Unidentified Boy (probably 1980s)

Figure 1.--Here we see a boy wearing jean shorts. We thought at first he was American, but cerain aspects of the photograph are not quite right for the United States. Perhaps readers will have some insights here.

Here we see a boy wearing jean shorts. We thought at first he was American, but cerain aspects of the photograph are not quite right for the United States. Pehaps readers will have some insights here

The Boy

The boy here is unidentified. He looks to be about 12 or 13 years old.


We at first thought the boy was American. He looks American, but of course that could mean that he was from many European countries as well. In this case I think Britain or Germany. Also his socks don't look right for an American boy. The T-shirt of course is very Ameican, but American T-shirts scatter the globe. Notice how he has tucked in his "T"-shirt. That is something you did not commonly see in the 2970s and almost never by the 80s. This is something that you would have seen in America during the 1950s. One reader writes, "If I had to guess. I would place this picture in Eastern Europe, possibly Russia in the 1990s. Firstly, the boy is not smiling for the camera, which was commonly the case at this point in time (although more recently, they have adopted the western habit of "posing" for the camera). The large apartment building surrounded by a large area of green is a standard piece of Russian civic planning, and the grass appears to be poorly maintained, being worn away in places and long and uncut in others. During the early 90s (wish I knew enough about basketball to know when Michael Jordan became famous) a lot of humanitarian aid shipments were made to Russia from the west, and so the American t-shirt (and possibly American shorts and shoes) could quite reasonably have turned up there. The socks are more likely locally produced, as they tend to be drab and utilitarian." This makes a lot of sence, but the boy does not look Russian to us. Of course Russia is a large country with a lot of ethnic types. The background does look like American high rise building replacing slums. The grounds here were also not well kept, but I don't think you find many white boys with well-groomed hair and tucked in T-shirts in these neigborhoods. Also the socks do not look right for an American boy. Germany and Britain are poosibilities, but I think the grounds would be better kept. Another reader writes, "The pictures appear to come from the late 1980s, probably somewhere in western Europe, possibly Britain or Ireland."


The photograph is undated, but the short hair suggested to us that it was the mid-1960s. The t-shirt, however, portrays Michael Jordan. This means that the photograph was taken much later, probably the mid- or lste-1980s.


The boy's "t:-shirt is certainly American, but American styles were worn in many different countries. Here we see a boy wearing jean shorts. Jean shorts wee worn over several decades in several countries. The length of the shorts here probably suggests the 1970s and 80s.


I think the ball is soccerball, but it could be a basketball. A soccerball would suggest Europe. Of course soccer had become popular in America by the 1970s. American boys playing soccer were more likely to wear shorts than other American boys. American boys playing soccer, however, came from the suburbs, not from big city urban neigborhoods.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan was a star plsyer for the University of North Carlonina Tar Heels during the early 1980s. He turned pro in 1984 and had a spectaculsar career with the Chicago Bulls becoming one of the great players of all time. Thus the photograph here almost certainly was taken after 1984 even if American and perhaps even the early 1990s in Europe. Actually Jordan had a tremedous impavt on boys clothing. While playing for the Bulls he always wore his blue University of North Carolina Tar Heels shorts under his Bulls shorts, for good luck. The NBA officials were annoyed at this because they showed. so Jordan had longer shorts made so that his lucky shorts wouldn't show. Suddenly all basketball players needed long shorts. The trend spelled over into soccer. And because boys'; fashions are strongly influenced by sportswear, the trend also impacted regular boys' fashions.


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Created: 9:32 PM 5/15/2006
Last updated: 5:54 AM 5/17/2006