We talk a lot about selfies these days, and how having so much emphasis on how we look is detrimental, especially to young girls. I agree, but I must admit it's fun to turn on my phone and discover funny selfies Margaret has taken, which I DARE NOT post here. She's 12. I'm learning, learning, learning.
I was thinking back to my middle school and high school years-- you know in the days before a "tween" was a thing-- and even though we didn't have the means to take many pictures, we still managed to capture the ugh and angst of those years pretty well.
For us it began in the photo booth.
Not the cute, 5 in a row black and white photos so popular at weddings and bat mitzvahs these days. It was a Polaroid booth inside Woolworths at the mall. As in, "Have your mom drop you off and meet me at the photo booth!" You would squeeze in with one, maybe 2 of your best friends of the week, hold really still, and hope that your fluffy, center-parted hair would make it in to the picture, but the zit on your chin would not.
When we made it to high school, the Polaroid booth morphed into our own cameras, usually of the lousy Disc variety-- a short-lived experiment by Kodak that made everything look grainy, as if it were taken through cheesecloth or a window screen, long before Instagram would introduce a generation to cool filter effects.
The REALLY, REALLY good news: "sharing" our photos mean ordering doubles. At worst, one or two people would have access to a bad or embarrassing photo. A shoe box under the bed or a sticky "magnetic album" provided a level of privacy that is a foreign concept to us today. Worst case scenario was that you might wear a jaunty Liz Claiborne felt hat to school in 8th grade and it would make its way into the yearbook. Not that I'd know anything about that.
Maybe you passed around your summer beach pics in the cafeteria once school started, showing off your baby oil tan. I'm still peeved that an ex boyfriend kept my little plastic keychain photo from Ocean City, the kind you'd look through to see the photo illuminated at the end, because now there is no proof that I ever looked decent in a bikini, even if it was for 45 fleeting seconds in 1987.
Even though my best friend Lisa and I couldn't snap with abandon like kids do these days, because we had to buy our film and pay for developing, we spent quite a few date-less Friday nights taking pictures of each other. We came up with themes and went around my house looking for clothes that would complement what we consider to be out "artsy" tableaux.
Note the wild and rugged theme here:
I wonder if Lisa still has her banana clip. I have mine.
Or check out the romantic theme here. A teddy bear and pearls really set the stage for romance, don't you think? Gosh, I loved that haircut!
Not sure where I'm going with this trip down memory lane, but I thank The Good Lord that I was born when I was. I think girls have always wanted to pose for the camera and document good times with friends; I'm just glad I'm posting these as a 40-something who can look back on those exhilarating, hard, weird times with a smile rather than (too much of) a cringe.