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Nadia Brickhouse 05 May 2015

The How Old Do I Look? App Violates Lebanese Social Contract

People in Lebanon are always telling me I look younger than I am. “How old are you?” people demand to know. I tell them my age. “You look younger,” is always the response. While I always knew people were saying it to be polite – at the same time, I believed it. I’d smugly applaud myself for my regular facials. All that overpriced lotion with the stem cells I’ve been buying at the pharmacy? So worth it. No plastic surgery needed for this face. Merci, Mother Nature.

Of course, as the ritual goes in Lebanon, when someone tells you that you look younger than whatever age you tell them, you are obligated to return the favor. “Do I look older or younger?” this question, by social contract, must always be met with an emphatic, “YOUNGER! Ekkid, Younger!!” That is, if you ever want to remain in your questioner’s good graces.

Today I found out the cold hard truth: this whole time, everyone has been lying to me – the same way I have been lying to everyone else. I look exactly as old as I am, if not a few years older, even. I know thanks to the “how do I look app” – which is of course the hottest and newest way for us to feel terrible about ourselves on the internet.

Thank you internet, you never-ending black vortex of assholery.

Even Haifa Wehbe does not look younger than she is. In fact, she looks a full year older than her 39 years, at least according to the app.

Of course, subtract a few years if you’re looking at the photo-shopped album cover.

Renowned Lebanese actor Mia Khalifa looks exactly 22 but not younger. So if you see her and she asks, do I look older or younger? You are obligated to say “In fact, you look exactly the age that you are.”

According to the app, Saad Hariri looks 38 in this picture (which is younger than 45) – which leads me to believe that the Hariris rigged the app to protect Saad’s ego. “No, hayete, you look younger. Much younger.”

Which is more than we can say for legendary journalist Robert Fisk, who doesn’t even get a face.

Fans of Samir Geagea will be pleased to know that the sexy former warlord in fact does look younger than he is (IRL he is 62). Geagea’s secret fountain of youth? The replica of a prison cell he keeps in his home, which he slows time when he sits in it.

The dashing Al Jazeera presenter and national treasure Mister Lebanon Rabih el zein looks 33 but really he’s younger.

In the end I think it’s important that we remember a few important facts about life. One is that we can’t all look younger than we are. By definition, some of us would have to look younger and some of us would have to look older.

Another thing is that despite the cult of youth that pervades every facet of post-modern society, it’s important to remember that all of us, being mortal, will in fact, die some day. So do we really want to spend any more of our precious time here obsessing over this damn app?