• Share
  • Read Later

(6 of 10)

The shrieking blonde ripped the big tackle's shirt from his shoulder and Charlestoned off through the crowded room, fan-dancing with a ragged sleeve. In her wake, shirts fell in shreds on the floor, until half the male guests roared around bare to the waist. Shouts and laughs rose above the full-volume records from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The party, celebrating the departure of a University of Texas coed who had flunked out, had begun in midafternoon some three hours earlier. In one corner, four tipsily serious coeds tried to revive a passed-out couple with more salty dog (a mixture of gin, grapefruit juice and salt). About 10 p.m., a brunette bounded on to the coffee table, in a limited striptease. At 2 a.m., when the party broke up, one carload of youngsters decided to take off on a two-day drive into Mexico (they got there all right, and sent back picture postcards to the folks).

The younger generation can still raise hell. The significant thing is not that it does, but how it goes about doing it. Most of today's youngsters never seem to lose their heads; even when they let themselves go, an alarm clock seems to be ticking away at the back of their minds; it goes off sooner or later, and sends them back to school, to work, or to war. They are almost discreet about their indiscretions, largely because (unlike their parents) they no longer want or need to shock their elders. The generation has "won its latchkey." It sees no point or fun in yelling for freedom to do as it pleases, because generally no one keeps it from doing as it pleases. It is not rebellious-either against convention or instruction, the state or fate, Pop or Mom. Toward its parents, it exhibits an indulgent tolerance. As one young New Yorker put it with a shrug: "Why insult the folks?"

The younger generation seems to drink less. "There is nothing glorious or inglorious any more about getting stewed." says one college professor. Whether youth is more or less promiscuous than it used to be is a matter of disagreement. Fact is that it is less showy about sex. Whatever its immoralities, it commits them on the whole because it enjoys them, and not because it wants to demonstrate against Victorian conventions or shock Babbitt. In that sense, it is far less childish than its parents were. As a whole, it is more sober and conservative, but in individual cases, e.g., the recent dope scandals, it makes Flaming Youth look like amateurs.

The younger generation is tolerant of almost anything, shocked by little. Young men who may personally think sex experience before marriage wrong are perfectly tolerant toward anyone who disagrees. Gay blades report that young women, when they turn down what is still known as a "pass," do so apologetically, as if they were exhibiting a social shortcoming like an inability to mambo. The girl's usual excuse: "I am so sorry, it's just the way I was brought up."

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10