My teen years were a time of ridiculous fashions, constant bickering with my folks and painful emotional angst. Pretty much just like everyone else in America who grew up in the twentieth century. I tend to think teenagers in earlier eras didn't have the issues with fashion or bickering, maybe only the angst. Prior to modern history I don't think teenagers were allowed any kind of freedoms so fashion choices and bickering would have been unthinkable, though I could be wrong.
I was born and raised in the last half of the twentieth century so I did have freedoms and I was given choices in my life. Most of mine, from the age of 13 until I hit college, were pretty questionable choices. Like most other adolescents I wanted to fit in and fitting in meant following trends and fads.
In the sixties, my teenage era, the trends and fads were kinda sucky. Long hair, white lipstick, hip huggers, bare feet, questioning of authority, protesting the state of the world, blah, blah, blah. Frankly, we were a pretty grungy and annoying bunch of little snots, in other words - Teenagers. It is the job of teenagers to reject all the previous generation has held dear and that includes the fashions, the music, the political views and social mores. Teenagers are really good at their jobs and I was no exception.
Of course, thanks to the Beatles, long hair was the style of the day - long and really straight hair. I had no business growing my thin, fine hair long but I did. Then I parted it down the middle and had bangs that came below my eyebrows - the "Cher" look. It was pretty ugly and, in order to look that ugly, I had to go the extra mile and iron my hair to get it straight. Add to that the current fad of wearing white lipstick and gobs of black eyeliner, toss in low slung hiphuggers in some ridiculous floral pattern, add a bunch of anti-social buttons and some beads and there you have it - the pimply faced model of a 1960s teenage girl or boy.
Oh, and don't let me forget, going barefoot, at least in California, was de rigeur! My tender little Kansas feet that were so pink and cute when I arrived in California at age 13 became calloused, dirty bottomed and were the bane of my mother's existance. Add those to the rest of the look, toss in some angry teenage attitude and defiance and you have a pretty good idea of a kid in the era of peace, love and protest.
My God, we were an ugly and surly bunch of gawky little brats. I know I was. If my mother was still alive I'm sure she'd vouch for the surly attitude and the pictures from those days are proof of the ugly. Now that I'm older than my mother was during my years of teendom I can see what a trial and tribulation I was for her.
So, Dear Mom, if you're listening, please accept my apologies for those years of ugly, snippy brathood. I'm a lot older now, a little wiser and I'm not quite the pain I used to be. I am still a bit of a brat but I'll bet you probably know that. I think the brat part was less a part of the era and more a part of my personality and I'll bet you knew that too.
Love, your daughter, Pop Art Diva also known as The BRAT in the HAT.