I’m in my twenties now, and aside from being ineligible to run for president, my days of not being old enough to do things are pretty much over. This is, of course, pretty effing great since I found most age restrictions frustrating when I was a teenager. It’s not like I was furious that I couldn’t buy cigarettes or legally get wasted, but some age limits quickly seemed unfair and impractical, and even though those years are behind me, I still think many of them are unfair and impractical. Perhaps even moreso than I did when I was younger.
Teenagers actually have more rights than you might think, but there are still some serious limitations. From drinking to driving around with your friends, here are eight of the most frustrating age restrictions. (For the record, these are all American-centric and naturally don’t apply to age limits everywhere.)
Can't Buy A Drink Until You're 21-Years-OldDid you know that the drinking age limit used to be different from state to state? Yeah, back in the '70s some 18-year-olds could easily buy a six-pack of beer. Personally, I didn't really drink as a teen, so I didn't care about not being old enough to buy alcohol. That is, until I came back to the states after studying abroad in London. I was 20-years-old and was able to drink freely in the UK, but I came back to the US with a few months left until I turned 21. I suddenly felt so infantilized by the fact that I couldn't even buy a glass of wine! People under 21 are going to have access to alcohol no matter what, but I understand why making it tougher for young people to have access to alcohol isn't the worst idea. Still, it's interesting to see how other countries allow drinking at earlier ages than the US. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Can't Drive With People Under 20-Years-Old Within The First Year Of Having A Driver's LicenseI can't guarentee if this is the case in every state, but when I got my driver's license in California, I checked out the small print on the back of it. It said, "First 12 months of licensure may not transport passengers under age 20 and may not drive between the hours of 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM without parent/other driver." Now, I never really broke the law as a teen...except for this one. WTF, not being able to drive in a car with my friends? Not being able to drive at night? What if there's a party late at night and a friend needed a lift home? What if I just wanted to drive around with some friends? This was definitely a law I was so against that I just...er...didn't pay attention to it. Whatever. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Can't Hang Out At The Mall Without An AdultA strict curfew sounds freeing compared to the rules that dozens of malls have implemented over the past few years. Yes, there are malls out there that require anyone under 18-years-old to be accompanied by someone over the age of 21. I wish this was a joke. This isn't just annoying for teens, either. I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty sure my parents would be frustrated by the prospect of having to play chaperone to me and my friends at the mall, too. Skins
Can't Buy Cigarettes Until You're 21While you can normally buy cigarettes at age 18 throughout the United States, here in New York City you have to be 21-years-old to buy a pack of cigarettes. Honestly, cigarettes are terrible for you so any little bit that helps limit access to them probably isn't all that bad. But it's a little wild to me that by 21 you can join the army, buy a gun, and drive a killing machine known as a car...but can't smoke a cigarette. Hmm...
18/21 And Over GigsIf you go to concerts a lot, you've definitely felt the burn of not being able to attend an 18 and over or 21 and over concert...unless you go with your parents which, uh, please no. To be honest, it's hard to care about this much once you get older, but I still have sympathy for my teen concert goers. Just put an X on the hands of underage kids and keep it movin'. YouTube/Sonic Youth
Not Being Able To See An R-Rated Movie Without An AdultHey, did you know that it isn't actually against the law to roll up into an R-rated movie without an adult if you're under 17? That's just a guideline from the Motion Picture Association of America, and movie theaters decide to follow it. But, still, is it just me or is half the content that is restricted to R-rating territory really easy to find on TV with a TV-14 or MA rating? Why the hell should a 16-year-old not be allowed to watch a movie that's rated R because of cursing when we hear a lot more curse words in an average day than in a 90 minute movie? Weird. The Diary Of A Teenage Girl
Can't Catch An Uber, Lyft, Etc Under The Age Of 18In a way, I kind of get it. These companies are already in enough hot water after their drivers do something ridiculous, so they probably don't want another liability by allowing kids or teens to use their app. But I can see why this can be frustrating, too. I was 17-years-old when I started college and I depended on cabs to get back home late at night if I was by myself...and regular ol' cabs definitely don't have age restrictions. What if you need to get back home safely after a party or something? Eh, what do you guys think? iStock
Can't Rent A Car Until You're 25-Years-OldOkay, I know this isn't as controversial as some of the other options, but it's still a bummer. To be fair, you can technically rent a car if you're under 25-years-old, but you have to pay a lot more money! This was definitely a pain in the butt for me recently because my boyfriend and I were going on mini getaways and I wasn't allowed to be listed as a driver without shelling out extra money...even though I've had a driver's license since I was 16-years-old. Ugh. Clueless
Which age restriction bugs you the most? Do you think that any current age restrictions are totally fair? Tell us in the comments!