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All I do is cull the web for others, so might as well post what I find. Today wasn’t a particularly rich day, but I started late.

The life of an early-’60s adolescent male was curiously confined. We still inhabited our parents’ moral universe. Dating was difficult—no one had cars; our homes were too small for privacy; contraception was available but only if you were willing to confront a disapproving pharmacist. There was a well-founded presumption of innocence and ignorance, for boys and girls alike. Most boys I knew attended single-sex schools and we rarely encountered women. A friend and I paid hard-earned money for Saturday morning dance classes at the Locarno Ballroom in Streatham; but when it came time for the annual social, the girls from Godolphin & Latymer School laughed at us all the same. We cut the experiment short

Even if you got a date, it was like courting your grandmother. Girls in those days came buttressed in an impenetrable Maginot Line of hooks, belts, girdles, nylons, roll-ons, suspenders, slips, and petticoats. Older boys assured me that these were mere erotic impedimenta, easily circumnavigated. I found them terrifying. And I was not alone, as any number of films and novels from that era can illustrate. Back then we all lived on Chesil Beach.

And then, to our surprise, we learned that we were part of the “sexual revolution.” Within a matter of months, a generation of young women abandoned a century of lingerie and adopted the miniskirt with (or without) tights. Few men of my acquaintance born later than 1952 have even heard of—much less encountered—most of the undergarments listed above. The French pop star Antoine sang optimistically of buying contraceptive pills in the Monoprix (approximately France’s K-Mart). At Cambridge, cool and worldly, I helped a friend arrange an abortion for his girl. Everyone was “playing with fire.”

    What has replaced it is something far more fluid – descriptive rather than prescriptive, as the terminology goes. In schools, appropriateness has replaced the principle of correctness. “Now, one looks at all varieties of language and asks why they are used, says Crystal. “We are rearing a generation of kids who are more equitable and more understanding about the existence of language variety and why it is there.”

    Written by menachemkaiser

    15 March at 16:10

    Posted in rants

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