Let me start by saying the fact that I am still a little bit wobbly in the tummy area a few years post twins and I’m facing a penultimate birthday in January may bear a little influence in how I am feeling as of late. I feel a little delicate about my ageing self however there is a question that has been nagging at me for some years now and I need to know I am not alone in my thoughts.
When did our youth get so old?
In recent years something has happened to our kids. Tweenagers could easily walk past a bouncer in the latest trendy nightclub without so much as a glance in their direction to question whether they were of legal age. No-one plays outside much anymore, in fact Christmas morning can be a miserable sight when you look out the window and only see the glows from other houses as technology has gained another follower. Back to what has me feeling perplexed. I had forgotten debs season was upon us as I sunk into my hotel lobby chair as supermodel after supermodel walked past me in a whiff of some tanning product, mixed with perfume, contouring and eyebrow products and a vast amount of giddy excitement. It was on reflection and as the last few stragglers (who could walk perfectly in 6 inch stilettos) walked by, stopped me in my tracks when I realised there wasn’t a contest on. I saw the corsages for the first time and the well dressed boy-men alongside them and realised these were kids.
They were in perfectly fitted designer dresses with glowing tans, eyebrows, and eyeliner done so exquisitely that alone brought out the green eyed monster in me. I cast my mind back to my own debs night comparing my black handmade satin dress with matching elbow length gloves and a daring slit up my right thigh ,my curled in blonde bob , Sun shimmered face, Max factored eyelashes and a swipe of Rimmel Heather shimmer on my lips to finish the look. Plus not forgetting plenty of concealer to hide the acne that made my life hell all my teenage years. Fast forward to present day and hair, make-up, nail and tan appointments were made probably as soon as the debs date was announced. The excitement of dress shopping would nearly be akin with wedding dress shopping. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them cost the same as a wedding dress!
When I look back at my debs photos I look like a baby, I wonder when these girls look back will they see the baby or do they need to go back further, to when they were twelve, thirteen. Before the uniform of their generation kicked in, coiffed to perfection. In fact you might need to go back even younger , I was amazed recently watching a UK family entertainment show by a 12 years olds eye makeup! Did false lashes even exist 21 years ago?
I don’t think to this day if I practiced my eyeliner flick nightly in the two spares hours I have of an evening I’d come close to these girls. A makeup artist would need alot of concealer to hide the bags and no filter will remove the wrinkles but these have come from growing up, working hard, at some stage partying hard myself and then of course in recent years, being a Mammy. Is it just because I am officially “old” that I feel this way? I remember when growing up a family member was about to turn 30 and wasn’t very happy about their impending birthday and how at the time I may have thought 30 was old and a lifetime away. Now of course the irony that I am now nearing the end of that decade has come full circle but I’d like to think we are young (ish…..).
Did these girls even notice me in the lobby? swigging the dregs from my coffee cup, the glow from my laptop only accentuating the bags under my eyes. Or were they totally consumed and rightly so on the fun of the evening ahead, the right of passage that comes with the final official school function or for some younger girls their first debs invite. For all the confidence they exuded as they fluttered past maybe some were battling their own inner demons as they compare themselves to others around them too just like we did and in some ways still do, for differing reasons to this day. Let me say there is no malice intended here, they are beautiful girls inside and out and like we didn’t understand and don’t understand for good reason at times alot of our older generations ways and beliefs, generation Z were born sure and savvy and mature beyond their years.
They are extremely technologically advanced, sure we can see that in ten month old babies handling of smart phones. They exude confidence for the most part but don’t forget whilst they look ten years older they are subject to far far more than most of us ever did at that age. We had the ability to switch off when we left the school gates, to return to our safety nets of home and our friends in our cul-de-sacs. Exposure to social media 24/7 must feel relentless at times. Their four thousand close friends, vloggers, youtube tutorials all in their pockets all the time except when parents manage to pry them away for downtime. Whilst some video cassettes showing correct makeup application would have come in handy to me back then I do consider myself lucky to have grown up in the eighties. Kerbs, knockadolly, skipping, running around farmer Kelly’s field, they were fun times no internet in sight. There were no phones to use the selfie mode to take ten million pictures or use it as a handy portable mirror and I am grateful in a way that I grew up when I did. I wonder what it will be like when my own children enter the teenage years, by then the battle to be the cool mam will long be lost and maybe pieces from our childhood years may creep back into teenagers lives and intermingle with the positives from todays’ youths.
The pan stick and dodgy concealer may have been replaced with contouring perfection but wipe it away and the baby is still there underneath, in everyone.