Thursday, April 9, 2009


Here I am, in middle age, wearing a hoodie. I'm trying to think when hooded sweatshirts became hoodies. I mean, I used to wear a hooded sweatshirt when I was a kid, back in the later Pleistocene. But it wasn't cool. It had no cachet. It had nothing to do with style. It bore no advertising or slogan.

Some time in recent years, hooded sweatshirts became hoodies. And they became cool. Or somewhere between cool and taken for granted. Not long ago at a community activity I noticed that all of the kids, and most of us adults, were wearing hoodies. Now I happen to live in a remote rural area where people incline toward informal. But somehow it surprised me, even on a cool spring day, to see almost everyone wearing hoodies. Like a contagion.

My hoodie is navy blue, with crossed oars and white lettering sewn on the front: DULUTH PACK. (Guess which company I bought it from. Right. These days we pay to wear advertising.) I like my hoodie a lot. It's comfortable, it's easygoing. It fits in. I'm just trying to figure out when ordinary became cool.

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