Pipes and Beards

I read The Revolution was Televised by Alan Sepinwall, lately. (The Cops, Crooks, Slingers, and Slayers who Changed TV Drama Forever.) I raced through it as I alternated between being enthralled and just wanting to finish. There's this throwaway paragraph on Mad Men that says:

"Though the fashions and popular culture still resemble what we think of as the 1950s rather than the '60s, hints of the counter-culture become stronger when Don is pushed to hire a pair of clever young copywriters named Kurt and Smitty, who can give Sterling Cooper access to the youth market that's so hard to reach. [...]

"It's [...] a huge leap from someone like Paul Kinsey, a Draper underling born only a few years before Smitty, but who grew up in a generation where being older was something to be admired, not feared. (Paul takes on various middle-age affectations like a pipe and a beard and is, unsurprisingly, left behind as the decade marches along.)"

"Pipes and beards -- I know those," I thought when I read that. When I was in college, it was very common for junior men to take on both those things. Heck, some of them even golfed! And later they moved on to scotch and Lipitor. I just never associated it with reverence of  middle-age.

I thought everyone of my generation was like me in that I was deeply affected by Peter Pan in my youth. "Never grow up" was the most sound advice I had ever heard. I mean, have you MET grownups?

Note: it's not really that I dislike beards. Some people look very handsome in them.

It's just that it makes me worry about my generation, this drive to look and act older. I worry as if it were identifiable or measurable. I know that by lumping so many people into a generation I render my statements meaningless -- generalized, simplified, inaccurate, not real. And of course, I'm really just noting a somewhat-common trend among college-educated white men that I know.

But guys, I thought we were the lost boys....

No comments:

Post a Comment