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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