Thursday, July 9, 2015

Reality Bites

I’m a member of Generation X, which, it turns out, really sucks. Lots of articles have been making the rounds online explaining how Gen X got squeezed in between two bigger, more important generations—the Boomers and The Millennials. The Boomers, of course, got to buy houses and have pensions and all that fancy stuff before the economy tanked. And the Millennials are digital natives; they’re members of the most powerful demographic and they know it. In the middle there’s a tiny group of former slackers who all have at least one flannel shirt in the back of their closets and, no matter what kind of music they like, on some level appreciate “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.

We got screwed in lots of ways. I like to tell the story about how I took a test on how to use a library card catalogue in my senior year of high school only to arrive at college freshman year and attend the official burning of their card catalogue drawers because they were going digital. Even though I grew up with dinosaur computers I’ve gotta roll with the new technology, because I’m way too young to retire (and unlike the Boomers, I probably won’t get to do so before I’m seventy five).

The other way life isn’t fair for Gen-X: we were this close to the Youth Worship Revolution. But we missed it. When I was a kid, the people on the radio and on TV and with the coolest hair and clothes were all older than me. I genuinely thought that one day I too would get to dress like a grown-up, in, say, a stylish pastel suit with shoulder pads. But now that I actually am grown up, the only actual way to look cool is to be twenty-two. 
See how these mom-suits were actually cool in 1989?
There are also a lot of restrictions based on my age. I don’t know who makes these laws, but those posts are even more ubiquitous than the ones by us whining X-ers. Ladies, if you’re over thirty, I’m sure you are aware that any number of seemingly normal clothing and accessory items are now, sadly, forbidden. I recently decided to click one of those lists someone posted on Facebook, and was informed that I am no longer allowed to wear hoop earrings, blue eyeshadow, or graphic tees of any kind. Under this new tyranny I will also probably be arrested if I try to walk in the door of a Hot Topic or Forever 21.

Who makes these rules? Probably young Millennials who are tired of having their style co-opted by us oldsters. Of course, the Millennials will get older too--but at least they realize that their days of being cool are definitely numbered.  

I'm pretty sure we're the first generation to have to suffer the indignities of rules lists like these--probably because back in the day no one over thirty ever actually attempted to look like a teenager for any reason. And though I can understand the extremes (maybe halter tops are a bad idea at a certain age. Because: gravity). But, list-makers, be warned. You're going to have to pry my Nirvana t-shirt out of my hands--and I'm a kicker. I still have those work-boots somewhere. So don't test me.