The subject turned to pants during my meeting with 16-year-old Katie concerning teenage trends.
First, I learned that teenage girls should wear skinny jeans or jeggings. "Jeggings are those leggings made out of denim," I said confidently, trying to show that I wasn't completely clueless.
"No," Katie said. "Those are not cool. Only real ones are cool, not those that are like leggings. Look, I'm wearing real jeggings."
I looked. They looked exactly, I mean exactly, like skinny jeans to me. She tried to explain the difference, but, honestly, I never really got it.
I decided to move on. "What kind of pants are okay if you aren't wearing skinny jeans or jeggings?" I asked. "Could you wear black pants, for example?"
"Black pants? Um, like what kind?"
"Oh, like black corduroy."
She looked blank. "What's corduroy?"
I sighed and had her touch the brand new thin-wale stretch corduroy pants I was wearing. (I crossed my legs and tried to hide the definitely-not-skinny leg bottoms that came down over my probably equally uncool clogs.)
She didn't hesitate. "No." She was firm. I started seriously questioning the catalog that had assured me, "Corduroy is back!"
We moved on. In the course of conversation, Katie mentioned "Instagram."
"What's Instagram?" I asked. "I've never heard of it."
Now let me assure you that Katie is a sweet, nice, kind girl. However, the look of naked incredulity that flashed across her face for a moment was priceless. She looked at me as though I had stepped out of a cave wearing a woolly mammoth skin and said, "Ugh. What is thing called tv?" She clearly couldn't fathom anyone being that out of it. But, as I said, she is a kind girl and quickly recovered. She took out her cell phone and demonstrated "Instagram." I learned.
Then we got back to fashion. "What about guys? What do they have to wear to be cool?" I asked.
She shrugged. "Oh, they pretty much all buy the same jeans. With guys, it doesn't really matter."
Life is so unfair.