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They don’t realise I was once ‘cool’

By Ruth Lubembe | November 24th 2019 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

I was watching TV recently and saw a young man sporting a haircut that was shaped like a table top. The corners were so sharp and the top so flat that it looked like you could actually set a plate, glass and cutlery on it. I imagined the youth coming home from the barber with his new hairstyle and feeling extremely pleased with himself. His conservative parents must have watched him walk into the house with their jaws wide open before Dad looked enquiringly at Mum, who until that moment was blissfully unaware of her son’s plans to get a box haircut. When they asked Junior what that thing on his head was, he responded simply, “It’s my new hairstyle. All my friends have one like it.”

It would not have mattered if the old folks got angry and gave him a one-hour lecture and even ordered him to shave it all off so he could look “decent”, because it would be just a matter of time before he came home with something else they would not understand, like a tattoo. Or an eyebrow/tongue/cheek piercing.

There is nothing that turns the world of adults upside down like children. The younger generation has been accelerating the rate of grey hair growth on their parents’ heads since time immemorial and that is not about to change. No wonder the good book says there is nothing new under the sun. It is quite interesting to hear complaints that today’s skirts are too short from the same people who, back in the day, wore dresses that ended almost before they began!

The hubby loves to describe to our young ones the way his younger brother used to perplex their dad with his ‘forward’ fashion sense that included bell-bottom trousers and impossibly high platform shoes. Whenever the old man would pass by his son’s room and spot the heels, he would ask the inevitable: “How does one walk in those shoes?”

Closer home, we have had our own share of head-shaking wonderment as the young ones, especially the girls, have threatened to be blown away by trends. It started with the older one asking, some seven years ago, if she could grow dreadlocks. Now this hairstyle had been around for a while so it was no longer a novelty, as long as it stayed out of our rather conservative home! But she is a girl with quiet determination and she just kept putting her case forward, for months, until she wore our resistance down.

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Then came the piercings – in the belly button as well as every available space on her ears. But I couldn’t really complain about the piercings because that would have been like throwing stones from a glass house. I got my own ear piercings when I was in high school, without my mother’s knowledge or permission. And I must admit that when I decided to get a micro-locs hairstyle, it was because the young lady had already laid the foundation for me!

Then our youngest started wearing trends we could not understand, thanks to “shosho media”. Track bottoms that the rest of us use for hanging around the house in the evenings and on weekends are used by her for going out to socialise! And when she showed a serious interest in make-up, once again the hubby and I were lost. What does one do with (previously) non-conventional occupations that have given rise to such job titles as MUA (that’s make-up artist, by the way), blogger, vlogger and YouTuber?

Eventually, we decided to link her up with a professional MUA who could teach her whatever she needed to know and today she’s all about brushes, colours, eye lashes, eye liners, primers et al. And when people started to engage her services for their big events, we figured our money was not lost after all!

Because history has a habit of repeating itself, I know our young ones will have their time to disapprove and lecture and issue ultimatums when they have their own children. I hope to be around to witness this.


Parenthood Youth Children
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