Cheryll's Writing Journal

Musings, rants and ravings, plus gems of insight nobody wants to hear now that I've finally got them. Also neat stuff I found on the 'Net when I should have been updating this blog....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Some Thoughts on Fashion

(see more funny dog pictures)

As you may well remember from how I embarrassed you all in your teen years, my sense of fashion is not always in line with the current trends...

What you may not know is that I actually tried a lot of that female stuff -- make up, shaving legs, hair curlers (in my case to straighten out the curl), wigs -- and it just wasn't for me. Mainly, it took way too much time morning and evening to deal with make up and hair styles that my hair just wasn't designed to be.

Alas, in the 1960's my hair was way too curly to tease and paste into beehive hair sculpture. Then in the 1970s, when long straight locks partly covering the face (ala Veronica Lake of old movies) were all the thing, I couldn't do that, either. And forget the smooth, gleaming pageboy style: mine was too curly!

On my twentieth birthday, I actually went into a department store to the make up counter and took all their advice and bought a bunch of stuff, which I tried diligently to use. But that only lasted about two weeks.

At that time, I was in college studying for a biology degree, which meant I had lots of 3 hr science labs, and was in class from 8am to 6pm four days a week. Plus half days Fridays and Saturdays. There was just no time in my schedule for regular meals, let alone make up! If I hadn't been living at home, where Mom fed me a decent dinner every night, I don't know what would have happened to me.

I know that you girls were sort of shocked about my not shaving my legs, but back when I would have learned how to do so, we had pretty lousy equipment, which meant hours of work every week, and pain -- plus, there was the issue that as a field biologist out in fields a lot, it pays to be able to feel what's crawling up your pants leg before it bites you! Without hair on your legs, you can't feel 'em.

Eventually, I looked up from my books and microscope long enough to notice women's lib and other liberating ideologies and realized that shaving body parts (which is very extreme these days, compared to back then) is sort of kinky.

I mean, the desired effect seems to be that a woman should look like she is prepubescent -- that is, like an 8 year old. Except that she must have big boobs, so the image would be lactating child. How weird is that?!

And it turns out that I have very sensitive skin, in addition to being too busy and too lazy to invest the hour or two every day to applying and removing all that paint. And by my 30's I was also allergic to most perfumes.

So, I have been spared much labor and expense, LOL.

I did, in my 40s, actually get my ears pierced. Most painful experience of my life, bar none (including childbirth, because that only lasts a few hours). It took six weeks before I was pain free, and the first couple nights I couldn't even sleep for the throbbing ears. I can't imagine what it would have been like if I had actually developed an infection! And to think, I was assured by everyone that it either didn't hurt at all, or would only sting a bit for a few days. Hah!

For about a dozen years I wore lovely ear rings, but once I quit working, I felt no need to put on jewelry, and mostly forgot about the holes in my ears. And even if I did want to start wearing jewelry again, there is the memory of all that pain to deter me from trying to reopen the holes...

The current fashion of punching holes in other parts of the body does not entice me. Too much clinical biology, I guess, to want to encourage infection (which I see very often in young people who either didn't do the piercing correctly, or fail to maintain a good standard of cleanliness).

The comedian George Carlin says it well (from his book, Brain Droppings): "...the piercing movement is off to a good start, and I like the idea behind it: self-esteem through self-mutilation. I've always said, when in doubt, punch a hole in yourself."

Perhaps good self-esteem and personal hygiene go hand in hand, and many of the folks most pierced show other evidence of very poor self-esteem...but I'm only going by what I see on the street. What is amazing to me is that this generation of teens has people in it who are into the clothing options from MY teen years! Hippy, flower child, goth, beatnik, etc. The only changes they seem to have made is to make it a bit more extreme than my parents would have allowed, and to add electronics.

But maybe kids in Ann Arbor are from wealthier families than my friends and I were, LOL. Not only did our parents have say over what we wore, they also refused to buy all the coolest fashions for us. We were deprived of expensive clothing and shoes that we would just outgrow in 3 months -- and, we were required to take care of the clothes we did have!

And grunge was not tolerated, unless we were painting the barn or cleaning out the basement. Your family had a community standing that must be maintained, and one inflexable rule was that children must not give anyone cause to think they or their family, were "shif'less and no 'count."

Perhaps things have changed. Then again, maybe not. Much of the muttering I do sounds a LOT like what I heard my parents and grandparents growling, back in the day...

Maybe I'm just caught up in the generation gap, just like my parents were, just like their parents, and their parents, and theirs...



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