Friday, July 21, 2006

Ups and Downs of Fashion

Things go up. Things go down. And it’s inevitable that things will meet in the middle.

One day, I was picking up my son at school. I was sitting in the parking lot with the car running and the air conditioner on, undoubtedly irritating Al Gore by not remaining carbon-neutral for the day.

As I was waiting, a young high school couple walked by. They were both about 17 years old. She was a tiny waif; no more than 85 pounds soaking wet and probably hadn’t eaten anything larger than a cheese cube in the last ten days. He was a good looking clean-cut football-jock type. They would have been a great couple for prom king and queen.

But the odd part wasn’t about what they looked like. It was about what they were wearing. She was wearing tan capri pants and he was wearing dapper khaki shorts.

Some of you have already figured out the punch line, haven’t you?

His shorts were longer than her pants!

Ya know, it used to be that pants were long and tops were long and shorts were short. That’s how they got their names, after all. When I was growing up, our bell-bottom pants literally dragged on the ground. That was a status symbol; the quality of the pants could be measured by how well they were frayed on the bottom. A side-benefit: nobody could tell that you weren’t wearing any socks. Heck, nobody could tell that you weren’t wearing shoes.

Girls’ shorts were short and guys’ shorts were short. Life was simple. If your knees were showing, you were wearing shorts. Of course that also meant your thighs were showing, too. And the bottom of your pockets hung from underneath the frayed ends of your cutoffs. It was cool. It was the way it was supposed to be.

Once I was flipping channels and I stumbled on that sports classics network where they show games from other decades. An nba game from the 1970s was on. Those guys had long legs. And short, short shorts. No piercings. No tattoos. No green hair. Just a tank top and short, short shorts.

Oh, and high-top athletic shoes. But those are so retro, they’re actually in style again, aren’t they? Maybe soon I’ll see a 17-year old waif in capri pants, a tank top that doesn’t meet her belt, and high-top Keds. Probably with a pierced eyebrow.

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