Because I suspect there has always been such a thing as ...
The Generation Gap.
The problem is, young people insist on growing up, (the little ingrates) and they instinctively rebel against the restraints of childhood. Unfortunately, their chosen forms of self-expression and independence are rarely appreciated by the older generations. (Whose own means of self-expression weren't appreciated by their elders, either.) Don't believe me? Let's take a peek at some teenage fads over the years, shall we?
The older generation thought nothing of getting up at five every morning — and the younger generation doesn't think much of it, either. [John J. Welsh]
Of course, the twenties was the roaring era of flappers, jazz, raccoon coats, bright red lipstick, and the Charleston dance craze, too. Can you imagine how parents reacted to some of those trends? (gasp!) The girls even let their knees show!
It's hard for me to get used to these changing times. I can remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty. [George Burns]
Swallowing live goldfish was one of the most popular fads of the '40s. Believe it or not, some kids claimed the goldfish were still alive when they came back out. I dunno about that, but I think we can all agree to a certain ick factor in the notion of anyone turning a pet goldfish into a twitching mid-afternoon snack.
There is nothing wrong with today's teenager that twenty years won't cure. [unknown]
The fifties boasted much more (ahem) sensible teenage fads such as poodle skirts, saddle shoes, and bobby socks. (Anybody remember sock hops?) Lots of guys wore shiny black Cuban-heeled shoes... or had taps on their shoes, so they made a distinctively cool sound when they walked through the school halls. And don't forget turned-up collars, black chino pants, and form-fitting white tee shirts with a pack of Camels tucked into a rolled-up sleeve.
Panty raids got their start in the fifties, too. The first one took place on March 21, 1952, at the University of Michigan, when about six hundred male students stormed a girls' dormitory, and exited with a bountiful booty of swiped underwear. This invasive fad continued across the country for the rest of the decade, and then fizzled out in the '60s. Makes sense. I reckon when the era of free love blossomed, stealing undies seemed kinda lame... and tame... by comparison.
Another fad of the fifties was telephone booth stuffing, where just like it sounds... the object was to squeeze ever-increasing numbers of kids into telephone booths. Or into little cars. Whatever. Not the most pleasant experience for the kids at the bottom of the heap, I'm sure. And not too terribly popular with their parents, either.
There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I am old, there is no respect for age — I missed it coming and going. [J.B. Priestly]
Thanks largely to Madonna, fingerless lace gloves were all the rage in the '80s. Kinda cute, right? And harmless. I'm not sure if they started out as part of the Goth movement or not, but they certainly complemented the Goth look: all black clothes, dyed jet black hair, and even black nail polish and lipstick. Not my cuppa tea, but I guess that fad was harmless enough, too. They just looked like the leading edge of the walking dead. Come to think of it, I guess they more resembled vampires. Without the fangs.
Body piercing and prolific tattoos became ultra-popular in the nineties, and are both still common today.
Most of the fads since then have been pretty tame. Low-rise jeans. (No worse than the hot pants we used to wear... just longer.) Thongs. (AKA tush floss.)
But there is one fad that absolutely positively drives me up the wall. Finally, and to the point of this post, I present to you one fad, and I can't help but wonder if it's a worldwide phenomenon, or if American youth are the only ones infected with this bizarre manner of so-called self expression...
I present to you
the incomprehensible fad,
the fad driving adults nuts
from one end of this country
to the other.
I present the fad
I mean, really? Do you think that's... comfortable? Suppose those kids had to run? Lotsa luck with that, huh? Every time I see kids with their pants drooping below their drawers, my fingers start to twitch, and I'm seized with an almost uncontrollable urge to yank up their britches so hard, it gives 'em all atomic wedgies. And it seems I'm not alone. Check this out:
How about you? Do you get this fad? Contrary to some of the emails you may have seen about it originating in prison as a way for an inmate to let other inmates know he's available for certain activities, that's just a bum steer. Droopy britches may very well have originated in prisons because of ill-fitting pants and no belts to hold them up, but according to multiple sources, it didn't have anything to do with sexual availability. Still... why would young people want to emulate something that may have originated in prison anyway, whatever the meaning?
(Then again, maybe we should just be grateful these kids aren't wearing thongs...?)
This whole post was predicated by a cartoon created by an award-winning Australian cartoonist named Tim Whyatt. Not only is he funny, but he nailed the solution to this angst-inspiring fad of low-hanging pants and exposed skivvies in one of his cartoons. What's more, he agreed to let me share his cartoons with you from time to time, as long as I link back to his webpage and facebook page. Done... and done. Now, want to see his brilliant solution? I guarantee you it'd work if we of the older generations merely attempt to bridge that gap by joining into a united front... (heh, heh... and back...)
Tell me about your favorite... or least favorite... teenage fad. What did you do to drive your parents nuts? What did your kids... or grandkids... do to drive you nuts? Ready to bare your undies in a concerted effort to end the sagging trend once and for all?
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.
P.S. As a bonus, a fella from Atlanta sang this song on American Idol last year...
[Many thanks to wikipedia and morguefile for the images used in this post.]