I spent approximately three hours on a very sunny Saturday, supplemented by anecdotal experiences from the past, studying the characteristics of Scholasticus Americanus(the American student) in its native habitat along a main thoroughfare in North Sacramento, California. I looked at and reflected upon its varied manifestations including its communication styles, social and interpersonal behaviors, attitudes, its language and discussion topics, and its dress and body decorations.
The common communication trait among Scholasticus Americanus seems to be the verbal and physical eye-roll especially when dealing with parents, teachers, and other adult authority figures. It involves heroically listening to the babble of these adults and letting most of what is said go in one ear and out the other then coming back at the adult with a “you never said anything about that; that’s not fair!” when circumstances not to their liking occur. Another favored communication method is, “Whatever”. Again, a form of the verbal eye-roll.
With the advent and increasing popularity of electronic devices and technology, Scholasticus Americanus is as likely to communicate with other of its species via text and email as with actual verbal communication and interaction. Even when in the same geographic location, cell communication seems to be the normative mode. Also popular is the sharing of ear buds to listen to the same musical download of the latest rap/pop artist. Hookups—short term relationships—are closer to the norm than the old-fashioned “going steady”. Group dating is also popular so that an individual isn’t tied to a particular boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other. Sexual activity is viewed with a more casual attitude than in the past.
The prevailing attitude among the majority of Scholasticus Americanus seems to be one of entitlement and instant gratification without the expenditure of any effort on their part. They are impatient while waiting in a line or when they wish to obtain the latest “must have” thing. The most common phrase uttered in this regard is, “I want x, and I want it now.” They maintain the false belief that money grows on trees, and that it and the item they want will come to them without effort.
The topics of discussion among the members of Scholasticus Americanus were primarily focused on interpersonal relationships(i.e. who is dating/having sex with whom), the latest fashion trends, the latest music hits and misses, and interactions/disagreements with other family members/friends/enemies/teachers/employers.
The verbiage used in these discussions was a mixture of standard(almost) English as well as terms relating to the legitimacy of the individuals birth, bodily functions, and ethnic origins. Many of the terms in the discussions were terms used primarily in the street culture of the modern American urban setting. Most of the street terms used are found in modern day music videos such as misogynistic rap and hip hop ones as well as current television and cinema. The use of the terms crossed gender and racial/ethnic lines.
The clothing of Scholasticus Americanus seems to follow varied patterns within a gender with some overlap. For males of the species, it consists predominately of variations of tee shirts with different decorations reflecting musical genre/artist/group interest, sport team identification, political statement, or favorite color along with a variety of shorts styles from gym to denim cutoffs. Also prominent was the wearing of pants of various styles secured to the body not by a belt around the waist but secured by a belt mid-buttocks or below with “undershorts” exposed. The practitioners of this form of dress also were required to hold onto the belt to prevent the falling down of the pants. Further research online brought up a curious origin story for this fashion choice. Originally this style of dress was used by incarcerated males to signal to fellow inmates that they were available for homosexual relations. Somehow this mode of dress became the “cool” way to dress on the streets.
Dress for the female of the species runs the gambit from high hemline dresses to tight-fitting tops and shorts to copies of the male attire including the buttocks level pants. Also, while not widespread, it was also noted that for religious purposes, those females of the Muslim faith wear head scarves known as hijabs along with the more standard female attire.
It was also noted that both genders have body art known as tattoos covering their bodies, ranging from simple designs and illustrations to whole body renderings. Also, both genders have body piercings, most commonly in their earlobes but also in other locations on their body including the nose, lips, eyebrows, belly buttons, and more intimate parts. The items added to body range from simple earrings and bar-shaped items to elaborate items. Most notably on some males, the earrings were quarter-sized and embedded in the earlobe, stretching it to an extreme limit.
The species, Scholasticus Americanus, is an uniquely dressed and decorated creature who has many unique and special attributes as discussed above. It was an eye-opening and valuable experience to study it in its natural habitat.