Saturday, February 28, 2009

Trend Spotting & Those Pesky Kids

D and I made the ultimate mistake last night. We went to the movies.

This might seem like a fairly innocuous way to spend a Friday night. Typical, even. My parents' trip to STL was canceled as my dad wasn't feeling well and I felt like I was well on my way to getting a cold myself. So we decided to take it easy and -- as we used to say in high school -- go to The Show. (I did not go to high school in the dark ages, I do not know why we called it The Show.)

Anyway, I wanted to see The Reader, David wanted to see Taken. I generally like Liam Neeson, so I was somewhat willing to let him talk me into it. Plus I was sitting in a quiet coffee shop on the phone as we discussed, so I felt self-conscious about arguing. But after we'd gotten off the phone, David texted me the time and place. It was playing at the big 20-plex theater out in the county, not at my favorite 6-plex theater attached to a swanky hotel in the Central West End. I immediately texted him:

"Nooo!!! Not the tween scene!"

But that is exactly where we ended up. We walked up to the ticket booth and almost turned around and walked back to the car. The entire front sidewalk of the theater was crammed with junior high kids. It was ridiculous. The volume was unbelievable. Shrill junior high girl voices screeching. It was unreal. I covered my ears and stared.

We had been to this theater before on a Friday night and it was always a bit of a zoo with kids being dropped off and lots of groups of slouchy boys and hair-tossing girls. But this night was different. Evidently there was a Jonas Brothers Concert Experience also playing at the theater. Both shows were sold out. And ALL their groupies were outside.

I should say that I am not an old grouch. I feel optimistic about America's youth. I generally like teenagers. I mean, I'm bitten and smitten with Twilight, I watch Gossip Girl, and I think that Zac Efron is pretty cute. I have a lot in common with the average thirteen year old girl. But seeing them all together, en masse, it was something else.

Every girl there under the age of 16 -- and I am not exaggerating -- was wearing Uggs. Hot trends: Northface coats, Coach bags, skinny jeans, and the ubiquitous Uggs. One inexplicably popular look was the Northface jacket with Adidas soccer shorts, tights (my favorite look was hot pink tights) with tall Ugg boots. There were several girls wearing this. There were also lots of girls sporting shorts without tights but with Uggs. (It was about 30 degrees out). All of them clutched their cell phones. There was a lot of screaming and also they were brushing each other's hair. I told David that I had never acted like that. The middle-aged man in front of us turned around and said, "Oh, yeah, right!" But seriously! I think I was more sullen and eye-rolling than giggly and hair-brushing. But maybe I'm just blocking all of eighth grade. And who could blame me?

So the girls were one thing but the boys freaked me out too. In their baggy jeans and their hoodies, traveling everywhere in groups of three or four and dropping curse words and homophobic language. It took everything I had not to ask a curly-haired boy if he kissed his mother with that mouth as he gratuitously dropped the F-bomb. I mean, there is a time and place for salty language, but I hardly think that the parking lot of the theater just after you climbed out of your mom's MINI-VAN is either the time or the place. And why do you have an i-phone?? I don't have an i-phone! Why do you get an i-phone?

And don't even get me STARTED on the hummer limo that cruised by, full of awkward teenages screaming out the windows. The middle-aged man in front wondered aloud what kind of parents rent limos for their kids. I kept my mouth shut, but it seemed obvious to me: the kind of parents who realize that $80/hour is a bargain when it means that the screeching pack of tweens/teens is out of your hearing range for the evening. Seems like a brilliant plan to me.

Anyway, once the Jonas Brothers sold out, the tweens dispersed themselves to other theaters. We ended up behind six of them in Taken. So I got to watch them text for an hour and a half. Seriously? You think that just because you're not talking that your little lit-up screen is not distracting me from the only other lit-up screen in the theater? And what the hell are you texting about?

The movie was un-good, which actually made the entire situation more tolerable as I would have been much more annoyed if I had to watch The Reader while sitting behind these kids and their occasional exclamations "Daaa-yum!" and their whisper-whisper-whisper-SHHHH BE QUIET-giggle-giggle-giggle-smack-each-other and their musical chairs OMG YAY LET'S SET FOUR PEOPLE IN THREE MOVIE SEATS THIS IS SO FUNNY co-ed snuggling.

So I sat quietly and gritted my teeth and as we left the theater, D and I made a pact to never return there for a 7:30 show on a Friday night. Live and learn. But at least I know that Uggs and shorts is the hot look for spring with the too-young-to-drive crowd.


  1. My grandma calls it The Show as well. And the dollar movie place in Independence is The Cheap Show. Perhaps it is a Missouri thing.

  2. Johnny says that your entry sums up his every day. Rahahahaha. Wish I could wear skinny jeans:(