I'm taking a little blog break for the next couple of weeks but not to worry, you are in very good hands. I've lined up some of my favorite bloggers to mind the store. They'll be showing off their mad writing skillz while I'm away. Their assignment (because I'm a sentimental person and I've been feeling nostalgic lately): Write about the 80's. Anything goes.
Kicking off my righteous 80's series is my friend Jessica Ashley of Sassafrass. I met Jessica when we both worked together and honestly, I'm not sure I would have lasted as long as I did at that place if it weren't for her kindness, humor, and mad IMing skillz. Let's start this week off correc' with my grrrrl, Grrrlfriend Jess.
I'm not quite sure if I am more proud of that now than I was then, but back in those days, I took great care to slick back the hair, precisely powder my already fair skin to a matte porcelain and paint on scarlet red lips to babydoll perfection and make myself as Robert Palmer Addicted to Love video-ed as a high schooler could. Today, I take great care to mention that oh-so casually at playgroup, preschool, Starbucks, when I meet a dreamy guy or catch up with someone on Facebook. It's not that I'm living in the past (no, really). It's just that there's a lot more to me that the lady stuck behind a laptop twenty hours a day, the mama trying to convince her kid that no, that really is a carrot-shaped French fry, the fiercely focused woman in and out of offices and divorce court and Trader Joe's and conference calls. I'm not a Crocs mommy and I do put on mascara and heels to walk forty steps to my living room workspace every day and that projects a bit of who I am today. But what it doesn't show -- and what I feel compelled to drop in as my other parent friends are talking about big claw-like bangs done up with White Rain and a crusty pick -- is that I once rocked the platforms of the underage clubs with the cool kids.
I don't have any illusions of grandeur by sharing this scene. I wasn't one of the cool kids. I was a drama geek, journalism world-saver, good girl, well-behaved student and a bookworm. I scoffed at but secretly wanted very much to be a flag twirler, picked for the French Club's spring fashion show that was exclusive to the Trendies and cheerleaders at my school, and I would have died to become Homecoming Queen. Instead, I found a home behind the main stage with other kids who were in all the theatre productions with me, and we smoked cigarettes and made fun of the popular kids.
On the weekend, though, I shed all that inferiority and intellect when I folded my knee-length Units skirt in half to make it a daring mini, pulled on thick black tights and laced up my granny boots. My whole identity shifted when I piled on rubber bracelets left from my Madonna craze, slid in giant hoop earrings, pouting my lips and squinting my eyes at myself seductively in the mirror. I had an arsenal of club clothes at the ready, depending on who I heard would be there, what would give me most hip pa-dow as I shook it in time to Nine Inch Nails. I had a killer pair of white boys Girbaud jeans that I wore with a belt of my dad's that I had to fasten and then loop through itself. I had a beat-up pair of Guess jean shorts I scavenged from a friend, ripped out half the ass of and wore with striped black and white leggings. Every costume was decidedly me, but mostly the me that I unfolded on the weekends from 10 until 1 in the morning before I raced home to meet curfew.
In those clothes, I could dance freely with my girls. We stood in a row across platforms, moving in sync to remixes with moves we named for the boys we scanned across the dry ice haze hanging in the air. No matter what angst we had in our homes, our tumultuous teenage relationships and the backseats of our cars, we always seems to find our rhythm up there in our black-on-black uniforms.
Maybe I cling to that part of me because sometimes I still rely on certain shoes or skinny pants to get me in the mood for whatever doors I will be walking through that day. It's just that, on the other side of these doors, I'm much more likely to find tricycles and aisles of organic soy butter than young boys in Z Cavs and the uh-uh-uhhhh of Frankie Goes to Hollywood sampled into New Order. The attitude's the same, though, and occasionally even the red lipstick. The Units and granny boots and Guess shorts are long gone, but no matter how far we already are into the millennium, I'm not ready yet to give up my late Eighties club girl card.
Now for your club kid confessional: What were you wearing under the red lights and remixes in the late Eighties?
Jessica Ashley embraces her clubbing-to-Depeche Mode past, holds tight to being a hardcore feminist and loves her some lip gloss. Oh, and Hills. Jessica blogs at Sassafrass, where she gives away too many details about boobs, fabulous shoes, being a single mama, teaching her boy to pee standing up and yoga what-not.
Thanks, Jess! Be sure to check in tomorrow when my pal Mike Adamick waxes poetic about an iconic 80's toy.