Sue L
Is people's age private in your culture?

This is an interesting question. I think.

We all know that in English speaking countries, asking lady's age is impolite. But in Chinese culture, it's not a secret. However, the thing is, if you are an English native speaker and ask my age, maybe I will still think it's offensive, because I know that in your culture.

Then, how about other culture and countries, such as Spanish speaking countries, islamic countries and so on? I want to ask this because I met someone on this website from an islamic country who asked my age at the first time, which was soooo strange. But I do not know much about his culture, so I told him my age, since in China age is not a secret. I also have a friend from a Spanish speaking country who asked my age when we practiced speaking. But at that time, we are already language partners so it seemed quite normal, at least in Chinese point of view.

So, is people's age private in your culture? Or is only the lady's age a secret rather than that of men?

Cannot expect more than your reply and answer.

Mar 11, 2017 1:41 PM
Comments · 11
It might also be interesting to know how people feel about having one standard for women and another for men (if such a thing is the case in their culture), and *why* they feel the way they feel about that. In the UK (and probably also in the US to a slightly lesser degree), I think it's generally considered impolite to discuss a person's age if they look over a certain age. That probably begins around 25-30 (where it's only very mildly impolite, if at all) and then increases exponentially to middle-age and then drops off again towards very old age. There is probably a bias such that there's a heightened level of impoliteness when the subject is a woman. My feelings about that double-standard is that I'm ambivalent. There are pros and cons to being a woman just as there are pros and cons to being a man. As long as everyone's being treated equally in important matters then I think silly things like double-standards in politeness are neither here nor there. :) I think that it's obvious, and predictable, that people become more sensitive about their age around the time they approach and then pass what they consider to be their prime, especially sexually. The fact is, though, that the prime age differs from person to person, and is getting later in life as time goes on. Personally, I don't take age very seriously because I've seen far too many cases where the factors that actually define a person completely eclipse the effects that age are having on them. Lifestyle and character, for example, are far more significant factors in what makes you "you" than your age.
March 11, 2017

I think it depends on the person also. Even if in my culture, age isn't a private thing, there are people who feel impolite to ask people's age. Instead, better to call them by pronoun like Pak or Bu, Teh, Kang, etc. In my area, ask their age isn't for 'strange' goal but for know their position. If they younger, when meet people older, it means they have to say pronoun for older, consider how they should behave and vice versa. For me, especially when meet people on the Internet, better for me to check their profile in general before dealing with them, so I can guess what kind of people they are and give me information about them not for other goals.

And maybe your guess are right.

March 12, 2017

Thank you very much for all your participation, but sorry, this website does not allow me to reply one by one here.


It seems that in many cultures, except some English speaking countries, age is not private. And even in English speaking countries, not all kinds of age are secrets, which really broadens my horizon!


Another thing is that, maybe people's attitudes towards age these days are not so conservative as before, right? At least I guess so.

March 12, 2017

In America it is rude to as someone over 18 their age, especially women.

March 11, 2017
I think that is associated with  culture of youth. Where everybody want to be young
March 11, 2017
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