student 2020)
Azirah Bowman

I understand what happens in your life. I go through the same thing, they think we are older than what we really are and get surprised when they find out the truth. Just try to ignore them and keep moving.

Assirem Hosni (Student 2020)
Assirem Hosni

i learned your age and it told me a lot about her personality. it shows her response to attention and shows how she feels towards it. i personally can definitely relate to her experiences. I enjoyed the reflection at the end, a great way to summarize the story as a whole.

Mayah Gold (Student 2020)
Mayah Gold

Monie I love your essay SO much! It touches on topics of expectations and stereotypes of women in society, as well as all of the gross catcalling that you have been through. I learned that a lot of people think you are much older than they think, and how you deal with that. Furthermore, your writing style makes the essay flow in a steady way so I want to know what happens next. Keep kicking butt!!