President Obama turns 50 years old Thursday--prepare for another round of Style section stories nostalgic for the youthful guy who breezed through the 2008 campaign. Now, they'll say, Obama's graying. He has wrinkles. Well heads up, Style editors: You've got it all wrong. The President of the United States is still a kid. He probably can't even grow a beard.
Writing for The Hill in 2006, Betsey Rothstein chronicled a dilemma many lawmakers face: Give their faces a break and toss out the razor, or cave to the mob and shave their faces clean, as polls show voters prefer. But Obama, then a n00b U.S. Senator, didn't have to make that agonizing decision."I can’t grow facial hair," he told Rothstein. "I get whiskers." And look! Here he is Friday, when debt ceiling talks were at their darkest, with barely a hint of a 5 o'clock shadow. But Obama is not an old person trapped in a young person's body. Obama has a young person's sensibility. In fact, he's nearly aging backwards.
Witness the years melt away:
Young Professional: Here he is tweeting his first tweet in June. The adoption of social media isn't a sign of youth--lots of old fart politicians tweet. No, what's more important here is that it's clear Obama is a touch-typer, just like a generation of GChatters.
Younger Professional Concerned About the Fit of His First Business Casual Wardrobe: The president enjoying an Italian ice, a low-cal alternative to ice cream, in Philadelphia in June...
... And here he is, like so many young folks raised in a post-Atkins/macrobiotic world, unable to conceal his ambivalent relationship with carbs.
But the president only gets more Benjamin Buttonesque.
College student: The White House just announced that later this month, Obama will be going on a bus tour through the Midwest to talk about jobs. What's another word for bus tour? Roadtrip.
Teenage: He still gives gifts that he'd like to receive, like when he gave the Queen of England an iPod. Plus, he's not allowed to have rappers come over after school. Controversy erupted when the Obamas invited the rapper Common to the White House for a poetry night. Many Americans on blogs and Fox News disapprove of Common's music, but Obama insisted on listening anyway.
Tween: He reads comics. Here he is referencing Superman's dad, Jor-El, at a dinner for grown-ups.
Elementary school: Obama plays with light sabres.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.