"Why, oh why do they do it to themselves?" - that was the question posed to me by a colleague the other day as we observed a young girl standing outside our offices. I had no answer for him other than "Each to their own."
The young girl in question must've been around seventeen years of age, quite slim and possibly quite pretty (I say 'possibly' because no-one could ever decypher how she really looked for the inch of make-up plastered on her face and neck!) Her earlobes were 'adorned' with two of the biggest gold hoops I've ever seen - they were actually touching her collar bones. Above the hoops, for the full height of each ear and at seemingly non-specific points were a further six or seven hoops and studs. The piercing process had been repeated several times at various locations around her face - eyebrow, nose, cheeks, tongue. Around her neck hung enough 'gold' chains to keep Mr T happy for a few years, and on each finger of both hands (including thumbs)she wore at least three equally 'gold' rings. Each finger was topped with an enormous sparkling nail at least half as long as the finger from which it protruded. She was standing in a bus queue, raking around in her purse for change for the bus - she dropped the coins and her entire rucksack at one point, the coins were left where they fell.
She was wearing cut-off jeans and a red, sparkly 'boob tube' - this on a day when the temperature hadn't exceeded 5 degrees above freezing. Her feet were dressed in Dr Marten boots - green leather with approximately 16 lace holes - how did she lace them up with those nails???
She had no coat. What was showing of her legs was bright orange, tinged with blue, her chest, shoulders and arms were more a walnut colour, but only on the fronts, the backs of her arms and her shoulders were flesh tinged with blue, her face resembled one who'd been Tango'ed several times.
I always reply "Each to their own!" when posed with a question such as "Why do they do it to themselves?" and it's true, I really do mean each to their own - it would be a pretty awful world if everyone dressed and acted the same, but really, in this instance, in my head at least was the thought that somehow, somewhere, someone had told this young girl that she looked good. She certainly acted confident enough despite the obvious jaw-dropping of passers by.
I admired her bravery.
I was going to say that the youth of today have no respect for conformity, or tradition but then realised that that is what youth is, and has been for many years, a desire to make your mark on the world - the same can be said of Teddy Boys in the fifties, hippies and glam rockers in the sixties and seventies, punks in the eighties - remember how outlandish and ridiculed they were? Life goes on - and gets more and more outlandish with each generation I suppose. It's fun to watch.www.mcarthurbaker.co.uk