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to assume that a teen is married to a middle aged man?

251 replies

Asianfemale · 28/03/2021 21:32

My middle-aged white DH was in a large computer store getting his and my laptops repaired. Our mixed race (but looking more Asian than white) teenage DD came with him for company. DH mentioned that one of the laptops belonged to his wife. Without skipping a bit the engineer asked DD to describe what was wrong with her computer assuming that she was the wife.
DD was really embarrassed and walked away. DH says it happened before and he is worried that she wouldn't want to be seen with him in the future.
Innocent mistake or WTF? Would that happen if DH was out with a white teenager? Has this happened to you? AIBU to be concerned?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

AliceMcK · 28/03/2021 22:48

I wouldn’t be concerned, your DD may feel awkward for a while but I don’t think it will stop her wanting to spend time with her dad.

I definitely think it’s an Asian thing and they think she’s a mail order bride. I don’t believe your DD could have looked older than her age, I don’t know any Asians that do. My best friend gets it with her white partner, they are the same age, shes far more educated and intelligent than him but because she looks younger she’s had the looks.

Unfortunately it’s a nasty stereotype that you are just going to have to get use to. Maybe play on it to embarrass the people making the judgements. If that was my dad he’d probably come back with something quick like not this wife I’m sending this one back as she’s not as described on the package, my other wife...

apalledandshocked · 28/03/2021 22:49

I can see why you would mention her looking Asian - I know that there are a lot of unhelpful cliches about older men and younger asian partners. Plus I think people struggle sometimes to identify age in people from other ethnicities which can be a bit racist in itself. Sort of a variation on "they all look the same to me". But it can also just be an honet mistake/lack of familiarity. Plus I hate to say it but sadly (for me) people with very fair skin do often age more visibly than people with either afro-carribean or Asian genes.
But also, it can be an honest mistake. I can remember once as a teenage waitress taking an order from 2 (white) people at the table and the man saying "beer for me and a vodka for her" Me: "OK, Ill bring those", him "hah, hah I was joking, my daughters only 14"* etc etc. If you are tired, on autopilot, cant be bothered to look properly, not very observant it is easy for these things to happen. Plus the face masks wont have helped. So I would be inclined to think, this time, it was just someone being unobservant.

*Not that I actually would have served a 14 year old alcohol. I mean Im sure i would have realised... but it looked really bad

annacondom · 28/03/2021 22:50

I think you're overthinking it, OP, especially as they would've been wearing masks. The sales person made a hasty assumption based on what they'd been told.

CakesOfVersailles · 28/03/2021 22:53

Aww your poor DD. I had that assumption a few times in my teens and early 20s - super gross. We looked the same race and in my opinion it was pretty clear we were related!

One extremely memorable time a close elderly family friend (who didn't have her glasses on) avoided us at a shop - she had seen us walk in together sharing an umbrella and as I clearly wasn't my mother (different height, hair colour etc) she assumed my father was having an affair...!

I can laugh about it now but it was mortifying, I was only 13 or 14.

But I feel a bit sorry for the sales assistant - because like @tyranny says if your DH had been shopping with a young wife it would have been wrong for the salesman to keep talking to your DH about her laptop with her present.

PeggyHill · 28/03/2021 22:54

You're over thinking it.

He mentioned his wife and was standing next to what the cashier thought was an adult woman, so he made the assumption. Nothing more to it.

annacondom · 28/03/2021 22:55

My friend and I met an American couple when we were on holiday in Italy. The man introduced the woman as his daughter, and I was a bit surprised as they looked about the same age, but of course I didn't say anything. Later on, the woman told us they were man and wife and that he did this for his own amusement. She said that once, someone had believed him and he hadn't liked it! (But this hadn't stopped him!)

unim · 28/03/2021 22:56

I had a computer sales guy refer to my boyfriend as my dad once. He was only 10 years older than me! I wanted to sink into the ground!

WitchesBritchesPumpkinPants · 28/03/2021 22:57


Thank you RatsolutelyFabulous Tinydinosaur RosieGuacamosie HarryLimeFoxtrot Lilao whatswithtodaytoday
It is creepy regardless of race, but in a strange way reassuring to know that this could happen with white women too.
To those who ask what it has to do with being Asian, unfortunately, when you are not white and something strange happens, more often that not it is to do with your race.

Or as has happened here, you ASSUME it's due to race.
Walkaround · 28/03/2021 22:57

Pfft. I’ve made the opposite assumption before and it turned out she was his Asian wife, not his daughter. It sort of depends on context and, to be fair, any wrong assumption can cause embarrassment or offence. I remember babysitting for a friend of my mother’s as a teenager and being embarrassed when pushing the baby round the nearby park that a woman assumed the baby was mine (I was only 14). I remember thinking I was glad my father was not with me at the time, because assuming he was the father would have been even more embarrassing! These things happen.

FiddlefigOnTheRoof · 28/03/2021 22:58

While it was probably an innocent mistake, given masks, the fact he’s discussing wife’s computer etc, please do NOT feel that you are over thinking race issues.

As an East Asian woman in a mixed marriage with mixed race children, lots of behaviours I see towards us definitely have a race-input. Being sensitive and alert to these issues is protecting myself, my children and our family. It allows me to discuss things carefully with my mixed race children who will face completely different forms of racism to me. It isn’t ‘over thinking’ things to think carefully about them, even if you come to the conclusion that it wasn’t race-related.

apalledandshocked · 28/03/2021 22:58

Oh god, Ive just remembered going for dinner at a hotel as a teenager with my dad. My step-mum was meant to be meeting us but delayed, and the maitre d or whatever thought we were a couple. Envy . It was mortifying, but we are both white if that helps! And just shows that peoples minds are a bit gross (I was super young looking to so Envy . Although also my step-mum has been mistaken for my sister before (and its not as if there is a big age gap between her and my dad), which annoyed me hugely at the time. But I think people aren't very good at guessing ages if they arent paying attention.

fibeee · 28/03/2021 23:00

I wouldn’t be too concerned things like this happen and wrong assumptions can be made. A waiter referred to my young sister as my daughter once when we were out together. There’s a 7 year age gap between us. I couldn’t hide the horror I felt and the waiter was mortified Blush

steff13 · 28/03/2021 23:01

When I got my Costco membership a couple of years ago, the woman taking the photo for the card asked my "husband" (my 16-year-old son) if he wanted to get the photo taken for his card then too. I'm my mind it was a silly mistake, but maybe to an outsider he looked older than 16.

HelpMeh · 28/03/2021 23:01

I live in the Middle East and have the opposite problem here. I'll bump into an approaching retirement colleague in a supermarket and will assume he is with his daughter and grandchild. They will then be introduced as his wife and child...

MimiDaisy11 · 28/03/2021 23:01

That would have been so awkward for your husband and daughter, but I do know a few people who are all white who've had similar things. Like someone thinking their partner was their daughter and vice versa.

I think it can be a bit awkward for salespeople as when he mentioned about his wife's laptop then they likely thought the person's whose laptop he was speaking about could be the woman with him, and that it would be rude not to address her, otherwise it could seem like sexism. If they'd asked your husband and daughter how they were related that could be seen as discriminatory. Also, like others say it can be difficult with masks to get people's ages clearly. Also, they might have not taken a good look at your daughter so as not to be rude or because they weren't particularly focused.

LubaLuca · 28/03/2021 23:03

A couple of times I was mistaken for my dad's wife when I was a teenager - he's 30 years older than me and we're both white and act normally with each other.

honeylulu · 28/03/2021 23:06

Probably down to assumptions given that he'd just referred to his wife and adult looking female arrived ...

I was quite a grown up looking teenager and on one family day out when I was 14 my mum couldn't make it so my sister age 11 brought a friend (also 11) along. They were both small for their age and babyfaced. At the meal my dad ordered wine and the restaurant staff member poured a glass for me, assuming I was my dad's wife/girlfriend and "the girls" were my daughters/stepdaughters. I was mortified!

My dad has always been young looking though. My mum (medical profession) ran a surgical clinic from home. One day a patient looked out of the window and saw my dad mowing the lawn and said "aww Dr xxx, you're so lucky having your son at home to do that for you". My mum is 4 years younger!

On the flipside my husband was offended in the bank recently when the cashier referred to our daughter as his granddaughter. He is 60 though and she is 6 so fair enough really.

DarcyJack · 28/03/2021 23:06

Both white and I have certainly been mistaken for my dad's wife.

Comefromaway · 28/03/2021 23:09

It’s happened to me numerous times throughout my life, being mistaken for my dads wife. He is quite young looking.

My late 40s husband recently got ID’d for alcohol as the assistant couldn’t tell his age when wearing a face mask.

Some 15-18 year old girls look in their mid 20s and some 50 year old men look in their 30s - 40s. That wouldn’t be an unreasonable age difference.

TwinMumSuperHero · 28/03/2021 23:10

People are really rubbish at ages.

I was out with my sister and my two babies. A woman came over to my sister who was pushing the pram and talked to her for a while - then said something about me being Grandma! Twins have aged me slightly but I'm only 6 years older than her Confused

Same sister also had comments made to her about teenage mothers - she was 12 at the time with her 10 year old cousin Hmm

GinWithOlivesIn · 28/03/2021 23:11

I remember that happening to me in my late teens with my dad. I was pretty naive and didn’t notice but dad realised and it made him uncomfortable.

DarcyJack · 28/03/2021 23:11

It really isn't so terrible for your daughter but It is a bit of a shock to realise how other people see us. I always thought I was some glamourous princess as a teen and that my dad was some old git. I was very miffed to learn that others thought we were partnered up.

Saracen · 28/03/2021 23:13

I think it's very likely that race plays a role in such incidents.

In this particular case, it seems like an easy mistake to make. Man refers to his wife's laptop and has a female with him, so she could well be his wife. Especially during the pandemic, when people are discouraged from accompanying family members into shops unnecessarily. I would assume it must be her laptop or why would she have come in?

noblegreenk · 28/03/2021 23:13

I'm white and this has happened with my father on numerous occasions - he's 30 years older than me and as much as I love him he's not an especially good vintage! First time was when i was 19 and we were out shopping for a gift for my Mum. It also happened on a weekend away for his 60th. Another time, we went for a drink at a local pub (that neither of usually drink at) and everyone we spoke to assumed we were a couple.

NameChange74567 · 28/03/2021 23:13

DH has been mistaken for my dad on a few occasions. Similarly people have also thought my dad was my partner.

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