My favorite decade was the eighties, of course! The fashions, the music, the TV shows – what wasn’t great about the eighties?
Okay, I could have lived without seeing Don Johnson’s rumpled white suits and bare ankles. And George Michael’s suntanned lips were pretty creepy. And I could seriously contemplate self-harm if I ever have to watch a Toni Basil video again. But we also got MTV, Max Headroom and REM. The eighties gave us Moonlighting and launched Bruce Willis on an unsuspecting TV audience. The eighties gave us leg warmers and pegged jeans and slouch boots. Slouch boots! Who didn’t feel gorgeous in slouch boots?
I wore earrings in the eighties that could have doubled as fishing lures. Seven earrings up the left side, one super-long dangler on the right. A big gold hoop with a spare key dangling from it. The true question of the eighties is how on earth I managed to come through both earlobes intact.
And the colors. Jewel tones and bright geometric prints. Socks that matched the collar that matched the ginormous earrings that matched the bejeweled hairclip. Color-coordinated matchy-matchy outfits that worked perfectly for someone with my fashion-impaired sensibility. It was so easy to put an outfit together, like Garanimals for grown-ups. I wore royal blues and vibrant reds and shades of fuschia that could be seen from outer space.
But my love for the eighties isn’t just about the fashions and the music. It’s more personal than that. The 1980’s were the decade when my life really started.
I started and finished high school in the eighties. Started college, but didn’t finish. I got my first real job, left home, got an apartment. Lost my first job. Hated the apartment and moved into my sister’s basement, got a better job.
I lost my Aunt Ida and my mother and my grandmother in the eighties.
I sold my first article in the eighties, to a now-defunct magazine called “Amazing Heroes.”
I became an aunt in the eighties. That moment is still right up there as a close second or third behind becoming a mother (a nineties event, not part of today’s post). Some of the most wonderful people in my life were my aunts; I still find it hard to believe that I have been lucky enough to be an aunt to eight little people. Not so little, actually; only one is still shorter than I am, and I expect him to pass me in about three years.
And only three of them were born in the eighties, but I’m the kind of aunt who can never brag about just one niece or nephew.
We make fun of the fashions of the eighties now, but the truth was that I felt beautiful then. Maybe it was because I spent my late teens and early twenties during that decade, and most women begin to recognize their own beauty at that age.
The big, big hair was perfect for me. Even now, I still have enough hair on my head for a small village. I wore it long and spiral-permed and pulled it back with scrunchies and bow-shaped barrettes. And don’t forget the banana clips! Oh, the banana clips! Decorated with faux pearls and rhinestones and enough flash and sparkle to blind anyone in a ten-mile radius.
I only stopped wearing a banana clip when I realized LeVar Burton wore one every week as a visor on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Make up in the eighties was totally awesome. Anybody remember the blue mascara? Paired with blue eyeliner, it made my small, close-set eyes actually look big for once. And the lip gloss. Bonnie Bell Raspberry Lip Smacker was my go-to flavor. Glosses and roll-ons with fruit-flavored glitter and sparkle that glistened like drool on a teething six-month old.
My sister referred to that look as “Cum-Lips.” I didn’t understand that in the early eighties, but I caught on somewhere around 1987. Yes, I was a late bloomer.
My sixteen year-old recently had to dress up for “Eighties Day” for her school’s spirit week. I wanted to coach her in how to peg her jeans and do her make-up, but she seemed to figure it out just fine. I wish she would have let me give her “Mall Bangs,” though. They would have made the outfit.