Thursday, December 18, 2014

2372 Sock and Roll

From time to time I find myself using phrases that have become passé while I wasn't paying attention. Words that are so old younger folks look at me with a blank stare when I say them. The blank stare says a lot itself, as it seems to include their silent thoughts that I am old and out of touch.

Take, for instance, the term "sock hop." Many young folks haven't had to encounter it in any real way, but I come from an era when we actually went to said shoeless celebrations.

Sock hops were, simply, school dances. They came about because Junior Highs and High Schools needed a large place in which to hold their school authorized parties. That place was the gym. The gym, unfortunately, at least for ordinary footwear and dancing purposes, had a polished and waxed hardwood floor for the basketball players. A floor that could, we were told, be ruined by hard-soled shoes.

So your choices, should you wish to go to such a dance, were to wear either tennis shoes, which was what we called cross-trainers in those days, or socks. The scuff making, hard leather, black, shiny, and pointy-toe shoes favored by beboppers were pedestra non grata.

Amusingly, and somewhat ridiculously, for formal dances girls dressed in their prom finest had to shuck their elegant high heels in favor of bare nylons or tennis shoes. The boys usually settled for black socks. For the regular fun dances, held after football or basketball games, we all wore thick white gender-neutral gym socks. 

As far as I recall none of us actually hopped, though the old chaperones, with sour spasms of disapproval clenching their lips, may have characterized our teenage gyrations as some sort of animalistic leaping, bounding, and/or hopping.

Ah, youth.

America, ya gotta love it. 

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