On Thursdays, I teach a creative writing class to elementary-school kids. Lately, all the kids–most of them guys–have been showing up at my house wearing these crazy bracelets, animal shaped bracelets of different colors. One of the kids told me that he has classmates who have so many bracelets, they stretch from the wrist to the elbow.
It reminded me of friendship pins, a craze I participated in during 3rd grade. Friendship pins were nothing more than safety pins with a few beads strung on them, in different patterns. We wore them on our shoes, where the laces cross over, and I remember that my shoes were entirely covered by friendship pins. Not that I had that many friends, mind you. I made most of them myself. I just fell in love with the idea and the rest is history.
But I haven’t gotten invested in any other crazes. In high school, I was pretty much a dork, with zero fashion sense. I actually believed it was cool to be myself, but that meant I didn’t have a lot of friends because being myself in high school was actually really hard to do. I do remember one fashion craze at the time was wearing two different colored socks, for example, blue on top and red on bottom. I mixed it up a little. On one side, I wore blue on top and red on bottom, and on the other side, I wore red on top and blue on bottom. A girl in my youth group ridiculed me for it, which meant I had to keep doing it because I couldn’t possibly pretend that I cared enough to conform.
The adult world has plenty of fashionistas, and we didn’t seem to leave those crazes behind. Still, I don’t see as many of them, and we don’t participate in quite the same way. A few years ago, a friend gave me a Stephen Colbert Wriststrong bracelet, but his eyes were snapping with humor when he did it. Sure, I’ve worn it. But always with a sense of irony.