I attended a graduation yesterday and, this being Marin, it was a very ritzy affair. The boys were nattily attired in suits (with a surprising number of bow ties popping up amongst the newly minted graduates) while the girls were wearing skimpy dresses, many of which obviously cost more than I spend in an entire year on my clothes. (Of course, since I hate shopping, that’s not saying much. But they were really, really expensive dresses.) Kids in this community have clear skin, white teeth, expensive hair cuts, and loving (although often divorced) parents.
What fascinated me was watching the kids walk onto the stage to get their diplomas. One could tell in an instant, especially with the boys, which were the popular kids. Their body language was different. While the other kids looked apologetic for occupying their physical space, the popular kids (and I had someone near me identify them as “popular” so I wasn’t guessing), seemed completely comfortable in their own bodies. They had a physical assurance about them that was attractive. Even sitting in the back of a crowded school auditorium, I could see their aura. And even I, an aged parent, thought, “Wow, that kid looks cool.”
I’ve told my kids over the years not to slouch, and they both have lovely posture. Looking at these popular kids, though, I could see that more than carriage is involved. I think it’s innate. That is, you can’t say to your kids, “Don’t slouch and, of course, carry yourself with relaxed self-assurance so that you’ll look popular and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Like Clara Bow’s elusive “It,” which was a 1920s euphemism for sex appeal, you either have “It” or you don’t.