...bring back the rat tail. Yes, I'm serious.
In a world where trust issues arise from shoddy weather reports as well as the instability of celebrity couples, I sometimes find myself longing for reminders of the past when it seemed life was much more simple.
I'm not sure these things are going to help make everything right in a world where two crazy kids like Katy Perry and John Mayer just can't seem to make it work, but if, even just for a day, thinking about what once was can heal our hearts, we're better than we were yesterday, and there is hope for a better tomorrow.
Everyone enjoys a good throwback.
As someone who has a love for all things vintage and second-hand, I too am a fan of a good throwback, but recently, a certain phenomena popular in the 1980s crossed my mind and I just can't seem to shake the idea of a resurgence.
I'm not sure it will catch on again, but since I've seen random reference to it at least three times in the past week, I believe I'm ready to make a solid argument for it.
I want rat tails to make a comeback.
In fact, I believe it's my calling.
That's right. Rat tails: The hairstyle of the 1980s in which men have shorter hair on their entire head, all but for one long, often braided, piece placed at the base of their neck.
I know it sounds crazy, but stranger things have happened.
Hear me out. I need to lay some serious groundwork here before I present such a reach of an argument.
Have you ever heard of the term "hipster?" Let me explain if you haven't. A hipster is technically defined as "someone who follows the latest trends and fashions," which is precisely everything hipsters try to avoid. Hipsters have heard it all before, done it all before and thought it was cool way before it became cool.
So, they are on a constant search for the ironic. They look to trends and revivals from the past to set the groundwork for what will ultimately become the next big thing - which, again, is something they claim to hate, but something I think they feel a sense of satisfaction in, knowing they fancied something before it became "cool."
In the world of a hipster - and forgive me, I'm generalizing a bit here - as soon as something becomes mainstream or shortly before, the hipster is done with it and onto the next thing.
No one should get offended by that generalization, though because, by definition of the hipster subculture, the last thing a real hipster would ever do is identify himself as a hipster.
I know, I almost need a diagram; it's so very convoluted.
Hipsters are best observed in metropolitan areas and usually are pretty creative and fun despite their I'm-over-it-already attitude.
An observation I've picked up from living in Baltimore for a bit and frequent visits to Philadelphia, is that the "trickle-down theory" of trend-o-nomics.
Likely because they are exposed to a more diverse world culturally, and maybe even partly because there is so much competition, people in bigger cities, for the most part, seek individuality and venture out beyond their comfort zone in order to stick out.
Those trends then trickle down eventually to small cities such as our own and what hipsters are already over become on-trend in a big way.
For example: Mustaches as a trend (I'm aware there are those who whole-heartedly love mustaches. That's different.) I'm talking mustaches on everything: shirts, sunglasses, straws - faces, even. Anything you could possibly put a mustache on was cool about 10 years ago in bigger cities, but about four years ago, the trend trickled down to Shamokin and surrounding areas.
Some made mustache purchases which could be easily discarded, others, as I once witnessed, committed to the trend with the ultimate devotion: a tattoo.
To each their own, but I don't feel trends stand the test of time in the tattoo world.
I don't mean to make it sound like we're completely out of it around here; ideally, I think everyone should be an individual and do and wear what they want, but I see the mass majority of folks my age and younger falling prey to trends once they have already been capitalized on by big retailers.
When Walmart has a mustache wallet available, it may not be an entirely new concept.
But back to the rat tail.
This area sees a lot of different styles on the streets.
Now, I'll introduce you to the term "accidental hipster."
Basically, it's someone who has no idea, and I mean no idea, what a hipster is, but wears clothes or listens to music that just so happens to be popular with the hipster culture at any given time.
A good example of this is the guy who has been wearing the same Budweiser shirt for the past 30 years that bears a logo so outdated it's now awesome and vintage.
A hipster would search thift stores or even pay upwards of $50 online for a shirt so ironic.
The accidental hipster has never seen a reason to adapt to trends and, in staying true to the old faithful, ends up being unknowingly "with it," as trends and fashions circle back around, exceeding the progressiveness of even the coolest of actual hipsters.
Back to my argument for the rat tail.
I've seen them here. They exist here. I've seen photos. I've seen them in line at Dollar General. I've seen them at Walmart and I'm fairly certain there are at least two individuals permanently around town sporting them.
I saw one curly one and one that was braided and banded at the bottom. The braided one was very long. Impressively long. Years-of-dedication long.
Now, bear with me.
Paris and Milan, much like the common hipster, are always looking for the next big thing in the world of fashion and trends.
In small towns such as those that surround us, there is a decent amount of people who couldn't give a tiny rat's buttered behind about what's in or what's out.
Starter jackets have been going strong around here since I was in grade-school.
Flannels have come and gone on the runways of New York's Fashion Week about six times in the past two decades. Shamokin has never turned its back on flannel (for the record, that's something I support, before my best friend yells at me).
People have been wearing shirts with wolves howling at the moon around here since I was an infant, and that just became one of the top trends a few years back.
Many in this area do not give two flips what they look like. This is something I spoke to in one of my earliest columns as a negative thing.
But let's change that.
By fashion rationale, I feel, if a small city like Shamokin can single-handedly cause a resurgence of a trend as obscure as the rat tail, we have the potential to become the new fashion capital of the East Coast.
Think about it. Instead of going to Europe looking for the next big thing, fashion moguls can observe downtown on a day when the weather breaks.
It's far-fetched, yes, but it could be perfect.
Gone are the days where Shamokin is way behind the 8-ball when it comes to what's en vogue and here to stay is a city where trends are born.
It could put us on the map.
So, I ask you, if you have long hair and you are a male, consider a haircut of all but one piece at the nape of your neck. If you aspire to be among the trend-setters, nurture and grow your hair until it is long enough to commit to the rat tail.
Think about it, at least. Before you know it, the look will hit the runways, then you can revel in the fact that you had everything to with the infancy of something that eventually went global.
Or, perhaps no one cares about that kind of stuff and perhaps this argument has fallen flat, but I'd still like to see a lot more rat tails around here, so if you can't do it for fashion, do it for me.
(Jenna Wasakoski is an assistant editor at The News-Item.)