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CARLTON FLETCHER: Fashions, fads say a lot about an area

OPINION: ‘Posers’ have trouble ‘keepin’ it real’

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

Do what you want to do, but be what you are.

— Hall and Oates

If I’ve become nothing else in my life, I feel that I’m developing into something of a shrewd observer of human behavior. Of course, it could just be that I’m nosy and have an overactive imagination or some other such obnoxious habits, but I’m going to stick with the shrewd observer thing. It makes the following comments at least appear to carry more weight.

At any given period in American history, the day’s fads and fashions offer plenty of sociological fodder into the psyche of the populace of any given area. Obviously, the F&Fs differ from region to region, going through public test marketing in places like New York, L.A. and New Orleans and on trendy TV shows (like “Girls” or “Sex and the City”) before filtering down to ever-smaller communities.

(Side note: By the time the latest hip trends made their way to Ocilla, Georgia, in the mid-1970s, they were usually items of nostalgia in the big cities. That — and only that — is why you can take note of all the fashion don’ts that dot the Irwin County High School Class of ‘74 yearbook. Go Indians!)

Realizing that Albany, Georgia, circa 2014 — even with the Internet and satellite TV — is still no NYC or Big Easy, I’ve noted a few fads and fashions that I think deserve a mention, if only to allow the people utilizing them an opportunity to reconsider. Let’s call this “I’m just sayin’ …”

— Dudes. Driving a pickup truck that is four times larger than any other vehicle on the road — one of those that some of the little guys that drive them (and, yes, it’s usually some little guy) need a ladder to get into — does not enhance any part of your anatomy in any way. It just doesn’t.

— And, ladies, along those same lines: Slapping a pink “Cowgirl Up!” or “Put on your big girl panties and just deal with it” sticker on your pickup does not automatically earn you a place in the tough grrrrls club either.

— Guys. While the cowboy hat thing has kinda (thankfully) faded for the time being, wearing a Luke Bryan-endorsed trucker hat and dipping Skoal while ridin’ around listenin’ to Skynyrd or Brad Paisley on your truck’s megabucks sound system doesn’t any more make you “country” than wearing pants that sag below your … ummm … we’ll say “goodies” and sporting a Tupac “Thug Life” tattoo make you all “gangsta.” (And, yes, I’m aware that using a term like “all gangsta” does nothing for me in terms of “street cred,” which … oh, never mind.)

— Ladies. If you’ve got on those leggings that your gender seems to favor now (I think they’re a thinner, more glorified version of sweat pants, but then I’ve never won acclaim for my fashion sense) or pants that make the skin-tight jeans of the ’80s big-hair era look “relaxed fit” and the top that you’re wearing is cut so low it reveals your naval piercing, then, yes, any straight male past the age of 8 is staring at you when you pass by. Please don’t wear a get-up like that and get mad when someone gawks. It just ain’t fair.

— Ladies and gents. Sitting in a heated/air-conditioned building waiting for a wild animal to come buy and eat the treats you’ve laid out for him or her and then blasting the poor creature to kingdom come with your state of Georgia-approved semiautomatic weapon does not in any way make you an outdoorsman (or woman). And when you call your hunting gear “accessories” … well, just be glad you weren’t “hunting” in the woods of rural Irwin County back in the day. You probably would never have made it out.

— And, finally, all you motorcycle enthusiasts. You can spend all your retirement money on a Harley or one of the other boss “hogs” that are popular with your demographic, and you can go a couple of weeks without shaving and cover your body with leather. But you’re still just a retired CPA from the suburbs.

Ahem … I’m just sayin.’