Sunday, November 18, 2007

Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s

Friends Elisa and Nancy turned 40 this year, and to celebrate fifty of their good friends took a trip back to the 80s at their “Totally 80s” birthday party.

Come as your favorite 80s character or as yourself in 80s, said the E-vite. My 80s self!? This was rich territory, good for a long walk down memory lane.

For me, the 80s included all four years of high school, college and even our wedding. Which 80s self would I be? Catholic High School Jennifer? College Jennifer? Newlywed Jennifer? Oooh, decisions, decisions.

Turning the pages of my photo albums from the decade, I could see my dubious fashion and hair choices. For a bunch of years I favored vintage clothes. Thrift shop wear. A spiky crew cut. Baggy shorts and t-shirts. Huaraches sandals from the San Jose flea market. Men’s dress jackets with sleeves rolled up. Colored jean jackets.

Digging through my closet, I pulled out a few pieces I still had from the era. A straight, short black leather skirt… ooooh, nice. A vintage 50s cocktail dress (too tight). A white Betsy Johnson dress bought on Fillmore St in San Francisco (also too tight), and a billowing black Japanese style coat I got in London in 1988.

Focus, I thought. I don’t have to duplicate my actual 20-something self. This is a chance to dress like how I always wanted to in the 80s. Live large – it’s just one night!

Like any college student, music was big to me. Hours were spent listening to favorite bands like B-52s, The Clash, Devo, Oingo Boingo, Madness, Scritti Politti, Sex Pistols and Brit-Ska band The Specials.

And then I knew what I’d become for the night. The ‘punk’ version of 80s Jennifer. Out came a red and black plaid dress with zippers. Out came the black Doc Martens. Making a trip to Claire’s Boutique, I found today’s 'goth' style accessories, which double for the 80s punk style decorations. Pinning on a bunch of safety pins, and my favorite Specials button, the outfit started coming together. Next I made a trip to my hair stylist for the perfect Faux-Hawk hair-do.

The “Totally 80s” party was a blast. The decade was well represented with Flashdance girls, Gordon Gecko, Ferris Bueller, a Petaluma High cheerleader, mullet wigs, a Reagan-Bush ‘84 sweatshirt, shoulder pads, big earrings, and gaudy prom dresses. A Ska Rude Girl and I bonded over talking about our favorite “New Wave” bands. I won for “best female” get-up in a costume contest.

Later, listening to the music, Don and I hung back, but when a block of Clash, B-52s and Violent Femmes came on, we danced, and it all came back to me -- that free feeling, when anything was possible, and the world seemed unlimited. We laughed and screamed until my voice was hoarse.

Later that night, taking off my ‘punk’ accessories, I was a little sad. Being a grown up is hard work, and everything was easier in the 80s. Would I want to go back for good? I guess not. But on Monday morning, when I take the girls to school, I know what I’ll be listening to:

“Now the king told the boogie men
You have to let that raga drop
The oil down the desert way
Has been shakin to the top
The sheik he drove his cadillac
He went a cruisin down the ville
The muezzin was a standing
On the radiator grille””

"The shareef don’t like it
Rockin the casbah
Rock the casbah
The shareef don’t like it
Rockin the casbah
Rock the casbah”

1 comment:

PortugePunk said...

That's so awesome.
I <3 The '80s