When I was kid, I was a big trend follower. I got a Furby and carried it in a basket around school and tried to teach it bad words. I threw a fit when I left my Tamagotchi at home during a family trip, and came back to find it sick from being surrounded by its own digital poops for over 48 hours. Basically I was a little bit of a fad whore, riding whatever wave was popular. But once I hit a certain age—I’ll say 13—it stopped and I realized that I spent most of my childhood buying ridiculous plastic contraptions to seem cool, only to have them replaced by something even more hip. But these days, there is an outlier that has managed to be the “it” thing with both kids and adults. Silly Bandz. This growing trend of donning colored rubber bands shaped like of variety of animals has swiftly spread to the wrists of adults, celebrities included. But I have yet to get a suitable explanation for why. First off, if you are over the age of 18, you probably shouldn’t be enjoying too many things that substitute a “z” for an “s.”
I think Silly Bandz were able to break through the barrier because they’re primarily a style thing—you wear them more than you play with them. But this has me perplexed. The bands lose their shape once you shove them on your wrist. When someone is wearing a Silly Band, you can’t tell if it is a elephant, football, princess, or one of the hundreds of others. Instead, the bands looks like a brightly colored bunch of wonky, overused hair-ties, or tangle of string you didn’t bother to break yourself out of.
I get why kids wear them—it makes them easy to transport. They can rip them off, show them to friends, and make shady playground trades for exotic shapes they don’t have. And I can see why parents wear them. If it makes their kids happy, why the heck not? But for everyone else, an orgy of rubber on your wrist is just not cute. If a grown-up, band-wearing member of the fad can explain their appeal, I will back off. Until then I will remain really confused on why this motley crew of messed-up rubber bands have entranced everyone.