Have been reading this thread with interest and would like to disagree a bit with the blanket condemnation of young people. I don’t think we should make overly broad generalizations about this. I teach at a four year state university. Most of my students are from working class (American term “middle class”) families, and are from a broad range of ethnic backgrounds and are ages 17- 20. I’ve been an advisor to campus sororities, fraternities and clubs. I’m 60.
I observe students complementing each other on clothing, scent, jewelry, hair styles, and new piercings or tattoos, and they frequently do the same for professors, including those of us who are, from their perspective – quite “old”. This includes students who consider themselves to be straight as well as students from the campus LBQT community. The words used and method of delivering these compliments differs greatly from my generation’s use of language – I constantly have to update my collection of youth vernacular. My choices of jewelry or scent have been deemed “Phat” or “hot” (a few years ago the term was “dope” and prior to that was “baaaad”). Others simply state “you smell nice” or “I like those earrings”.
These compliments are offered to professors perhaps to enhance a grade – but more often simply because they are open and enthusiastic about their latest discoveries or observations and are curious about trying out new things. One of the most popular websites for the college age here in the US is “Rate Your Professor”, where students not only dissect their teachers teaching skills and styles but also their appearance, and fashion sense.
My young male students, many of whom are “straight” are morphing into adults and are quite conscious of styles and trends and do spend time comparing notes with each other. Perhaps they don’t say to each other “Man I love your perfume” and discuss top notes, but they do say to each other “where’d you get that cool stuff?” They are far more media savvy than I was at their age – and very style conscious – even if the styles, scents and celebs – Fubu, Hilfiger, Sean Jean, Tyra Banks, Beyonce, Brittany and JLo are foreign to me.
I have to catch myself when I start criticizing the young. I knew I was getting “old” when I caught myself complaining about young people’s music – and then - much to my chagrin realized I sounded exactly like my mom did when she condemned my love of rock and roll as “loud, unmelodic noise”. Some of the reviews on basenotes, and MUA constantly refer to “old lady” smells often paired with the word “musty” and I cringe when a particularly beloved scent of mine is brushed off this way with such negative attitudes toward my age group and my beloved perfumes. On the other hand – there are many young people here on basenotes who seem to be happily exploring the wonderful world of scent and discovering and experimenting with classics. Turn about is fair play. How often do you compliment young people?