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How has being a teenager changed?

(39 Posts)
GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 01-Nov-12 10:58:25

In this week's guest blog 60-something Maxine Linnell writes about going clubbing to find out what it's like to be a teenager. Is being 16 much the same as it ever was?

feetlebaum Thu 01-Nov-12 12:02:24

"Going clubbing"... dismisses mental image of baby seals...

Go back to the 50s, when I was 16, and being a 'teenager' didn't really happen, as the marketing concept 'teenager' wasn't yet established here.

I don't recall the pressures that are on adolescents today - fashion? We wore much the same as our parents wore. 'Cool' was a term descriptive of a more cerebral style of jazz. We rode the bus or the Underground to get to our entertainments - cinema, theatre, speedway, jazz club. The occasional joint went round, but it was all kept very secret, and I never saw any kind of barbiturates.

I was 16, my girlfriend was 15 (she's a great grandmother now, and we are still a little bit in love!) and however grey people like to say the 50s were, we had some decidedly pink moments...

Mishap Thu 01-Nov-12 14:17:20

Being a teenager didn't happen for me as I was only allowed out to the church youth club (yawn, yawn!!). I was pig sick because my brother was out there putting it about! - just not fair!!

The nearest we got to a club scene was a local coffee bar after school - pretty tame stuff really.

Shaking off the shackles at uni was a bit of a culture shock!

feetlebaum Thu 01-Nov-12 15:29:41

Espresso coffee was a bit of a chock too... I first encountered it at Bunjie's, a cellar coffee bar just of Charing Cross Road - talk about sophistication! Spag bol on glass plates! And the coffee... I drank two cups, got the Tube home and went to bed -- and spent the next few hours staring into the darkness -- sleep was not an option!

feetlebaum Thu 01-Nov-12 15:31:34

... and for 'chock' read 'shock' -- this keyboard can't spell...

annodomini Thu 01-Nov-12 16:16:00

Teenager in the '50s? What was that? My friends may have been allowed to go up the coast to the dance hall in Largs, but not me. My big night out was Guides on Friday! Oh and sometimes, if there was a film I wanted to see, I joined up with friends at a local cinema. I was terribly shy, especially with boys which is strange because I always went to a co-ed school. Or maybe it was there that I saw the worst of the opposite sex!

kittylester Thu 01-Nov-12 17:17:03

My dad went to check out the coffee bar before I was allowed there on a Saturday afternoon. He wasn't too happy about it but decided that it would be ok if I came home on the 5pm bus. blush I also belonged to the church youth club where there were boys!

sussexpoet Thu 01-Nov-12 17:18:53

I was born in 1937, so was a teenager before the word came over from America. And I certainly didn't have much fun and next to no freedom, with a strict curfew, parents whose vocabulary did not include the word "privacy" and who did everything humanly possible to make my life a misery! I left school and then college at the earliest opportunity and went to work (not taking up the university place that was offered to me) as I was constantly reminded how much it cost them to keep me and my mother not only took half my wages for my "keep" but also stole my savings. My two brothers, on the other hand, were given everything, especially the youngest who was the apple of my father's eye. Believe me, I've had - and am still having - a 100% happier time since I became an "old age pensioner." (I remember Bunjie's Coffee House - and the music that was played there - with great affection.)

HilaryCME Thu 01-Nov-12 17:45:16

Being a teenager in the 60s : rides in boyfriend's aged open top car at speed down the hills near Crystal Palace; saveloys, halves of bitter, bad hair days, tons of evil smelling hairspray; doing homework with 3 jumpers on because of lack of heating; great discussions with girlfriends about moral issues like abortions and the pill; walking home after an evening out from the tube at double quick speed in case followed by a dodgy character; getting a Saturday job in the public library; spending the money on an orange jumper and a pale green mini kilt ---
but no drugs on offer, and none of this electronic gadgets pressure all the time. And the Saturday job would be very hard to get these days, so no financial independence to fund weird fashion choices.
Then it was on to university, left wing politics, idealism, and 1967 I was in the battle of Grosvenor square demo against the Vietnam war- we thought we could change the world. My nephew has turned out to be an idealist, and also wants to change the world, better agriculture, grow your own food. Good for him.

glitabo Thu 01-Nov-12 18:50:06

Being a teenager in the 50s brings back memories of underskirts made with 10 layers of net, the village youth club, just listening to records (78s). Going everywhere on my bike and falling in love with Elvis. Then there was Tommy Steele, Adam Faith and Bill Haley. Meeting in coffee bars. The 50s saw the emergence of the teenager with its own music and clothes. I remember putting gold coloured 'gunge' on the front of my hair. At first it looked like a gold streak but then it turned green.
It must have been quite challenging for parents at the time but I think we were quite innocent.

feetlebaum Thu 01-Nov-12 19:06:12

sussexpoet - 1937 was a good vintage! I was bottled then, as well.

And... I sometimes hauled a guitar into town and played at Bunjies - for buckshee plate of the spag. bol. that in my innocence I thought was Italian... hell, I think I also sang there.

crimson Thu 01-Nov-12 19:48:34

I used to drink Horlicks in coffee bars; I'm sure Horlicks was quite big in those days. As was ice skating; I went once, caught a cold and never went again. When I was 17 I moved to Cornwall and did the hippy drop out thing. No coffee bars there but lots of pubs!

joannapiano Thu 01-Nov-12 19:56:55

Like HilaryCME I was also a teenager in London in the 60's.At 14 I worked on Saturdays in my uncle's record shop.The Rolling Stones came in one day as they were rehearsing in the theatre opposite.
Also remember Grosvenor Square but for a different reason- my boyfriend (now DH of 42 years) was a rookie policeman and got his helmet knocked off.

nanaej Thu 01-Nov-12 20:05:48

I was a teenager in the 60s and early 70s and it was great! Kings Rd, Eel Pie gigs , big tour concerts at the Kingston Granada, crazy parties + the odd joint and the church youth club too! Mini skirts, PVC mac, laced boots. Greenham common, politics, A levels & college. Would I do it a gain? Noooooooo! because there was all that uncertainty, roller coaster relationships, pan stick and false lashes!

joannapiano Fri 02-Nov-12 09:05:04

I had a PVC mac too.It was bright pink and from C&A in Oxford St. I stopped wearing it as my boyfriend said it made me look like a giant condom.

annodomini Fri 02-Nov-12 09:20:43

Although I was post-teenage in the '60s, I had a yellow PVC mac plus matching wellies and umbrella! Must have looked like a custard pie (was going to say tart but that would give a wrong impression!)

Smoluski Fri 02-Nov-12 10:38:46

Being a teenager in the mid 60's early 70's still meant I was very much under my parents rules...meals dished up on the dot by mum...scared of evoking dads displeasure,music disapproved of,boys not allowed,but they way I was allowed to dress they were not much of a consideration....stories of the war years from an embittered dad,spite from mum who married beneath her and probably the wrong person and suffered from undiagnosed and untreated depression and I was her scapegoat....then I reached19 the ugly duckling was still ugly but grew some fine feathers....and boy did I give it some welly....out all night,run off and got married to a totally unsuitable but very bad influence,moved into our own home and was totally free for the first time...never took drugs,but alcohol and parties and shenanigans where common place....then I grew out of it divorced..found no2 and become mrs 2.4 children...still speak to both of them...
But what I really want now is a granny gap year while I am old enough to know what I am doing young enough to enjoy it....and secure enough to not give a monkies....well I can dream can't I I have a teenage 'parent' now telling what I can do,say,and wear.....oh well come round full circle againgrin

glammanana Fri 02-Nov-12 12:22:04

Just remembering going down Bold Street from the Telephone exchange to the Cavern in Matthew Street in our lunch hour to hear all the groups of the early 60's then going back home on the 8pm ferry and telling my mum & dad that I had been working overtime after meeting up again with pals when I had finished work at 5pm.I was so daft that I forgot not show my payslip to mum and she noticed that I had no overtime payments,so she put a stop to that.

harrigran Fri 02-Nov-12 12:54:06

I was a teenager in the 60s and the clothes were fabulous, helped by the fact that I was like a stick insect. We were the first generation to have clothes designed for us, prior to the 60s young people wore the same as their parents.
When I got my first mini skirt I spent a week's wages on a pair of tights, boyfriend accidently spoilt them when he leaned over with a cigarette in his hand. I had to wear a longer skirt and stockings until I saved up for another pair of tights.

Ana Fri 02-Nov-12 13:20:26

I had a yellow PVC mac from C&A as well! And some white plastic boots.
Later, when Flower Power arrived, I bought some flowery bell-bottoms which I only dared wear once - some lad shouted "Got your mum's curtains on?", which dented my confidence a bit!

absentgrana Fri 02-Nov-12 13:28:09

Ana I longed for brocade bell-bottoms – as you do – and made a pair for myself with great care. I wore them to a party and the sofa and armchairs were covered in the same fabric, so every time I sat down, I disappeared from the waist down.

nanaej Fri 02-Nov-12 13:36:22

My boyfriend and I had matching long trumpet -sleeved tee shirts..his in blue me in red... how sad is that! Thought we were the bees knees!

Ana Fri 02-Nov-12 13:39:14

absent, how mortifying! grin

jeni Fri 02-Nov-12 14:33:09

I was at boarding school where we were as strictly kept as cloistered nuns! In the holidays, I knew no one as there were no others near me and I wasn't allowed to mix with local children. (Snobbish mother)

granjura Fri 02-Nov-12 21:22:19

I was very lucky to be a teenager with an older brother in the 60s - and I had an absolute ball smile We entertained each other with little money, were no bothered with fashion (jeans, t-shirts and trainers were the norm) - boozze was cheap plonk and beer, and we cooked for each other as we had little money. No clubs, no holidays abroad - we slept rough on beaches by the lake after hitch-hiking there. No drugs though - but we did drink too much. And sex, yes, and the pill, but no promiscuity. Don't regret a thing smile