Just Sayin’: Fads, Fads and More Fads

As any of you who have visited any kind of a campus in the last  50 years knows, fads among the natives are alive and well. Having lived in the junior high melee for some 27 years, I’ve certainly seen my share. But, I maintain, we all succumb to fads everyday.

Probably the most visible fad adhered to by the largest percentage of the population is whatever hair style is “the thing”  at any given moment.

I remember my mother grousing about the ‘60’s hairstyle that was straight, (ironed in some cases) parted in the middle and worn so that it fell across the face leaving only a two inch slice on either side of the nose visible. I remember telling her, “just wait, Mom . . . it’ll change.” And sure enough, Farrah came along and suddenly every girl had to have the Farrah Feather. Of course, the ironed-straight hairdoo was in reaction to the over permed poodle cut that preceded that . . . which was in re . . . . well, you get the idea.

Then there’s the pony-tail. There have even been songs written about that one. And it seems to be the most enduring. It’s simple, it’s practical, it’s easy and accepted by most every group in at least some circumstances. Of course, as we get older, we tend to cut our hair shorter and shorter until a pony-tail is not possible. For that I am most grateful. Can’t imagine me, even without gray hair (hair coloring is an important part of my life) in a pony-tail.

But fads are not only the purview of the young . . . fads seem to be a mechanism of society for either excluding from or belonging to  a certain group. The extreme example would be the wearing of gang colors. Then there’s the Goth look or the “prep” look. But how about  those who want their look to say, “cowboy” or ‘”golfer” or “ladies who lunch”. . . Yup, bettcha everyone who reads this succumbs to a fad in some area of their dressing. Maybe better known as “style.”

Then there are speech patterns. Idioms and colloquialisms allow certain groups to recognize one another and/or exclude others. Right now, text-speak is an ever evolving fad. And, if fads hang on long enough, they become a custom rather than a fad. Did you get that? I bet if you check out the entomology of large parts of our language, it was, at one time, a fad. I imagine the text-speak one will be part of our lives for generations to come.  But speech fads have been around for centuries. . . probably since the inception of society.  Ever hear of “Twenty-three Skidoo?” or “the bees knees?” yeah, I don’t know what they mean either. The roaring ‘20’s was before my time, honest!

When I was about 15 we had a verrrry proper, elegant, full-of- herself aunt come visit us from Minneapolis. She arrived amid her suitcases and steamer trunks via railroad. That was back when you dressed up to go anywhere by public conveyance. So she alit the train in her hat and gloves and furs. Furs, mind you. We lived in the desert. . .  My mother set a most elegant table with the linen, the china, the silver and all. During the dinner table conversation, my aunt queried (she didn’t ask, she queried) me as to the current fads among my friends. I answered that our favorite past time involved “balking tackwards,” Didn’t realize then that it was called Spoonerisms. “And,”  she asked, “what on Earth would that be?” To which I answered, “Oh, you know, wurning your turds around.” Into the dead silence that followed, my mother suggested that perhaps I’d better think before I spoke. Good and sage advice which never did seem to take root in my psyche . . . . either then or now.

Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years.
A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes . . . she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.

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Adrienne Jacoby
Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years. A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.
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10 Responses

  1. Avatar CoachBob says:

    Adrienne, you've NEVER "thought" before you've "spoken". Ever. Continues on today. But, that's one trait we both share!

  2. Avatar Canda says:


    What a fun read, and brought back so many memories (oh yes, the nose peeking through the straight hair that had peroxide combed through it). Did anyone else have to endure "charm school"? One of my least fond memories was having to attend charm school classes at the Broadway (department store way before malls were invented for you younguns). Since a young lady was expected to lower herself with poise into a chair, the tedious exercise was backing up to a chair, letting your leg touch the seat (a lady would never look at the seat), then gracefully lower herself to a sitting position at the edge of the seat with ankles crossed and hands in a "lady-like" position on the lap. Sorry Mom, but now I check my seat for gum, plop myself down and cross an ankle over my knee to ease the lower back pain.

    Of course walking with books on the head was important, as a lady was to glide across the floor rather than bounce. "Elbows in, chin up, chest out, stomach in!" You would think those commands were going to solve the national debt, as often as I had to hear them.

    Oh the memories of being young in the 50's & 60's. How about Afro wigs? I remember the day I pulled a dark brown (very large) Afro wig over my bleached platinum blond hair, and went to work at the hospital. Quite a transformation I must say. It took some time before people recognized me. Who would know that a few years later, we would perm our hair to the point of destruction?

    Adrienne, you never fail to stir up memories here in the old dusty brain. Whether good or bad memories, they're still part of what shaped us, so it's fun to bring them to the front for fun once in awhile. Thanks!

  3. Avatar C says:

    Enjoyable read as always. "Manks rof eht themories!"

  4. And the rolled down socks Having to wear curlers in our hair to school, I lived in Richmond, where the fog was terrible in the morning, and of course, you had to cover your hair with a head scarf with the knot ON your chin. The best fad, to me, was the Afro. Wash and wear. Wish it would come back! And yes, it did destroy your hair, you are right Canda. Great article. Thanks for the memories. The thing I am most thankful for is at my age, I don't have to be concerned with fads. I remember when I turned 50, I was almost in a panic, thinking I have no idea what a 50 year old wears or how they act. Then I decided, I will wear my jeans, sweatshirt, and sneakers, if "they" don't like it, too bad, I do. I could finally be myself.

  5. Avatar Jorgi Baker says:


    Great story, as always. My hair was long, but wavy when it should have been straight. Peroxide only turned my hair a rusty, orangey, yucky color when I tried a streak. I have to admit that my hair has been every length you can think of short of a buzz cut. Now, it just does its own thing – curls – and it no longer matters to me what the "in thing" is.

    Thanks for always bringing a smile and, sometimes, a memory.


  6. Avatar Laurie says:

    One of the things I love about getting older is not caring if I am "fashionably correct"…..in fact, unfortunately you become almost invisible! Especially with teenagers that make you feel like a relic. But with age and wisdom comes the freedom to wear what we want and not look to others for approval. And amazingly, wearing what I feel good in makes me look better!! Love your writing!

  7. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Funny column AJ…You got that right about fads being alive and well even right here in River city, formally Poverty Flats,but that fad going on among boys and girls with their Levis at half mast has to go. It's like these kids are walking around mooning everyone.

    When I was a teen we never washed our jeans. we stood them up in the corner closet and the cuffs were turned inside. The fonsie type rolled their smokes in the sleeves of their tee shirt. And we wore dirty bucks and later white bucks with a small puff in your pocket to keep em' white. After that it was saddle oxfords and blue suede shoes, don't step on them. You can do anything you want to do, but don't step on my blue suedes.

    Our hair was funny too. We had those gawd awful flat tops and then came afros and dread locks. Those were the days as Archie and Edith sang so long ago.

  8. Avatar adrienne jacoby says:

    One of the "funnest: things about doing this column are the memories it seems to elicit from all y'all . . . (sorry, I just returned from Loose-i-anna a couple of hours ago).

  9. Avatar Stan says:

    One current fad we see all around us is tatoos. Did you intentionally leave those out due to your sensitivity? 😉

    • Avatar adrienne jacoby says:

      Sensitivity?? ? ? there are those who would insist that I'm about as sensitive as rhino hide. No, I only left out the tattoos because they didn't cross my mind at the time. Glad I'm not going to be around to see what they look like on those bodies another 40 years down the road!!!