How did this become a thing? Here’s a list of twelve inexplicable things.

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When I was a teen in the 60s, these were “things”:  madras purses too small for two Kleenexes; Izod crocodiles on 220px-Wizard_troll_doll-low_resbreast pockets; fluorescent-haired troll dolls; hip hugger jeans, white gym shoes with tan-colored stockings (held by thigh-grinding garter belts); shocking pink paired with lime green; Bob Dylan.

I embraced these things in hopes that some day I would sit at the cool kids’ table, but I never thought about how these things became “things.”

When I was a middle school teacher, I was forever trying to puzzle out how adolescent things became “things.”  Trousers that sagged and revealed underwear; Gothic black;  frayed, holey jeans; UGGs and Crocs,  Avril Lavigne.800px-CrocsAccessories

And here I am in my very adult life, still wondering, “How in the heck did this become a thing?”

Here are a dozen modern day “things.”

plated asparagus and poached quail egg appetizer

Small plate of asparagus and poached quail egg

1. How did small bites in expensive restaurants become a thing?  I don’t recall any time in my life saying, “Let’s get dressed up—I’ll even put on a bra–and go spend a lot of money on a little bit of food so I’ll be hungry enough to come home and eat my leftover meatloaf?

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2.  Milk
variety has somehow become a “thing.”  Milk is something that comes from the nipples of mammals, right?  So how did all these other fluids get to be named “milk”? Almond milk, rice milk, cashew milk, milk from expressed from soybean teats?  I don’t know how this became a thing.

3. Women’s bare legs?  How did this become a thing?  Women dressed in power suits, teetering on four-inch heels, with their  naked, chalky legs, even in winter.  All legs can be improved with a natural hued pair of stockings.  They give a polished look; in other words, you can’t tell if you’ve shaved recently.

4. So how did this become a thing?  Cars with push button starts When did it become bothersome to put a key in the ignition? “It’s been a rough day at the office.  Thank goodness I don’t have to turn a key!” Is it a matter of, if it ain’t broke, fix it anyway?

Business woman standing in office

5. So how did toilet paper advertising become a thing? Who knew there were so many choices?  Scented paper.  Moist paper.  Toilet paper on huge rolls, so you don’t have to replace it as often (maybe a good thing that could save marriages). Paper embossed with fleur di li to get into cracks and crevices, toilet tissue that really cleans, if you are to believe the little bear family promoting them.  You could wear your underwear a second day, they claim, but of course who would do that?  You could go commando—be a bare bear—which must be on someone’s bucket list.   Here’s the thing: I don’t want to think about your bum and I bet you don’t want to think about mine.  Don’t ask, don’t tell.

6. Granite!  When did this become a thing?  Why does everyone have to have granite countertops nowadays?   I can’t granitetexturepaper_07-091815-497think of a single time in six decades of Formica, thinking, oh how I long for a more expensive, heavier, block of rock on my counters in a choice of 82 shades of speckled beige.

Michelle_Obama7. We all know how seasonably inappropriate sleeveless dresses became a thing:  when Michelle Obama appeared at the State of the Union address, in January, arms bared.  The Republicans were apoplectic, and I admit it took my breath away.  This will not end well, I thought, and within days each female broadcaster was exposing her arms, purging fleshy women of a certain age from the talent pool.  There are shawls and shrugs and bolero jackets and long sleeves for a reason, people.

8.  When did that pose that female millennials strike on Facebook become a thing? Hand on hip, chest thrust out, legs crossed to minimize the width of the hips? (My younger daughter calls it the “broken teapot pose) Might as well don bunny ears and tail! I thought we had “come a long way, Baby.”

9. Therapists on demand by text or phone, how did that become a thing?  You’ve seen the commercial, right?  A fit woman hiking to a mountain peak, and the voice-over assures you that you can call your therapist anytime, anywhere to get advice.  Isn’t that what we used to call “best friends”?  Is the commercial implying that the hiker needs an emotional tune up before approaching a steep ledge?vector-zipper_z1jQYlw__L

10. How did visible zippers on clothes become a thing?  Preposterous! What’s next?  Visible bra straps?  Oh, yeah. Already a thing.

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11.  How did doggy-as-consumer become a thing?  In TJMaxx there are two aisles devoted to Halloween costumes, hair ribbons, pedicure sets, vibrators, Barkarita mix, and curling irons for dogs while all of the clothes in my size are hanging on a nail on the restroom door.

12.  Remember when a refreshing glass of water tasted like, well, nothing?  When thirst-quenching was the only thing you expected from H2O?  How did lemon in water become a thing?

I guess there will always be things that are “things.”  How else will we sort people: who’s in and who’s out; who’s rising and who’s setting; who’s a leader and who’s a joiner; who’s a winner and who’s a loser?  First world considerations.

“All human societies go through fads in which they temporarily either adopt practices of little use or else abandon practices of considerable use.”~ Jared Diamond

What “things” have you scratching your head?  Can’t wait to hear.

29 Comments

  1. Sue T. will get a big laugh about the TP remarks because she cares about those things to the point of distraction. She was delighted about the huge rolls of TP. She looked at me and said, THERE. As if I had something to do with it.

    Great read.

  2. I’m so glad bare legs came into style after my corporate (and dress/skirt/suit-wearing) days were over. Not only is it unforgiving on most legs, but living here in Northeastern Ohio it makes as much sense in January as a sleeveless dress. Love this piece, Sandy!

  3. My be your best work yet, Sandy! Loved it.

  4. I was laughing out loud from “How did this become a thing?” and the visual of small plate. I hadn’t even read another word. How do you do it?

  5. It’s all so arbitrary.

  6. Terrific, Sandy! I’ve often thought about the fads but never would be able to express it with your funny flair😂

  7. I’m laughing out loud, Sandy! The poses in the fb photos – hands on the hips as if something has really been accomplished. Thanks for this one, especially!

    • Love you, KK. Give Snichols a hug for me.

  8. Loved this so much. Here’s my contribution – leggings. They’re nothing more than tights without feet yet women all over of every age and size are stretching the elasticity of spandex without the benefit of a large floppy top or dress to cover. Enough! Learn how to zip up a pair of pants!

  9. I went bare-legged with skirts in the 60’s because I always got runs in my hose and they cost too much to keep replacing. Folks thought I was insane. But apparently I was just ahead of my time.

    • Trend setter! You knew it was a thing before it was a thing! You’re good!

  10. Write(right) on target as all your musings ! Always look forward to an entertaining read whenever I see your name.

    • Thanks, Evie. Haven’t seen you in a hundred years! Hope you are well.

  11. Loved this! Why DO we need granite counter tops?
    I notice how the grocery aisles have changed since I was a kid. When did whole rows of ice cream become a thing? I think it used to be one freezer case back in the days when no one was health conscious.

    • This is so true. The consumer’s choices in America are amazing.

  12. Funny, so true. Wonderful read as always.

    • Thanks, Linda. So glad you enjoyed it and took the time to tell me.

  13. So many more THINGS to question ~
    1. Flip-flops year-round.
    2. “Cool” car sounding like it needs a new engine.
    3. 2-day beards.
    4. Brown shoes with navy, grey, or black suits.
    5. Dogs going everywhere. (REALLY BIG PEEVE!, especially after my lunch was snatched from my purse at my grandson’s ballgame last weekend in a park posted “No Pets”.)
    6. Baseball caps on everyone everywhere all the time, never removed.

    You made me think & laugh as always, Sandy!

    • With your permission, Lisa, I’d like to add these to the bottom of your post, giving you credit, of course. Don’t recognize your email . . . Lisa who?

    • #3 & 4 especially! When I see unshaven celebrities on TV, I scream, “You’re on national TV. Shave!” I didn’t know about the brown shoe thing until the salesperson told my husband when he bought a suit for my daughter’s wedding.

  14. What an interesting take on life. What about tops for women that show the side of the boob now. It’s more hot than showing cleavage or the midriff. Where are sleeves in dresses when you want them in winter to stay warm? Laughed a lot.

  15. Okay. I give. Laughing right out loud. This is masterful writing !

  16. Street gutter language–when did that become acceptable? The what I call “ugly” words are now on the playgrounds, in living rooms, everywhere. English has so many acceptable words, why coarsen it so? Maybe I’m just a product of my generation, my grandchildren often tell me so.

  17. Loved this!

    I’m an interior designer and don’t get the granite craze.

    What about couples showers, destination bachelor and bachelorette parties/weekends, and these extravagant gender reveal parties????

    Annette

    • Can I add these to the end of the blogpost, with your name?

  18. Sandy, I’m sorry I didn’t read this right away! I love this!

    “82 shades of speckled beige ” hilarious

    Let me add
    1) watching other people’s lives on reality television and people being famous based only on these shows
    2) helicopter patents who are present in every moment of their children’s lives…how the hell will these kids have stories later about what they got away with?
    3) thousands of kinds of mustard, vinegar, oil.
    4) spicy chocolate

  19. Having three young kids, I wonder when expensive gift bags for children’s party guests and $400 birthday parties with bounce houses, Disney princesses, and laser tag became a thing.

  20. SOOO funny….and true! Your photo of Avril Lavigne made me think of a “thing” back in our day named Twiggy!
    Just a couple of other “things” that puzzle me:
    1. Man-buns??
    2. The spinny things that tweens are carrying around everywhere
    3. Vineyard Vine brand is a must-have

  21. Hahaha! How did you manage to get all of these down? I especially liked the milk category — squeezing the teats of a soybean!
    Keenly observed and wonderfully written!

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Sandy Lingo

Life itself is the proper binge.  - Julia Child

A writing friend said that when she reads my writing, she always wants a second helping.

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