Student fads: hookahs, porkpie hats, and ukuleles


I work on a college campus, so every year is a fascinating adventure into hipness. What will college students be doing / wearing / eating this year? Hoop skirts? Viking helmets? Fright wigs?

 

 

Actually, this year, it seems pretty sedate to me. “It looks,” I said to the shuttle driver the other evening, “like it did when I first came here in 1978. I guess the wheel has finally turned all the way around.”

 

 

He snorted a laugh. “Did they have blue hair back then?” he said, nodding toward a girl on the sidewalk nearby. “I don’t think so.”

 

 

Well, he was right about that. There are always changes and aberrations. But if you’d shown me a photo in 1978 of what the average student is wearing in 2011, I would have shrugged. What’s so different about that?

 

 

College students are very attentive to trends. I remember Bullwinkle when he went to Wossamotta U.: “I’ve got my raccoon coat!” he said. “I’ve got my ukulooloo and my hair stickum!”

 

 

(Yes, he said “ukulooloo.” I can hear it in my head even now.)

 

 

But modern college students look very similar to the way we looked back in the 1970s: simple, black t-shirts, jeans, floppy hair. 

 

 

But Shuttle Driver was right: there are some differences.

 

 

There is, for example, the Ironic Porkpie Hat.

 

 

A few years ago, all the boys (or at least the cool ones) were wearing classic porkpie hats. It was a little odd, but certainly no odder than the lime-green leisure suit I bought in Spokane in 1977.

 

 

Now they’ve moved beyond the conventional porkpie. They’ve actually become post-modern about it.

 

 

Today I saw a white porkpie hat. And a straw porkpie hat. And a flannel one, with a little flourish of feathers, like a Tyrolean hat!

 

 

And have I mentioned the proliferation of hookah cafes in the neighborhood? That, at least, was not something we did in the primitive nineteen-seventies.

 

 

Ah, youth! What next?

 

 

(For us, it was disco music!)

 


 

Advertisements

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: