The age of innocence: where did it go and will we ever have it back?

The age of innocence: where did it go and will we ever have it back?

I just watched the beloved movie from 1960, “Where the Boys Are”. It was full of cheesy lines, modest bathing suits and suited young men coming to pick up their dates. It was spring break in Fort Lauderdale, but over fifty years ago.

I was three years old when the movie was made and had my own adventures on spring break years later. It still remained somewhat innocent but not nearly what it was in 1960. Throughout the movie I kept marveling at what a difference a half a century makes. How innocence is all but gone in today’s generation.

Let’s examine then v now:

1) All the kids drove down from their various cities/colleges to the beach. They stayed in little motels and crammed everyone in a single room. (I did that too, 9 girls in one room but not in a tiny motel). Now, kids have their parents to either foot the bill (with cash or air miles) for a flight to their destination. They stay in their parent’s second homes or condo’s.

2) No cell phones. There was one rotary phone in a hotel room. All the girls had to wait their turn for their various boys to call. And these were calls for dates; ACTUAL DATES. And the guys came to pick them up. They went to the door. They didn’t text them from the car to come out. No one could communicate with each other while out on those dates. Now, we do have those cell phones. Guys don’t call for dates, they text. Spring breaks are filled with hook-ups, no invitations to the Senior Dance at the guys college, no girls talking about being “Frosh Queen”. It’s decadence at its worst. But most kids will come home and declare it the best time of their life.

3) Back then showing too much skin just didn’t happen. Sure, there were two piece bathing suits but they were tasteful. Even by the late 70’s string bikinis had made their way to the beach but in 1960, your ass wasn’t hanging out; your boobs weren’t barely covered. And you certainly weren’t seen in a thong.

4) Girls dressed tastefully to go on dates or just go out. Skirts were not so short that cheeks were hanging out; girls didn’t wear jeans on dates – especially not ones so low cut that their thongs were showing (there were no thongs, just big granny underwear). Sure, there is one girl in the movie that was perceived to be “asking for it” but show me a time in history where that wasn’t a perception (or a reality because let’s face it, there have always been girls and guys that are doing just that, looking for it).

5) There was a lot of talk of love. In the movie even the cheesiest of lines “Could this be that new fangled thing called love?” wasn’t cheesy back then. Now it would bring up a gag reflex by even the most romantic person. The girls were all hoping to find love and get married. One declares she’d quit school to become a baby making machine, her body was built for it. Now we just hope to have a relationship that is two sided and if we do get married, often times it’s after the kids are born.

6) No censorship necessary in the movie, it was as G rated as a movie can be. Sure, things were implied but it was good, clean fun. No swearing, no sex – just kissing and wondering if they should go any further. Now a movie like that would be rated R, filled with swearing, naked bodies and sex. Lots of sex.

7) George Hamilton was less tan hanging out on a beach than the way he looks now, off the beach. Had to throw that in here.

Now I’m no prude and having grown up in the 60’s and 70’s after the whole free love movement, I can see how things loosened up. However, after watching the movie today I found myself a bit sad that the type of innocence in this movie just doesn’t seem to exist any longer. What the hell has happened?

I wish that times could come full circle and go back to an age where morals were valued and values were as important. Where a young man would walk to a young ladies door and pick her up for a date. A time when couples got married before they had children. A time when people actually had conversations that involved speaking, not texting. A time when the way people dressed left things to the imagination. And on and on.

Call me an old fart but I’ll take Connie Francis singing the title song of the movie any day. And I’m not embarrassed to admit it.

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