Monday, July 26, 2010


As an educator and a student of human nature, I am always trying to understand behavior trends. During the last school year, as I was trying to get together a series of photographs to represent my kids, I couldn't help but notice that almost every shot of someone's face had a tongue sticking out sideways. It was either that, or they were puckering their lips in a carp-like fashion.

What? I ask the kids about it and they usually shrug and give me the most succinct answer they can muster: "Dunno."

An anthropologist would say sticking out one's tongue is an early form of non-verbal communication. It can also indicate delayed physical development.

I've read some responses on the net trying to explain this behavior, all of them unsatisfactory. Usually a teen writing about it tends to use txt-speak, offering numerous emoticons and spellings like "gurl" "cuz" and "sez". The answers given are just as pithy:  "Cuz we're crzy!!!" "It's kewl."

Now I figure most of us are fairly bright. I'm interested in you trying your hand at an explanation...for instance: "Overexposure to chemicals is causing a regression to a primal lizard state." See? I can accept that. Or: "It's seizure activity."  Or even: "It's a new mating ritual designed to discourage procreation."

Just don't tell me "It's all good."

I know better. I've seen enough to know that just ain't true.


Angie said...

I think it's like short skirts, blue hair, multiple piercings, and every new form of music since Caveman Ogg hollered at his son to quit banging those damn rocks together -- they do it because it baffles and annoys the adults.


BStearns said...

I think it's most likely none of them know why they do it, other than the reason that everyone else does it. It's a trend that has caught on, and it has become the "cool" thing to do. At least that's my take one it.


Charles Gramlich said...

I think a lot of it has to do with the idea that they are doing something a little bit naughty, a little rebellious. Folks love to be though of as rebels, but we mostly don't want to take the risks of being true rebels. We do thinks that let us think of ourselves that way.

Sidney said...

I think Gene Simmons and Mick Jagger are behind it.

AvDeeBee said...

To explain it would unravel the mystery that is the teenager--and possibly the universe, itself. Better to leave it alone.

SQT said...

My 14-year-old niece does this too and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. She also puts status updates on Facebook that say things like "Ummmm" all the time. ?? I must be getting old because it makes no sense to me.

Kate Sterling said...

OMG, I just asked my crazy gurl abt this the other day - Y do all her frndz and she do that stupid lip thing?

No ansr.


David J. West said...

I tend to agree with Charles, it's a very simple, easily retracted form of faux rebellion.

Akasha Savage. said...

It's a bonding ritual...that's what I think! :P