While at the mall, I was reminded how many young girls (thinking teens… even pre-teens) are in need of fashion consultant sessions followed by spring-summer wardrobe adjustments.
This time of year, especially in a place like Fargo, no sooner do the temperatures hit about 40 the shorts and t-shirts come out. Winters here are quite cold so our 40 is your 60.
After getting our cones, we found a place to sit that allowed us the ability to eat, chat and people-watch. On this particular afternoon, however, we may have seen a bit too much.
Do young girls actually believe wearing shorts slightly longer than a band-aid look anything other than… what’s the word I’m searching for… cheap?
What I find remarkable is that there are parents who have no issues with this and let these girls walk out the door looking like they should be auditioning for a remake of Taxi Driver.
I understand styles change with the times and certainly, we’re in a society that is overloaded with sex. What I saw on Saturday was little more than a reflection of what’s out there on television, in movies, in music videos and in video games.
But at what point does anyone say to one of these girls “that’s inappropriate and you’re not walking out of the house dressed that way?” Do designers find nothing ill-advised in creating shorts for young women that make them look like the ladies I use to see working the streets in New York City?
And make no mistake about it, that’s what they look like. Little teenage prostitutes hanging out at the mall trying to impress the boys.
Am I being too harsh? Some might think so. A few I spoke to on Saturday didn’t think so.
After my wife and younger daughter joined us, I sent the older daughter with them and went to a store and then a restaurant in the food court. I introduced myself and then asked my question. And the question was simple: The shorts those girls are wearing (finding girls wearing them wasn’t a problem) – do you like them, are they in bad taste or do you not have an opinion one way or the other. I impressed upon them they absolutely didn’t need to answer; I was merely doing a little research for a program topic the following week.
Not one refused to answer.
Two boys and two girls, ages 17, 19, 19 and 20, all had strong opinions about this and to a young man and woman, they were unanimous in their disapproval. What struck me was that I asked the same question to each set of two without any inflection that hinted at an agenda. I thought sure at least one would say “what’s the big deal” but that didn’t happen.
Their answers included ”cheap… bad taste… a joke… ridiculous…” One gal, the 20-year-old, told me though she’d never wear anything like that, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find anything longer than the shorty-shorts. And one of the boys, a 19-year-old, said in what seemed like a remarkable moment of candor, “a lot of the girls are really pretty but that (the shorts) tells me all I need to know about them.”
Perhaps he was generalizing, or maybe he felt that’s the answer he should give. I really don’t know.
What I do know is what’s tasteful and classy… and what’s not. The argument “well Christopher, that’s what the gals wear these days” doesn’t wash. I don’t care if it’s chic in Hollywood, New York or Paris. And it makes no difference to me if young girls in magazines or on Saturday morning television are wearing them.
What looked cheap in the 1960′s looks just as cheap in 2010.
photo credit: Evan Romine
About the Author: Christopher Gabriel is the host of The Christopher Gabriel Program on AM 970 WDAY in Fargo, North Dakota and around the world online at WDAY.com. You can listen to him weekdays from 11 am to 2 pm CT. His program serves up a unique blend of current events, pop culture, sports and humor with guests and contributors from across the nation. As a writer and humorist, Christopher's work has been been published by the Chicago Sun-Times, Reuters, publications within Sun-Times Media, USA Volleyball and Team USA, the Official Website of the U.S. Olympic Committee. He's also been a weekly columnist in Fargo's daily newspaper, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.