The Belt Buckle
Betty knew the type, greasy hair, white t-shirt, a pack of Camels up the sleeve,blue jeans , and that belt buckle.
They had an attitude, hung on the street corner and when girls would walk by they’d say things like “hey chicky chicky baby” and stuff. Dad called them “hoods”. Betty called them cool. I could never he a hood, I didn’t have the belt buckle.
Those of us of a certain age will remember the fashion statement — the belt buckle not in the front but rakishly slid 3 or 4 inches over to the side.
The guys who smoked behind the church next door to my high school all wore their belt buckles to the left. I was not one of those guys but secretly wished I were. They were cool. I was not. I was a straight arrow with a straight-ahead belt buckle to prove it.
I’m not sure where the belt-to-the-left look came from, but back then, it was proudly sported by those who never had their homework done and were always late to class. Leather jacket. Wet hair. Jeans. Think: The Fonz.
I was wandering through the Elvis at 21 photo exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. And there, right before me, was a young Elvis, his belt buckle askew.
The photo showing Elvis’ left-of-center belt captures him shaking his hands dry in a train’s bathroom en route to Memphis. His pant waist is a bit high, his hair slicked back, his belt buckle, yes, to the left.
Elvis may have left the building, but his look lingers.
Maybe I can be a hood after all. Late for class at last.