Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What's Up With the Bad Boy Thing?

None of the cute girls in high school noticed me until I became a “hippie”.  At the beginning of my senior year, my friends wanted to go to a Led Zeppelin concert.  I had liked their music on the radio, but going to a live concert was a totally different experience.

I loved the loud music in the dark, smoky concert hall and I was hooked. Within a couple of months, my friends and I saw Traffic, Cat Stevens, Alice Cooper and Grand Funk Railroad (I know, I’m embarrassed about the Grand Funk thing, but we went to see any band which came to town).

Along with my new interests, I grew my hair past the top of my ears and bought a few pairs of bellbottoms and a wide leather band for my watch. And, so, as it is with many high school kids, I changed my whole persona. Since most of the kids wore button down collared shirts and penny loafers, I caused some attention.   

The funny thing was, I had no strategy with the new look. I wasn’t the rebellious type and I wasn’t trying to make a statement.  I was just going along with my friends.  But, it was a big surprise to see how my new style would infect me with a different status in school.  Suddenly, all the cheerleaders who I had a crush on were interested in me. Apparently, these very proper girls were attracted to what they perceived was a risky, mysterious lifestyle.  

Even though I enjoyed the attention, as events unfolded, with escalation of the Viet Nam war, the riots and head bashing at the Democratic National Convention and Watergate, I realized that my style of dressing and the cheerleaders’ reaction to it were pretty superficial; there were other things to worry about. 
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I wrote this for the Week 69 Trifecta Writing Challenge where we are to write 33-333 words using the word “infect” in the context of: “to contaminate, corrupt” or “to induce” some reaction. 

Your comments are appreciated.

 

   

33 comments:

  1. Cacptivating read. Being just slightly younger, all young kid looked like that. I guess the bad boys started wearing button-down shirt and wearing penny-loafers after a while. Thank you

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    1. Thank you. I think these things always go full circle.

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  2. And some of the bad boys in college right now are disguised as preppy dressers. I had a lot of fun with the imagery here, lumdog. I like mystery in a person, man or woman. It is intriguing. Dress, eh? Great, fun read. Plus...back then, in your era ;-), there was a lot more to worry about!!!

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    1. What's this about my era? Lol! I'm only 10 years older as I recall. I suppose you had to worry about your disco ball? Or were uou a bit of a hippie too? At least, we didn't have HIV to worry about. As always Gina, thanks for your kind words.

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  3. Good piece here Lumdog! I like how a fashion statement changes as reality starts to bite.

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    1. Thanks Joe. I was afraid the last paragraph lacked emphasis in the piece.

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  4. NICE. Love that perspective at the end.

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  5. Great imagery - and a perceptive take on human nature. Nice one,.

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    1. Thank you Sandra. I appreciate that.

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  6. you brought the essence of that era's drastic change literally to life in your narrative, LD - terrific work!

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    1. Thanks so much Jody. I was hoping I got that across.

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  7. Oh my. You took me back to high school. Where I had my own bell bottoms, wide belt and that long lanky hair we girls all wore.
    Cat Stevens. Awesome.
    Thanks for the flashback, and well done!

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  8. Great piece. I'm glad you kept things in perspective even as you gave in a bit to peer pressure (:

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  9. 'Superficial' pretty much describes most of the high school experience. So glad you could see through it.

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  10. Ah,peer pressure & fashion statements!Don't we all know about that?Loved the way you described the "look" that was "in" then!How our kids laugh when they see those "fashionable" pics,lol!Well done Lumdog,enjoyed this :-)

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    1. Thanks Atreyee. I was hoping the "atmosphere" would come across.

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  11. Wow! Very interesting to hear how long hair made you a babe magnet back in the day. I was a hippy back at school in 1987 -I had hairy armpits and walked around barefoot and listened to Led Zepellin. I don't remember anyone telling me I was sexual catnip though and it wasn't long before I shaved my pits and became more groomed to appeal to the fellas!

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    1. Thanks Emma. I never "got" what made some people popular. I think it was the right move though, when you shaved your armpits. Lol!

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  12. Great story. I love that the theme, being popular turns out to not be important. Maybe that is where the popularity comes from, doing things you like, dressing how you want, becoming who you want to be. Then once you know who you are you can look at the world and see what is going on outside of the ego bubble we all have to build as teenagers.
    (your blog will not let me use my blog, so I put in my old blog so I could comment, but you comment on my actual blog sometimes so no need to click on that link, since it goes no where useful)

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    1. Thank you Kitty. I think that's why maturity brings a more balanced perspective on everything.

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  13. Can I be an idiot here and say I do not look on emphasis or style or 'meaning' in what is written. I comment if I enjoy the words placed, the imagination used and the enthusiasm to hit publish, you have achieved these and yes this piece was nostalgic about how our lives were and how they changed...without us giving too much thought at the time. LD you took me back... and you brought me forward - if this reply is not what it should be ..I make no apologies, for I comment on I what I enjoy reading and this ...well ...I have.

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    1. Thank you so much Mum. Your comments are lovely. I try to make my writing enjoyable and accessible as much as I can. I know some of my writing is not elegant, but I strive for reality using plain language.

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  14. Excellent piece, lumdog. We all do it for the look in high school, not the message. *child of the seventies - tell me about it*

    Bit of crit: "any band which" should be "any band that".

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    1. Thanks Kymm. Yeah, the 70s weren't that much different. And thanks for the crit. I never could keep the distinction straight.

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  15. I love the reportage and emotion - great understated description of getting attention and not really knowing why. The sad realisation in the last sentence grounds the whole piece.

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  16. This was a wonderful piece. We all transform somewhat in high school to fit a 'cooler' group of peers. Though you got to see some amazing bands! I graduated in 1994. Not sure we made a statement. I do know I love bell bottoms now even though the 80's style is coming back in. I cringe at my oldest daughter wanting clothes I wore in middle school and the beginning of high school, the same way my grandparent's cringed when I started wearing clothes they dressed me in as a child. I loved this. A lot in high school is superficial. A lot of adulthood is too. Great piece. :)

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  17. isn't that always the way..you change (without really knowing it) and it is then that you come to the realization that some people are all about the aesthetic.

    this was such a good piece, I loved it. I could see you changing and wondering.."what? These jeans, this new hairstyle is what makes YOU notice me?" and from there you are left to wonder what it is about you that they like.

    Lots to ponder my friend, LOTS. Thank you. :)

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