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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Fear of a hairspray-less planet

I guess I do live in a hippy-dippy city. It's something I've been thinking about ever since my boyfriend and I were all but accused of being evil liberals who want to indoctrinate the youth. Of course, that wasn't exactly how it was put. The argument was more that Austin is a town full of potheads (read: hippy-dippy liberals) and therefore a bad influence on tender young women. Really, I felt it was unfair. This is a wonderful town for young women, I thought. Tons and tons of young women live here and are perfectly fine, no harm done. Hell, we might just have more college age women per capita in Austin than anywhere else in the country. How bad could it be?
Thinking about this and walking around on campus, I found myself scrutinizing the women who passed me on the sidewalk. Even though class is out, I still passed a couple hundred in a half-hour walk. Most of the women were young, probably students. (Imagine that on a college campus.) Chatting on phones, reading books, walking quickly, sauntering, eating, whatever. I didn't see a troubled expression on a one. (This is actually rather unusual. On a random walk around campus you will roughly one girl an hour who is crying over some boy.) Nor did I see any that looked stoned or whatever scary things that supposedly happen to young women left to their own devices. Healthy and happy is the order of the day.
But for the first time in a long time there was something slightly off about the young women, actually all the women you see walking around here in Austin, something different than you presumably see elsewhere. Of the hundred or so women I saw walking around, I saw only two wearing any visible make-up and only one push-up bra. Tank tops and t-shirts dominated. I couldn't really see any hairdos you might describe as coiffed. I myself wouldn't really describe the women of this sample as hippies, though. I didn't see any hemp or tie-dye or anything like that. Just laid-back.
It's making me paranoid. Is this what makes people, girls especially, "weird" when they move here? That they give up stressing themselves out over their clothes and their hair and they seem to have their minds on other things? That they quickly realize that you don't have to spend two hours a day on your hair and make-up and you'll still get plenty of dates?


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