Age Like Fine Wine, and Own It

Oct 1 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew

There is the view that women should either have to shave off a couple of years (or a decade) from their age or not say at all how old they are when asked. It is not necessarily a bad thing. But neither is it completely harmless. It is said that age is just a number but that is not always the case, especially when it comes to women.

There is a saying in Ethiopia. It goes, “you don’t ask a woman’s age or a man’s salary.” It is hard to say where it came from but it seems that it is an unwritten law. I assumed that it only applied to the older generation but I am wrong. Most women, including celebrities, hide their age or refrain from saying how old they are. I find it funny. There are many things we could and should keep to ourselves, partly because it is none of anybody else’s business. But our age should be the last thing we hide because, in most cases, it makes no difference.

I saw a clip of a woman being asked about her age and the year she admitted to being born in and her age do not match; there is a good six years' difference. This shows us that either the lady is a bad liar or terrible at math. What is even funnier was how much she resisted she was six years older.

Why did she feel the need to lie about her age?

I get why men hide their salary. After all, in the traditional sense at least, the male partner is the breadwinner of a family. Saying how much their salary is could be similar to divulging information about a household’s finances, which is not always a good thing – least of all for reasons of safety. When it comes to women, those looking to get married or start a family may find that age could be a factor. Claiming one is younger supposedly makes them more attractive to men, or more desirable for marriage, especially in this culture where there is an obsession with being young.

But what about those who are already married or are not even looking for a relationship? Why do they have phobias when it comes to disclosing their ages?

Perhaps it has to do with the mainstream culture that insists on the sanctity of being young. The aging process is depicted in movies, music and art as an unsightly process where people become less attractive, their skin loose, their wit dull and their health subpar. A daily dose of propaganda in the name of youth can make it seem like growing older is something to be feared and a shame to be hidden. In reality, this is not true. It is just a different chapter of life; not necessarily a bad one.

I have never hidden or lied about my age. It is preferable to appear young than claim it falsely. It is better to take care of oneself, eat right and exercise. By taking care of ourselves, we age slowly and stay fit and healthy longer. This way, when people learn how old we are, they will be amazed that we do not look anything like our age.

When they ask us for our secrets, we can say “like fine wine, I get better with time,” with a smirk on our faces. Ladies, let us start owning our ages and be proud of it. It is not just a number; it is our story, our ups and downs, the lessons we learned, our achievements, failures and trials. Everything that makes us who we are is our age.

Why should we hide the number of years we spent on this earth? There is very little cause to do so.

PUBLISHED ON Oct 01,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1170]

Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at

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