The Rules of Society - You Were an Outcast if You Broke Them - Then Came Yorkville's 'Summer of Love'

It was a time when men wore pants, never shorts but could if working out in a gym, or from another country, that was acceptable.
Men wore bathing suits that looked like shorts. No one ever bared their crack. You were leery of a man posing on his blanket in a 'thong', heaven forbid.

Boys never wore pink, nor mauve, make-up, ear-rings, or dresses. They never used hairspray, they used Brylcream. They never plucked, they shaved. Never their legs. They never crossed them while sitting, either.

Teen boys worked on cars. Took mechanics or wood working courses they never touched a pot or a pan at at home, nor a typewriter at school. They were clumsy, sloppy and messy. Any boy with an artistic ability was shunned by other boys. Boys never danced well, they didn't sing either, they whistled.

Boys played outside, even in the rain. A man would never been seen carrying an umbrella. They played in fields and traffic, Cowboys and Indians, Cops and Robbers. No one thought of labels back then. Boys never played house nor changed diapers on a Betsy-Wetsy.

Boys always wore black socks, white was a no-no. Nor mixed brown and black together. They went to barbers and never had manicures or facials. 

They tore off heads of insects, dissected rodents, played in the dark, that was okay.

Boys were never to speak until spoken too. Told to be brave and be strong. To fight like a man. To be a man, you will be the bread winner. 

Women were told to do the opposite, to surrender, the man was king, the provider and she would be his queen because she was prettier.

Girls never wore long legged pants. Women wore dresses and 'Nylons' with black seams running up their calves, and hard to get off clasped bras and girdles. They went to salons. Hair colouring was either black, brown or blue or bleached and long. Posing on a beach they were covered with a full bathing suit. Wear a bikini, you were a slut.

Girls took housekeeping courses, sewing courses and played with dolls. Never touched a gun toy. They played house and dolls. Girls loved make-up, jewelry, any kind of adornment and complements. They were the softer of the sexes. Learning to be the, stay at home type, to raise kids be a homemaker.

Breaking any of these rules you became suspect.

Then, along came the cold war,Viet Nam, Brute, High Karate, Old Spice and Just for Men, Dippity-do and pant suits for women. Unisex, Twiggy, the mini, the maxi. Nudists. The short lived muscle-car then the fuel-efficient Toyota Corolla, Barbie and Ken. High platform shoes, paisley, afro's and Afro-Sheen. 

Finally, the longhairs showed up, Gordon Lightfoot, the Beatles and the people we called Hippies, with their 'I don't care attitude' and their 'new language'. They came to save us from self-destruction with their; Flower Power, herbs, LSD and pot, the beginnings of the 'Sexual Revolution'. Toronto's Yorkville. Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

The rules of society changed here in Canada, then. Before, you were considered an outcast if you broke these old-handed-down rules but not anymore. Liberation became the new buzz word from then on. Yorkville's 'Summer of Love' was about to begin. Music, art, dance, culture, society, the way we thought, everything changed. 

We've come a long way since, eh?

No comments: