Kids These Days

The moves are the same, but the clothes are much, much better

Looking around the room, it was as if someone had shrunk all the world's jeans in the dryer since the gargantuan pants days of '98, but the music was the same. It was 9 p.m., and headlining band Trophy Scars was onstage, playing the same brand of screamy-metal-thrash-emo I was dragged to hear every weekend by my Christian punk-rock boyfriend in high school.

Most kids there were having an emo blast, except for the various groups of girls who crouched below the comfortable waist-high ledge I was using to hide the view of my incredibly uncool boot-cut jeans. Apparently I'd taken up residence in the corner of text-message sorrow. Below me, girls with side-swept bangs would crouch, whip out their cell phones and let their thumbs fly across the keys, lighting into the boys who'd done 'em wrong.

"I like how I came to see you and you don't talk to me!" one brunette typed as a bustling throng of teenagers did some "mosh dancing," as Denham called it, mere yards away. Another bemoaned her plight thus: "He has not once tried to make a move on me!"

Aimee Camilien

Suddenly, the lights go out and the hollow echo of a drum kit is the only sound in the room. The band has rocked too hard for the building's fuses. The high school couple sharing a white lawn chair in the back takes the opportunity to delve into a serious mouth-to-mouth discussion on the merits of saliva. In the dark, I can see the brave grandmother of a young local band member sitting behind them, glaring in horror.

But Denham is there to save the day, doing damage control in his Dockers, navigating the floor in his dad-pants like he's in a game of Frogger: Screamo Edition. He disappears into the "orifice" and minutes later, the lights and amplifiers are back on.

"We're just gonna say, 'Fuck that song!'" the lead singer gasps into the microphone, and the kids cheer. The most recent group of sorrowful texters stands up and heads for the door, clutching their cell phones like life preservers. But the power outage has distracted the crowd; the diaspora has come. Some kids filter outside, others head for the concession stand. O, fickle youth. How tormented—and well-dressed—you are.

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