June 26th, 2009
I don’t understand fashion. When I think that I automatically grow a new gray hair and reach for my imaginary cane to shake at the neighbor kids. But, I really don’t get it. Granted I was in my late teens/early twenties during the Cobain/Seattle grunge anti-beauty period where you were considered hot in slightly oversized men’s 501’s with a white t-shirt and a flannel around your waist. My mom probably looked at me the same way that I look at my teenage students and the twenty-something girls on the street. She probably thought I looked sloppy and messy and that the music I listened to reconstituted noise. I get that, and I still don’t get fashion.
For one thing, I don’t understand who is supposed to fit into those super low cut booty jeans that are only fashionable if they are three sizes too small. And I want to know who made the undershirt longer than the overshirt thing sexy, and another thing you young people (insert shake of cane and four new gray hairs) who is doing your makeup? Back in my day it was considered sexy to roll out of bed, skip the deodorant and rub your face in the dirt. Okay, maybe not the dirt – unless of course you were on your way to Burning Man, in which case it was a pre-requisite.
The booty jeans that are cut down to cervix level only serve to accentuate any and all loose skin in the belly region, thus creating muffin tops on girls who weigh like 90lbs. I watch my students all day struggling to sit down, walking like they’re in an 18th century corset, all in the name of beauty.
It’s my assertion that beauty, like time, is relative. In the same way that a year to a six-year old is longer than my year, beauty takes on a relative place of importance. It ebbs like the ocean. When you’re a kid, it doesn’t matter at all. We wipe our noses on our arms, forget to bathe until our parents strap us into the bathtub, and our friends don’t care. But then that 15-30ish span of time hits where it consumes most, not all, of our thoughts and we do ridiculous things like pour ourselves into size 2 jeans while our size 8 ass screams in protest.
As I move slowly away from my late twenties and into my mid-thirties I find that physical beauty in men and women is more and more mysterious to me. Maybe one day I’ll be in a place where I really can honestly say I don’t notice and I truly base my first impressions on character, sense of humor and honesty. I’m not there yet. Right now, I’m too busy trying to figure out how women can walk in those three-inch heels to even give a second thought to anything else.
And who knows? Maybe the Disney boy bands will be replaced with the new wave of grunge rockers and my flannel shirts will once again be in style. I could be fashionable yet.