Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Urban Outfitters in a Cathedral

Tonight, I discovered how the young adult half lives. Have you been to Urban Outfitters? This is not just your ordinary clothing store. In Cincinnati, they took over a cathedral. Inside, the book rack contained fare such as "Penis Poker" and "F*ck" and a coffee table book to read when you are stoned. There are lots of DIY books that show you how to take t-shirts and redesign them, how to use an old sweater to make a purse, how to use paper shopping bags to weave a "rug" and more.

In addition to clothing (funky, innovative, mass produced with panache), they offer the latest rage: flasks, journals, paper lanterns, cotton rugs, satin bedding, creatively woven fabrics, candles, incense, paper products, mini lights, tights and shoes.

It's an assault on more than the senses. I loved being inside of the store. Every corner revealed something else to consider, read, look at, admire. I do wonder about this next generation's sexual identity. Words and books that were strictly in the back of a book store (or featured in the Gay and Lesbian or erotica book sections) when I was in college are now up next to the cash register.

We bought two paper lanterns, a cotton rug and three t-shirts. Johannah's brand new bedroom is looking really colorful. I'll try to snap a digital photo when it's finished. We had a great time having coffee afterwards as we talked about young adults today. I really do wonder what it will be like for these kids as grown-ups.


Kansas Bob said...

I wonder too. My 26 & 22 year olds think so differently about seemingly everything ... words like conservative and liberal seem to have different meanings to them ... not sure if it is a generational thing where the pendulem will swing back when they are older or if it is something different.

Matt said...

I agree with you and Bob both -- I, too, think about how my almost 3-year-old and my soon-to-be-born second child will be growing up. I can already see a huge difference between my generation, my siblings' generation, and then my nieces' generation. As Bob pointed out, political words do have different meanings -- and for me and my church, those words are starting to be looked at differently as well.

As long as my wife and I try and do the best we can, we know that they will grow up with as much preparation as we can give them -- and trust that they'll use their gifts and the help of God to do the rest on their own.

Looking forward to the refurbished bedroom!

Dave said...

I think the attitudes among younger adults about sexual orientation, marriage, cohabitation, etc. are pretty clearly moving toward a more lenient/tolerant stance, and this trend is what's motivating a lot of the older, conservative politicians and their supporters to build gay marriage prohibitions into state constitutions before the next generation is politically energized and invested in ending that particular form of discrimination.

My own kids are entering into their young adulthood, all having grown up in schools with Gay/Straight Alliance clubs and having friends who identify at various points along the spectrum of sexual identity and orientation. The most remarkable thing about all this to me is how matter-of-fact they regard the issue. They're not especially political about it - having gay friends or seeing them as part of the general social demographic is just a fact of life, not a particular cause for militant action either for or against it. From the 60's up until the 90's, I think our country was in more of a culture-wars mode, with partisans on both sides making Big Statements about what was at stake and where we go from here. We aren't completely beyond those controversies, obviously, but I think at some point our society will more quietly come to grips with an increased candor re: sexuality in all of its expressions.

I'm not sure if we have an Urban Outfitters store in Grand Rapids. I'll do some looking... you've made me curious! Before reading this, I would have just thought they are another shopping mall boutique, a la Pac Sun, Aeropostale or A&F.

julieunplugged said...

Dave, your comments about your kids and their friends is just like what I've observed with my kids in the high school they went to. Talking about homosexual orientation, bi-sexuality or experiementation at the lunch table is common and not weird or embarassing. Johannah was in the Gay-Straigth alliance at school. There seems to be less awkwardness in using sexual words too.... perhaps due to the influence of rap and MTV, as much as anything.

Perhaps we are moving toward a more European treatment of sex...

Anonymous said...

We have an Urban Outfitters going into our mall as I type. I didn't know what it was.

I'm sorry I don't share your sentiments that a European view of sexuality is to be desired. I also don't know that UO will be a place we frequent. In-your-face vulgarity and sexuality is not exciting to me, it seems tacky and a bit pathetic, like a child acting up to get noticed. "Look, I can say 'F*ck You' without blushing! How cool am I?"

;-) I'm really not a prude, although it may sound like it here. I just don't like crudity passing as sophistication.

Carrie :-)

julieunplugged said...

Carrie, I don't think I said that a European view of sex is desireable or not. I just said that it appears we are moving that way.

I like how you put this: I just don't like crudity passing as sophistication.


Anonymous said...

You know, I caught that myself after I submitted my comment. You are right, you never said that, I made an assumption. Sorry. Assumptions are rarely kind or smart! ;-)

I do appreciate knowing beforehand what can be found in the store. I'll make sure I go in with my teens the first time. It might bring up some interesting conversations.


dalissa said...

OK, can I say that I bought the earrings for my wedding at UO years ago? I don't think I have been there since then but it was definitely a popular store when i was in college. At the time, I thought UO was only in Philly, but who knows? It was always a cool store but being that I was in college it was not affordable... really. From the sounds of it, it may be slightly more affordable now for the college crowd. I probably would've spent more time there if it was closer to my campus. Anyhow, I don't think there was a book section back then... just clothes, jewelry, and stuff for the home or dorm room.

As for sexuality, etc., I find it interesting and scary at the same time to observe what is sexually acceptable or the norm and what is not. E. attended a bi/homosexual support group last year in order to show support for his bi friend. The boundaries are definitely fading.