Why I enjoy teenage fashion.

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Return to the thrilling days of yesteryear, (if you got that reference, feel free to sigh) when fashions were goofy and geezers were outraged.

As far back as ancient Greece, kid’s fashions have annoyed their elders. Philosopher and grumpy old man, Socrates– who was also one of the first celebrities to go by one name- complained of “the mode of dressing the hair, deportment and manners in general,” when referencing “kids today.”

His student Plato, who was known to infuriate Socrates with his colorful togas, made note of his teacher’s words  in a high, shaky voice which made his friends laugh uproariously until Socrates showed up behind Plato unexpectedly.  I was at the forum, squealing at some visiting Anglo Saxon troubadours on that day so I can’t confirm or deny the above.

I can, however make a reasonable assumption that, as time rolled on, Plato grew older and crankier and was most likely outraged when his student, Aristotle showed up to class with his toga belt arrogantly tied in a double knot rather than the single, which all reasonable people wore.

Whether it’s short hair on women (flappers) long hair on men, (The Beatles), oversized drooping apparel, (thought I was talking about pants, dintcha?  Two words: Zoot Suits) or enormous shoulder pads, (me and everyone else who mixed up fashion and pro football in the eighties) fashion has long been the bane of parental and social outrage.  Why?  Short term memory is my best guess.

Flocks of former Boomers, (even those who danced naked in the mud at Woodstock), write letters to editors of newspapers, apparently unaware that no one will read said missives as they are printed in newspapers, bemoaning that kids today, despite taking the traditional drugs, rarely take off their clothes at music festivals and instead slide through the mud, fully clothed.  Damn kids.

Meanwhile, in Numbnuts, Ohio, former hippies are  gathering in the basements of town halls,  their voices trembling like Socrates’ as they rail  about the radical ne’er-do-wells who are destroying the American dream, if not all of civilization by venturing outside with a portion of their underpants readily visible to the naked (see what I did there?) eye. 

And then there are those who are elected to govern our great nation, those who are charged with distributing our tax dollars for the greater good or at least not purchasing hookers with it. These, one would assume, former teenagers pour their time down a drain of pointlessness by crafting laws that make it illegal for kids to look ridiculous.  And this is where I draw the line. I feel that it is my inalienable right as an American to surreptitiously observe  kids wearing their  pants belted below their buttocks and double over in mirth.

The style also aids law enforcement personnel.  Anyone who’s ever seen a few moments of COPS knows when a kid wearing more underwear than outer decides to run, he has two options: holding his jeans like a Victorian woman avoiding an unsightly stain on the hem of her gown while trotting along like Charlie Chaplin late for the talkies or removing the sagging excuse for pants to make a getaway which is nearly impossible due to their enormous (and hilarious) shoes.

On a more generous note, those of us that came before should feel a deep sense of pity for those who have arrived on the scene thousands of years since the art of pissing off one’s parents by means of apparel began.  With each passing generation the offspring of the previous offspring must rack their minds to come up with new and fabulous instruments of torture for the people who gave them life. Some lazy brats have even resorted to recycling the ideas of their elders.

In order to fuel the imagination of our grandchildren’s children in the art of parental disapproval, I have personally developed a program which will encourage the current little sweethearts and dudes to be imaginative in the art of provoking seizures in the greying set.   Rather than wither and die with embarrassment when a child unveils his fiendish wardrobe , what if parents waited expectantly to see what their once Osh-Kosh-B-Gosh clad prodigy defines as “out of the question” and then clapped happily, heaping praise on their son’s and daughter’s inventiveness.

Imagine the possibilities, the letters to the editor, the hours of laughter.  One can only dream.

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About jamiegreco

I'm a freelance writer and photographer living in the suburbs of Chicago. The people who pay me to write would be very unhappy if I turned in something irreverent so I get it out of my system here. Say nice things to me. Make your friends visit my page. Love me.

2 responses »

  1. Jamie: This is your best blog ever. Lots of great social commentary, told in a delightfully witty manner. This reminds me of something I read as a kid (but haven’t been able to verify). It said the oldest surviving document was from China many thousands of years ago. It was written by an old man who expressed his frustration at the younger generation. He said he feared for the future of the world knowing that today’s young people would eventually be in charge.

    • Why thanks! I love to trot out that quote when my mother says our generation has ruined everything. She specifically blames Dr. Spock. Then again, she thought Boomers invented orgies so…

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