Yesterday afternoon we ended up at a party with a cast of dozens from a 6 month old baby to a 79 year old but the most prevalent group were the teenwolves patrolling the premises, hands jammed into pockets, perusing the scene picking off the sausage rolls and cans of Irn Bru and surrepticiously eyeing up the lager.
The highlight of any mixed gathering of ages is observing the crushing inhibition of the teenagers versus the total lack of inhibition of the elderly. I often think you could rule the world if you had the lack of inhibition of a 79 year old whilst line-free young and with it all ahead of you.
Anyway I digress. One of the teenwolves in evidence was wearing a pair of jeans, which had more holes than jeans, the crotch of which was actually toying with trailing along the ground. As he leaned louchely yet desperately self-consciously against a wall, slugging a can and feeling like the dogs bahookey my Mum went up, smiled at him and asked.
Are they meant to be like that?
Yes these are the best jeans I’ve ever owned he said as if that justified the threadbare mass that barely clung to his form. Oh she said turning to me, they look like yours. Eh? A brief glance down at my own legs which were covered in more lycra than denim, thigh squishing, bum holding inners and dark dark blue for maximum slimming effect made me think for a moment yup she’s finally lost it but then another look at the teenagers jeans brought it all back.
When a teenwolf myself I had a pair of leg coverings made of denim, to call them jeans would be an insult to all jeans everywhere.
They were made up a myriad of patches that my pal Johnny MacFarlane had made and after much pestering had leant to me for a family holiday to The Cotwolds. I was keeping them for a special occasion so as we checked into a Stately Home that was also running as a B&B my parents had no idea that having weighed up the surroundings of opulence and grandeur I decided tonight was the night to debut the fabulous denim look. Arranging to meet in the downstairs bar at 7pm gave me just about long enough to squish my body into said jeans before sauntering downstairs and into the bar. On entering I made two instantaneous observations 1 Surprisingly Jimmy Hill the pointy chinned sports commentator was standing with a crowd around him holding court at the bar and more urgently
2. my Dad’s face had turned from a normal ruddy Scottish hue to a deep rumbling red. ‘You are not wearing those to eat dinner’ – he pointed at my jeans. Yes I am. No you are not. Yes I am . No You are not. OK I said I don’t want dinner anyway and out I stomped in high dudgeon back to my room. God I was hungry. As time went on I expected the Peace Keeper that was my mum to come up and say ‘OK Alison if you ditch the breeks you can come back down and eat’ but she didn’t.
So I ran a bath and boiled myself to distract from the hunger and fury and unjust world in which I found myself and as I lay there listening to my battery operated radio the shocking news that Elvis Presley had died was announced.
August 16th 1977. I was 15. Teenwolf is 15. It brought it back, that moment, that era, that age, like an anvil to the head. Trousers, hormones, making a stand, unjust parents, them in control, me in purgatory, my pals being great,them being the worst parents ever. And here I am. Roles reversed. The words ‘you are not wearing those to visit your Grandma’ has come out of my mouth on more than one occasion and his reaction of ‘well I’m not coming’ has too.
So as it turns out ‘I’m just a teenage dirtbag baby’ could have been penned by me, a now 40 something woman in her bedroom in the 70’s as the universal recognition of the circle of hormones – never mind life – is inescapable.
Will this turn me into a more maleable understanding cool parent? I’d like to say yeh but I suspect I already know the answer will be to quote another family favourite ‘over my dead body’ followed by the teenager of whatever era muttering under their breath ‘if you insist’.
To all mothers everywhere. This is not a comedy sketch a documentary.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY -!