Okay, I’ve got to admit it. Keeping up with blog posts during the summer isn’t as easy as I though it’d be. The kids are all out of school, which means we’re busier than ever (surprise) and, frankly, I’m feeling kinda lazy. 90 degree heat will do that to a person. So for the balance of the summer I’m going to ease up on the posts a bit. This is good because you should be easing up on the internet a bit, too. I mean, come on. (insert ‘mom’ voice here) It’s beautiful outside. Go for a bike ride or something!
Anyway, in addition to spacing the posts out a little more, I decided to create some short and sweet supplemental posts entitled, “Things You Ought to Know.” They will cover a wide variety of topics – some silly, some not – that you’ll need to know either a) when you become a grown up or b) when you need to relate to grown ups.
Okay, okay. So you know it all already. Still, you might just learn a nugget or two. After all, even James Bond had a learner’s permit before he got his license to kill. For years he could only maim villains during daylight hours under strict mentor supervision. Right now, baby, you’ve got a learner’s permit on life. It’s important to keep your ears and eyes open and learn all you can before you’re a full-fledge adult.
With that being said, let’s get started.
Things You Ought to Know: Keeping Up with the Joneses
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’ It's often used to describe the 'act or making of purchases for status or image rather than out of need, especially for the purpose of competing with friends or neighbors.' Just look in the Wiktionary. But did you ever wonder where it came from? Believe it or not, a comic strip.
Written by Arthur “Pop” Momand, the strip ran from 1916-1940 and was called – get this -- Keeping Up with the Joneses. Go figure! It featured the McGinises, a family living next to the “objects of envy,” the Joneses. The Jones family had the best of everything. This, of course, translated into high social standing. Poor McGinises – they tried everything they could to keep up with the Joneses. Of course, they always failed.
And look where we are now, decades later. Folks are still trying. Why else would someone spend $400 on a Coach purse? For centuries, people have been judged by how much they make. And since people don’t go around telling others what they earn, the only real way to judge wealth is by what they spend. Right?
Sure, a person living in a $500,000 house probably doesn’t work at Burger King (that it, unless they own it). At the same time, they might owe $475,000 on that house and struggle to make monthly payments. Across town you might have someone in a $250,000 home that owns it outright. Looks can be deceiving.
Still, there is that one family with TONS of dough. You know, their daughter’s in your Chemistry class. She's always talking about Spring Break in St. Thomas and how pissed she is that Daddy forgot to have seat warmers installed in her Mercedes. I bet she never has to beg for a pair of Lucky Jeans. No fair. If only you could be her…
Well, guess what? Her life might still suck. Her parents might fight all the time, or verbally abuse her -- oh, man! They might have an illegal slave trade business, forcing her to remain silent or be sold to a sultan in Kelantan! Or maybe…
Her life doesn’t suck. It might be pretty cool. Oh, the injustice of it all!
I’d like to tell you that when you’re older it doesn’t matter, that people don’t judge others by what they have, but I’d be lying. Many do. So what’s my advice?
If you don’t, it’ll drive you crazy. There will ALWAYS be someone with more than you. Enjoy the things you have. And when you’re finally in the workforce trying to earn a dime, remember this quote from a very wise and intelligent woman (a.k.a. me):
“Some people make enough, some people don’t, and it has nothing to do with their paycheck.”
Think on that for a minute. What kind of person will you be? Will you always need more, ever striving to keep up with the Joneses? Or will you choose to be content. It is a choice, you know.
Now I'm not giving you an excuse to be lazy. Ambition is a good thing. So are goals. Just make sure you're motivated for the right reasons. Also keep in mind that people who are never satisfied are, well, never satisfied. What fun is that? As for people who judge their self worth by the amount and/or quality of their possessions? That's just plain sad.
Okay, I'm done now. That took me longer than I thought! Trust me, the next one of these will be shorter. Like I said, it's summer. Now that I'm done I've got to get onto Zappos so I can order these super cute Keens my friend, Angela, just bought. They’re probably more than I want to pay, but all the cool moms are wearing them and I don’t want to look like a loser. ;)
Until next time,
Last week I gave you the low-down on my generation’s long love affair with Farrah Fawcett’s feathery tresses. Now it’s time to expand your hair horizons. It’s time for...THROUGH THE AGES: Hair
1920s – In the twenties women wore their hair short. I mean REALLY short, as in the ‘Daisy Dukes’ of hair short. Popular styles included the bob, the shingled look, the Dutch Boy, and the Eton Crop -- a very short/show the ears-style inspired by students of the famous British prep school for boys. All in all, the boyish look ruled. So who, you wonder, inspired this craze? A boy, of course, Well, actually a man. It was author F. Scott Fitzgerald of The Great Gatsby fame. In 1920 he wrote a short piece for the Saturday Evening Post entitled, “Bernice Bobs Her Hair.” It featured a sweet but socially inept girl who ‘transformed’ into a smooth talking vamp by way of her society-girl cousin and a pair of barber’s shears. Alas! A new role model was born or, rather, written.
1930s – In the Thirties, women got tired of the boyish look and decided to embrace their curves – and that included hair. Not only did hair grow longer (though still not past the shoulder), things started to get curly. The big thing? Finger waves. By 1935, everyone had to have them. Paired with sausage curls, pin curls, or just alone, hardly anyone played it ‘straight.’ One thing that did carry over from the Twenties was the importance of hair styles being able to accomodate the latest hat wear fashions. Back in the day women wore hats, a trend that continued into the Sixties.
1940s – The trend toward more feminine looks continued in the Forties, with some styles even dropping below the shoulders (gasp!). At the same time, many women had to ‘man’ up and take over the jobs fellas left when they went off to fight in WWII. So while sultry movie stars like Lauren Bacall and Veronica Lake could let their long locks flow, every day women with long hair wore snoods, a sort of cool-looking hair net that a girl wouldn’t be caught dead wearing today. As I’m telling you all this, keep in mind there were no hand-held blow dryers or flat irons/curling irons around (a couple of early models ended in scorched hair). Women relied on metal clips and/or curlers to achieve the looks they wanted. Due to this, many women washed their hair only once a week – a lot of them at their hairdresser’s – where it would be styled and dried by those mammoth hairdryers you have to sit under. This practice lasted all the way into the Sixties.
1950s – Okay, so the war was over and women were back and home where they belonged J. Thus began the ‘happy housewife with perfectly coiffed hair’ phase. Though styles continued to stay primarily short, they grew more glamorous. Soft and curly were all the rage, with straight hair still a ‘no-no.’ Still, for a short while, pony tails tied with a chiffon scarf were popular with teens, giving them a break from sleeping with curlers and/or clips in their hair. Oh! Remember the poodle skirt? Well, they also had the poodle cut, made popular by I Love Lucy star, Lucille Ball. As the decade progressed, hair started to get bigger, which leads us to the Sixties….
1960s – Ahhh….the Sixties. In like a lamb and out like a lion. Hair started out in Fifties style, with curls progressing to big and looser. Bouffants, beehives, and lot of back-combing – all were seen back then. Later on we saw the flip style, too, with straight hair curled up at the ends. Near the end of the decade, things started to get groovy and long hair finally came into fashion in a big way. Straight or wavy? Didn’t matter. Just “flow it, show it, long as God can grow it,” like they sang in the song Hair from the hippie movie/musical Hair.
Though only a portion of women embraced the free-and-easy hippie lifestyle, most everyone embraced idea of ditching all the curlers and hairspray and moving toward simpler styles. .
1970s – Hair stayed pretty simple in the early Seventies. That was good, because the country was a mess. The backlash from the Vietnam War and President Nixon’s ‘dirty tricks’ left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. Who cared about hair? We had to fight ‘the man!’ A lot of teens went around looking like Marsha Brady from The Brady Bunch, with long, straight hair parted down the middle. Then, as I so eloquently expressed in last week’s post, Farrah Fawcett changed it all in 1976. Glamour was back on, and it was fuller, more feathery. The advent of hand-held blowdryers earlier in the decade helped to make that happen. Since I covered this time period pretty well last week, I won’t go into too much more detail. Instead, I will take the time to honor the absolute corniest shampoo ever to debut : Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific. It took the U.S. by storm in the mid-Seventies, complete with goofy commercials. Walk up to your mom and say that phrase (with enthusiasm, of course) and you’re sure to get a chuckle.
1980s – As you know, the Eighties were the most important decade because that’s when I was a teen. J And as you also know, being the ardent “Mom’s Blog” follower that you are, hair was BIG. For full details on Eighties hair hit last week’s post, though I will add a few more details now. Case in point: the modern curling iron. It was invented in the Eighties and, trust me, we couldn’t have lived without it. Crimping irons came later, too, as well as the glorious scrunchie – a scrunched up fabric thingy with a rubber band inside. If you put your hair into a ponytail, you HAD to do it with a scrunchie. Getting your hair permed was a big thing, too, which meant we saw a lot of frizzy looks. All in all, it was a decadent decade and our hair was an extension of that. Sad, really. Let’s get to the Nineties.
1990s – The decade started out with the slow decline of big hair. Though still kept alive by the ‘Super Model’ era – a time when Cindy Crawford graced every magazine cover imaginable, the look grew softer and sexier. Then a radical shift took place. Remember Farrah Fawcett’s impact in the Seventies? Well meet Jennifer Aniston, a.k.a. ‘Rachel’ from the hit TV series Friends. When the show came out in 1994, everyone went screaming into their hair salons to get some version of the cut. Okay, maybe not everyone, but at least 99.98% of the population. This lead to smoother looks with longer layers surrounding the face whether hair was long or short. Actress Meg Ryan also played a role, adding some short, choppy style to the hair equation.
2000s - Hmmm….the 2000s. What can I say? There was a lot of different hair out there. Teen girls tended to slowly go back to the longer, straighter looks of the early Seventies. Plus we can’t forget the genesis of the whole pony tail/rubber band head business we still have today. The flat iron became the hair tool du ‘jour, which aided the trend toward sleek looks. Women also leaned toward sleeker looks. Permed hair became much less common. Frizzy hair? A thing of the past. Plenty of short dos also emerged, some of them pretty spikey. All in all, it was a toned down decade, which suited everyone fine.
So there you have it, my personally compiled history of hair. I hope you enjoyed the good, the bad, as well as the ugly. I wonder where we’re headed next.
Ponytails, ponytails, ponytails.
I see them everywhere. And for the last few years they seem to be partnered with those strange ‘Super-Size Me’ rubber bands that help keep stray hairs in place. Don't they give girls headaches?
It's not like I don’t get it. They’re an easy solution when you’re playing sports. But take that look off the court? All I can say is it wouldn’t fly back in my day. No sir-ee. Which leads me to this week's post:
BACK IN THE DAY
Hair: Birds of a Feather Blow Dry Together
Join me, young friend, as we go back to my youth. Ponytails were left in the locker room. A glamorous bunch, were we. Our hair was our glory. Our hair was our pride. Our hair was, well, VERY BIG.
It wasn’t always that way. For years I had the classic 'long hair parted down the middle' look. Many of my friends also indulged in the short wedged cut inspired by beloved U.S. Olympic figure skater, Dorothy Hamill.
But then SHE happened and everything changed.
The date: September 22, 1976
The time: 10 p.m. (9 p.m central)
The show: Charlie’s Angels
Oh, to be one of Charlie’s Angels. It was every girl’s desire. They were three beautiful women who “graduated from the Los Angeles Police Academy only to be assigned such duties as handling switchboards and directing traffic.” Say what? That wouldn’t do! They were feminists! Gorgeous feminists with killer bods! So they ditched the precinct and got real work as undercover detectives for Charlie, a mysterious man who spoke to them through a speaker. Oooooh.
There was Kelly, played by Jaclyn Smith, who was crazy good-looking in her own right. Then there was Sabrina, played by Kate Jackson, who, despite the coolest name, was the least pretty and therefore the least favorite choice when doling out character assignments during imaginative play in the school yard. Finally, there was Jill, played by (drum roll, please)…
FARRAH FAWCETT. Just call her ‘Farrah.’ Everyone will know who you’re talking about.
Farrah was drop-dead, leave your wife/girlfriend in a dumpster gorgeous. And her hair? Well, it started a phenomenon, a phenomenon that lasted all the way through my teen years.
See those beautiful layers? They’re called ‘feathers.’ Taken as a whole they’re called ‘wings.’ Once she introduced those concepts to the world, big hair really took flight. Then the over-indulgent Eighties came around and everything exploded. Literally.
We were all victims. No one was immune. Case in point: Julia Roberts - Academy-award winning actress and America’s sweetheart. Just look at her now…
and look at her back then:
What about Whitney Houston? She’s a Grammy-award winning singer who was formerly America’s sweetheart until she married Bobby Brown and totally wigged out. Anyway, she’s trying to make a comeback, so I’ll give her the press. Here she is now…
and here she is back then:
Catching on to the theme?
Oh! I’d be remiss if I didn’t include at least one photo of a ‘hair band.’ There were a lot of them in the Eighties...
These guys are from Poison (and, yes, I said, “guys.”) If you really need a giggle, just type '80's hair band photos' into Google Images. You will not be disappointed.You know, now that I’m done looking back at the past I have to admit that pony tails aren’t so bad after all. Just don’t wear one when you go to prom, okay?Thanks.
Smoking is bad for you.
Smoking = lung cancer
Yadda yadda yadda.
Every where you go people tell you not to smoke. They throw out words like ‘addiction’ and ‘death’ in an effort to scare you. But there’s a hidden truth to smoking, a truth no one else will tell you. That is, no one but me. Are you ready? Are you sure? Okay, here it is:
SMOKING is COOL.
You heard me. It’s cool. I mean, cigarettes are like fire in your hand that you can control. Awesome. And not only is it cool, but cool people smoke. Look at Paris Hilton, Amy Winehouse and Lindsay Lohan. They all smoke. And not only are they cool, they’re great role models, too. "But they’re all girls," you say. Well, to that I just have two words: Barack Obama. That’s right. The President of the United States smokes. How cool is that? Sure, he never lets himself get photographed doing it. He also says he wishes he could quit and that starting to smoke was one of the worst decisions he ever made. I don’t believe him. Secretly, he doesn’t want to quit because he wants to stay cool.
Now, now. I know there are a few so-called ‘negative’ issues about smoking out there, ones Anti- Smoking Supporters (also known as ASSes) keep harping on but, trust me, they’re really no big deal. To prove it I’m tackling each one head on. I'll start with the biggest…
People keep on saying smoking is bad for you, but did you know smokers only lose an average of seven years from their life? And that’s off the back end, when they’re ancient. Sure, that number can vary. Some people can get it as early as their mid-forties (like I said, ancient) which is probably close to your folks’ age, but who really needs parents? Heck, you’re a teenager now. You’ve got life all figured out. All parents are good for is nagging, telling you what to do, making dinner, doing your laundry, giving you a shoulder to cry on when your boyfriend dumps you. Wait, I’m getting off task. Point is, there’s only a small chance that you’ll die early and leave your future children without a mother. No big whoop. There are a few other minor concerns - reduced quality of life, heart problems, circulatory issues, other lung difficulties, as well as one or two ill-effects on unborn babies - but, like I said, they’re minor so let’s just move on to a more important topic.
Okay, I’ll admit it. Smoking does take a small toll on your appearance. No, I’m not talking about your lungs (they do turn black, but no one sees them). It’s the whole ‘yellow teeth and fingernails’ business. Hello? Anyone heard of Crest Whitening Strips? Don’t forget nail polish. Sure, your skin turns a little yellow, too…and wrinkly…and leathery. But that just makes you look older, and older is cool. To prove my point, I conducted a little experiment and personally gave a cute six year-old girl a pack of smokes every week for ten years. Take a look at the results:
Amazing, isn't it? Just sixteen years-old and she looks, what -- eighteen, nineteen? Sweet. MONEYThe average cost for a pack of cigs is about $5. Not bad. Start out with a measly pack a week and you’re only talking $260 a year. Don’t buy an ITouch and you’re even just like that. Sure, once the whole ‘addiction’ thing takes over, it’ll cost more. But that’s okay, you should be working by then anyway. Seriously, you should. Already have a job? Then simply adjust your spending habits. Like buying a car, for instance. Instead of getting that Ford Mustang you’ve had your eye on, just buy a Toyota Corolla. It may not look as appealing but don't worry -- the additional cool points you get from smoking will make up for the loss of car coolness. Now as you get older, there will be other monetary issues. (Try selling that car after you've been smoking in it. Next, try selling your house.) Health care and home insurance costs are greater for smokers, too. But those are lame things you’ll only have to worry about as an adult. That means starting to smoke as a teen is that much smarter! (Oh! By the way, that whole ‘addiction’ thing I mentioned earlier? Not a big deal. Sure, reports say only 2.5% of smokers successfully quit each year, but that’s because those people are losers without willpower. They aren’t you. YOU can kick the habit, trust me. All those chemicals cigarette companies add to addict people just affect wusses.)
THE SMELLA lot of people say cigarette smoke smells terrible. You might think so, too. Maybe it's true, but guess what? The smell is cool. As a matter of fact, I think the real reason people don't like to be around smokers isn't because they stink, but because smokers smell so alluring that just one whiff of them makes others want to smoke, too. No lie. Whoa! I just thought of something! If you smoke, you won’t have to buy cologne because you already have your own distinctive smell -- burned-out building. That means you’ll actually SAVE money. Take that, money argument!THE TASTEOkay, here’s the last item on my list. Smokers report that food doesn’t take as good as before they started smoking. Seems smoking deadens the taste buds. Well, never fear because the cigarette industry has responded. Introducing flavored cigarettes! (...Wait. Those were banned in a lot of places. What are they now? That's right...) Introducing flavored cigarillos! Some of the flavorings include, French vanilla, cherry, and grape. Yes, grape!! You know, when I was younger, I used to soak lumps of charcoal in grape Kool-aid and suck on them. Delicious! I bet those cigarillos taste similar. They're a little more expensive than regular cigarettes, but that’s okay. Instead of a Toyota Corolla, you can buy a used AMC Pacer. I know, not sexy at all, but come on! GRAPES!!
So there you have it. I’ve turned every possible anti-smoking argument into dust. So go ahead, light up. It’ll change your life.
And that's a promise.
Please note: No actual children were harmed in the making of this post. As for the old woman, she was butt ugly before I wrote this. And one more thing: Just to be clear to all thoses ASSes out there, in truth I think smoking is gross, really gross. Got that? Good. - Mom
photo credits:cute little girl link
crusty old woman