Wednesday, March 12, 2014

You Are NOT a Redneck, I Assure You

My eldest recently informed me of a current trend of which I was unaware. Apparently, everyone wants to be a redneck now.

Does anyone else find that terribly amusing?
When I was in school, the last thing anyone would want to be known as was a redneck. “Preppie” was the in-look. (At the outlet mall a couple days ago, I pointed out to my eldest the Polo and Izod stores and described the look we strove for in junior high: button-down shirt over a polo with the collar turned up – and of course, all with an appropriate little emblem embroidered over the heart. She was appalled. You will never catch her wearing a collared shirt by choice, she insists. Hmph. I may have to record that statement for posterity.)
But now it's the in-thing to be a redneck. Or at least to claim to be a redneck, even if everyone who knows anything about you knows full well that you're no more a redneck than you're a bottle-nosed dolphin.
Supposedly, Duck Dynasty is to blame for this trend. Interesting, really. I mean, yeah, the Robertsons have a lot of things going for them. I would appreciate if my daughters strove to have similar values . . . if they had such good minds for business . . . if they had the knowledge of nature and independence the Robertsons display . . . if they had their sense of humor . . . if they created the same family bonds in their homes someday.
But those don't seem to be the qualities kids are striving for. No, my daughter's friends are now posting pics of themselves in camouflage. They're talking about hunting and eating wild game. Driving pickups. If they could do so, I bet the boys would grow beards.
(Ew. Seriously. I like the Robertsons, but Lord knows if my husband tried to grow one of those long scraggly beards, he'd be missin' some kissin' real fast.)
And this isn't a Texas thing, folks. These are Iowa friends. Maybe even some Jersey ones. It's one thing when a Texas boy tells you he's going shooting this weekend. When a Jersey boy tells you that, you start worrying where they're going to stash the bodies.
I suppose this shouldn't surprise me. That's what teenagers do, right? They try on a variety of personas until they find one that fits them. And the inherent insecurity of the age group won't allow them to try a persona that nobody else is giving a shot at. They have to find their uniqueness in a group. They have to express their individuality en masse.
Preppies. Punk-rockers. Emos. Greasers. Valley girls. Goths. We've all been there and done that. Here's what I'm wondering, though: how many adult friends do I have that suddenly bought something in camo within the last year?
Don't we all still exhibit this groupthink mentality to some degree? Which of my adult friends pick up new hobbies or interests or hairstyles just because they've suddenly become hot? (Who had a “Rachel” in the 90s when Friends was on? Hmm?) How many of us buy a sweater we see in the store which we wouldn't have had any interest in except that ten of our friends have recently worn very similar sweaters? How many of us added new words to our vocabulary in the past few years not because they were useful words, but because they made us sound hip?
We're all still teenagers, deep down. Still playing with the trappings – clothes, hairdos, cars, lingo, hobbies, habits – to find the right wrapping paper for what's inside. Still trying on personas to see what fits.
I'm not sure if that makes me feel young . . . or makes me feel old.

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