Thursday, April 06, 2006

Merely Different

A great scene in a neo-classic movie is when Doc tells Marty McFly to pull out his pants pockets because that is the latest fashion in the future that they have gone back to. I am constantly amazed at the changing of fashions. Even though the staple of blue jeans remain the same, our definition of how to wear them changes and changes and changes.

I grew up in the 60’s and the darker blue, newer and rigid the jeans were the better they were. Hand-me-down jeans already loosened up and faded were a bad fashion statement.

In my high school in the 70’s it was radically changed to the faded and loose jeans. The more broken in, the better, even a patch here and there was not a bad thing. New, dark blue jeans were wore at home until they were broken in enough to be good for school.

I was married in the 80’s and my kids were not too young to be caught in the fashion jean craze. Having a particular name on your jeans became important. Along with them came the spotted, faded, and torn jeans. You would buy brand new jeans that were torn and faded and pay A LOT of money for them.

In the 90’s when my kids reached the teenage years it seemed like I was yelling at my boys to pull up their pants every day. The jeans sagged as you would buy 2 – 3 sizes too big for you and the only thing that kept them up would be walking wide. Showing your boxers was the key.

Now I smile as my own kids wonder about the latest fashion in jeans. Boys wearing tight girl’s jeans and girls making sure their back tattoo shows above their jeans and dark blue is in again.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Blink makes a interesting statement that “people have a hard time distinguishing between what is bad and what is merely different.” I agree. Sagging pants on my boys seemed bad and I yelled at them for it like it was a sin that would send them straight to hell. With a little time and perspective I find there are a lot of worse things than you pants sagging and your boxers showing.

Be careful how you judge the actions of people. Is it really bad or is it merely different? I am sure it won’t be long before we start wearing our pockets inside-out as we head Back to the Future.

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