I am guessing that this blog will appear in all the wrong lists with a title like this one, but this is the exact subject I wish to discuss.
The picture isn't right, but I am not going to type 'half naked teenagers' into my search-engine - oh no!
Whilst on holiday mit the family in Newquay, and during a gentle constitutional through the town centre, I was struck by something that made me feel uncomfortable and old all at the same time.
During the mid morning, the entire place seemed to be filled with semi-clad kids, mostly girls. There were tummies, thighs, bottoms, cleavages and more (much more in one case), all on show in the street. One girl was wearing a pair of shorts that were so brief that I could see the imprint of her spleen. Another wore a skirt so short that I was fully informed of the nature of her next-day's dirty laundery. All in all - I felt like I had fallen into the centre-fold of a lad's magazine.
I am red-blooded and appreciative of the finer aspects of the female form. I am no prude, I am not squeamish and I am, on the whole a 'live and let live' kind of man. But I found myself feeling uncomfortable, and suddenly I realised that I had turned into my own dad. It seems that beach-chic Newquay style, on a hot day in July, involves as little as possible in the clothing department - and why not? Many girls were wandering through in just bikinis, the boys seemingly overdressed in the long-shorts and tshirt culture of surfing dudes male.
I felt myself rebuking them in my thoughts (all the while explaining to my daughter why that girl was showing off her pants, and why those pants were far too small for her [she did the 'why' thing]), then rebuking myself for being a dinosaur. Actually, I reasoned, they are their bodies - they can do what they like with them. My first instinct was to pass judgement on their sense of taste and decency in the inner workings of my own thoughts, though this quickly turned into thought about how much of a hypocrite I was being. I would ordinarily fight for their right to their own expression of who they are. I would preach that they celebrate the gifts that they have been granted in the brief moment of their younger years. They were celebrating their gifts, I was heart-set to want them to conceal them like a dirty secret. They were dressed for their own comfort and convenience and they were at ease.
Is this the slow descent into genuine old-gitism? I was embarrassed by beauty which, in the end, wasn't cheapened - it wasn't a pornographic show (not that I know what one looks like, you understand). They were being themselves all the while I was wishing that they weren't. It was me who cheapened beauty ....
(For those who reached this Post through a Google Search and didn't get what you expected ... tough!)