At a recent birthday party, the moment the first strains of “Rock On” came on, my sons and all their friends got into the act. Not only were they all dancing with gay abandon, they yelled out the lyrics with gusto, and even the kids who did not know the lyrics soon caught on, and joined in.
The birthday girl and her friends, however, barely swayed to the music and couldn’t wait for the music to stop so they could disappear from the dance floor. Perhaps the lyrics did not appeal to the nine year old girls as much as they did to the younger boys, I thought.
The next song was one of those melodious numbers picturised on a pretty young thing. Same story – the younger boys all danced, the older girls did not.
I realised with a start that at nine, the girls had already discovered the need to be self conscious. The way they walked, the way they spoke, the way they dressed – they were totally aware of themselves as women or at least as budding women.
At nine, I was very much a child. I don't think I discovered fashion till I was at least five years older than they are, and I am quite sure I realised I was a woman only when I was on the threshold of twenty. And these kids are already pretty young things in the making.
If it were not so scary, it would be almost cute.