June 28, 2005

Now, with belly-button piercings

On my most recent venture to hear my friend's band, I noticed that once again -- and with feeling -- flashing midriffs are all the rage for the 25 and under set, female division. Most of them weren't born when that fashion bout first came my way, although their mothers may well be my contemporaries.

The women -- if you can walk into a bar, I guess the label "girl" no longer applies -- were wearing what we, in my junior high school days, called hip-huggers, bell-bottom pants purchased at Jack's Army/Navy Store. Then as now feet stayed elevated with stacked platform shoes.

Their shirts were reminiscent of the tummy-tops my mother and I fought over in 1973 in Lord & Taylor. Imagine, fighting over whether a belly button could show without a charter membership in Sluts R Us.

These days if there's a sartorial mother-daughter argument, it's more likely about the number of piercings in question (the visible-to-the-dressed-eye variety, not the other kinds, the ones I wish people weren't so willing to describe to me). Pierced ears are fine; other anatomical parts, not really.

Better still, not at all. Unless I'm going to be having direct contact with a particular part of your body, I don't need to hear in any detail about the experience -- I can wince vicariously at the physical pain of the ritual without getting near a needle.

I don't need to imagine the textural diversion from smooth skin that those pieces of metal might create. I would love to know, however, what do you tell the TSA when the airport metal detector chimes? After they wand you individually, what kind of show-and-tell must you produce?

Fortunately, sparkling, frosted, blue and purple eye shadow crayons didn't pass the aesthetic criteria to be on the fashion-mobile this time. In the pre-glam rock days, my junior high school glittered.

From my brother's step-daughter, I learned that lip gloss still comes in strawberry and other tasty shiny treats. This did not shake my belief that if you classify your lip covering by flavor, not color, then perhaps you shouldn't be wearing it.

In 1973, my lack of hip development would have precluded the hip-hugger argument. Within six months, I won the right to platform shoes, as I had acquired a clothing allowance that permitted no parental input into my wardrobe.

Fifteen or so years ago, I had a lover who adored the "vintage" clothes at Patricia Field, an oh-so-cool East Village emporium. She was about nine years younger than I, so it wasn't her junior high school wardrobe c. 1974 on display at c. 1990 prices.

But it startled the hell out of me, and oh, did I feel old -- then. She was also fond of Huck-a-poo shirts, a brand I haven't thought of since I cut nonbreathable fabric from my closet, almost 30 years ago now.

Once again there are bare midriffs and shoes to sprain an ankle over, clothes to make a girl look like she's expecting a lot more than she's probably ready for.

Even with increasingly precocious adolescence cutting off childhood at earlier and earlier ages, these girls don't have the neurotransmitter maturity that saved many of us from severe errors in judgment, not that we didn't make plenty of our own.

Those fashion demographics are ones, given my current metabolism, that I am quite pleased to have escaped. My friends and I are not to old to rock 'n' roll, but I'm old enough to do so in the ever-slimming black T-shirt dress.

Next year, when tie-dye comes back (again), I'll take a dress in any color so long as it fits loosely and comes in black.

2 Comments:

Blogger frog said...

I thought you'd pierced!

I was both stunned and amazed.

:)

9:51 AM  
Blogger GuusjeM said...

Well, I have one daughter with a pierced belly button and another with a tattoo. They also have multiple holes in their ears. I hope that's all they decide to pierce or color!

8:49 PM  

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