The, like, totally rad ’80’s, you know?

Last night was 80’s Night at youth. My daughters were very excited. So for their “research” they asked me all about it. I felt like a fossil being unearthed by eager archeologists.

I hit my teen years just as the 80’s were coming to an end, so I am certainly not an expert. But in case you, like my daughters, want to know more about this totally awesome decade, I will share with you what I shared with them:

What did you wear? My friends and I loved neon. And matching. If I had a neon green shirt, I would also have neon green socks, neon green earrings, several neon green bracelets, and, of course, neon green eyeshadow (worn all the way up to my eyebrows). I wore jelly shoes – several pair in all different colors — penny loafers, Keds and Reebok hightops (the rich kids had a pair of Reeboks in every color, too, but our family wasn’t rich, so I had to just accessorize with my extra-thick layers of colorful socks).

What was up with the big hair?? Big hair was a status symbol. I would go through a mini-can of Aqua Net aerosol hairspray every week. The goal was to have bangs so high and so hard that the whole thing could be lifted up and down like the hood of a car, could go through a hurricane and still look exactly the same. I would get perms twice a year. “Poodle perms” that made my already thick hair super thick. And then I’d gel it, spray it, scrunch it and tease it. When I wore it up, it would be in a banana clip so the “poof” could still be exposed to the max.

What did you do? The 80’s introduced cable and music videos, so those were still relatively new and limited. Personal computers were rare and did very little (thanks to my dad, though, I did know how to run a program that made my name scroll diagonally down the green screen of our Commodore 64). There were some video games, but I wasn’t into those. I remember the first time I ever heard about a CD – Mike Seaver (Kirk Cameron) was desperate for one on one episode of “Growing Pains.” It would be the early 90’s before I got an actual CD player, though. My music came from records and cassette tapes, played on a huge boom box with removable speakers I kept on my shelf, next to my Caboodle full of make-up.

What was “in”? All the girls I knew wanted Liz Claiborne purses and Liz Claiborne perfume – we carried little triangle shaped versions of the latter in the former so we could reapply our perfume every time we reapplied our Aqua Net. Guess jeans were cool, as were Polo shirts – those were often worn doubled, collars up, with matching socks. Our heartthrobs were Micheal J. Fox, Ricky Schroeder, Rob Lowe, Johnny Depp, Will Smith, Robert Downey, Jr…to  name a few. Favorite musicians – I liked Christian music, oldies, and Broadway, but the Top 40 stuff included Bon Jovi, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Wham!, Tina Turner, INXS, Cyndi Lauper…this list could go on and on. But you get the idea.

It’s hard to fit a whole decade into one blog, and this has really just scratched the surface. There’s much more to the 80’s than this. My “older” readers — let me know what you remember about this decade. And my teen readers, what questions do you have about this totally tubular decade? And what would you love to see make a come-back?

1 Comment

  1. Heather Wheelock
    Aug 3, 2012

    Oh the memories 🙂 That pretty much sums it all up! Your girls did a great job recreating the look.

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