Opinion: Parachute pants and mall bangs
A close friend from college has become enamored with #TBT. Even a highly informed and well-read adult might wonder what is entailed in this au courant nomenclature. So please forgive the remedial lesson to those in the know but a hashtag (#) aids in categorizing information broadcast on social media and the letters (TBT) represent Throw Back Thursday which is the day designated for reminiscing online. The moniker usually accompanies a photo of the person making the post from a much earlier time in their life.
The pictures generally showcase one’s poor fashion sense, challenging coiffure, or dedication to an outdated fad. It seems the more embarrassing the reminiscence, the better. One’s parachute pants, Vanilla Ice-like lightning bolt fade haircut, and Macarena dance moves might all be fair game. Nostalgia with a bit of self-deprecating humor guides the intent and no harm is done.
One of my college friends has taken to blasting the occasional #TBT with my name attached. It is all harmless enough – even good, clean fun. However, in the 30 plus years since I last woke up in a dorm room, much has changed. For example, one of our compatriots from the 1980s generation took offense at a photograph of her featuring her “towering mall bangs” hairstyle. While the very engineering of her coif was impressive, she found it resurrected painful memories of a then boyfriend who’d eventually become an ex-husband. Politely, our friend obliged in removing the photo from social media.
But the self-imposed censorship invited a quandary. Who owns our past if we all have stock in a time and place that we once shared? Besides, can we legitimately hope to erase the reality of bad hair and cheating spouses? Maybe our focus should be keeping our contemporary life in order and simply let the past pass.