Monday, June 22, 2009


We took my almost 16th year old son to see Hair this weekend on Broadway.

I was exactly his age when I saw it the first time.

Both times, it was fun, energetic, and entertaining. It deserved the Tony this year.

What it was not this time was shocking. And not just because I was watching it as a middle age baby boomer rather than a slightly rebellious teenager. (I was in the 10th grade when I saw Hair -- I often dressed the part but I didn't live it in any real way.)

The culture has changed. The homoerotic references in the play don't seem sly, they were sweet. The interracial relationships the same. The profanities mundane. The simulated sex overdone. The quick moment of nudity not shocking. The edge that the play must surely have had when it debuted muted. I thought my son must have had the same reaction to it that I did when late 6o's teenager me watched "Happy Days": "you really thought that was so radical?"

It was also reminder of a world before AIDS had changed the way young people understand and experience their sexuality.

We've grown up sexually as a culture, and overall, I think that's good. And those late 1960's hippies -- now in their sixties -- had something to do with it. So did the men at Stonewall -- so did the women in Atlantic City. More than 40 years ago.

Take your teenagers. It was an afternoon of teachable moments.

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