Thursday, September 15, 2011

Go Away so I Can Miss You--Too Soon for Gen X Nostalgia

by Christina Brooke

I was shocked. SHOCKED, I tell you, to learn the number of years it has been since I was a senior at high school.

The truth came home to roost when I was invited to my school reunion this year.

Really? Was it that many years since I'd darkened those hallowed halls wearing a deconstructed nun's habit and panama hat?

Surely not. Surely it was only yesterday that I was doing try-hard headbanging to Smells Like Teen Spirit and envying Kate Moss's waifish drug-chic look. Only slightly longer since I begged my mother for a fluorescent t-shirt (she agreed to socks) and danced around my friend's bedroom to WHAM!

But there you go, time has not stood still since I drank my first free Black Russian at City Rowers on Ladies' Night Tuesday. My theory is that years don't age you. Children do. Still, I mustn't have been feeling terribly old despite my 2.0 children because that number on the reunion invitation really smacked me right between the eyes.

You have probably gathered by now that I belong to the generation known as 'X'. Apparently, our day in the sun is long gone. So far in the past, in fact, that the latest craze is for Gen X nostalgia.

Oh, dear. Someone pass me a Cosmopolitan, will you? I need to go and lie down.

What were the weird crazes when you were a child/teenager? What fad did you take part in that you'd rather forget? Is there anything you didn't do that you wish you had?

62 comments:

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, I got the chook!

Christina, your post made me giggle. I grew up in the 70s and had my best time in the 80s. Name a horrible fashion fad that I didn't live through. Bubble skirts. Big hair. Shoulder pads. Blue eye shadow. You have to be tough to make it through all those horrors!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey congrats on the rooster nab, Anna!

Fun post Christina. I had that shock last year when I went to my first high school reunion -- of course, it wasn't the first reunion - just the first one I attended. The invitation was a shock.

I think in our minds, we sort of remain the same age. Anything that contradicts that age is jarring.

Anna - sound like I'm a decade before you. Mine was the flower power generation, mini-skirts and hot pants, Woodstock & anti-war demonstrations. Interesting times...

marybelle said...

I was a teenager in the 70's & this was the era of the UGLY shoes. Trying to buy anything half decent was a nightmare. Store after store of "Oh my God!!!"

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha! I am a member of Generation W (one before X) during the wild '80s. I had big "New Jersey" hair, wore shoulder pads, and adored early Madonna. My kids laugh when they hear '80s hair bands on the radio, trying to imagine their uncool mother dancing to early Bon Jovi!

Anna Campbell said...

Mary, I remember with horror 70s shoes. I also remember going A over T a few times because I tried to wear platforms. I can't walk on ground level, let alone shoved inches up in the air!

Anna Campbell said...

Kim, I was into what a friend of mine calls misery pop. I suspect it was bigger in England (where I lived for two years during the 80s) and Australia than in America. I loved the Cure and the Smiths and Joy Division and all those really unhappy sounding boys. I think in my innocence I thought it made them sound deep!

Christina Brooke said...

Woot! Anna got the rooster today.

All of those 80s horrors you mentioned are being recycled now, I think, except maybe the big hair.

LOL on the platform shoes and misery pop! My brother loved The Cure so I had an appreciation for it but I never wanted to wear white makeup. Thanks for sharing!

Christina Brooke said...

Donna, there's a theory that most women never get beyond about 30 in their own minds. I think that's probably why young heroines are so popular in romance novels.

My dh has a theory that very few people were actually flower children in the '60s. I don't know if that's true but I do know that not all that many people were into grunge in a big way in the '90s. We seem to be defined by the vocal few don't we?

Christina Brooke said...

Haha, Marybelle, a woman after my own heart! Seriously, I don't care how fashionable something is. If it looks terrible I'm not going to wear it.

Christina Brooke said...

Kim I LOVED early Bon Jovi!! You'll find Tawny is a big fan too. Do you know, I'd never heard of gen W. Learn a new thing every day.

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Christina! I made up Gen W because I am not quite Gen X!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I was in the 60's generation, graduated at 17 in 1969. Bell bottoms, hip huggers, body shirts. I didn't wear it well then and we don't even want to think about now. It seems my granddaughter is a fan of the 60's, I spent a lot of money buying anything with a peace sign on it, either for her clothes or her room. The room is very close to a 60's era pad, bright colors, sheer curtains (4 colors) drifting at the windows, bean bags and huge pillows everywhere. Yeah kind of looks like that way back room in the lair.

PJ said...

I was a teen in the late 60s, early 70s when, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, the times they were a-changin'. As Donna said, we were the hot pants generation (and yes, I did wear them! lol!).

Ours was the psychedelic Woodstock generation with music ranging from Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Doors to Carole King and Bob Dylan to Iron Butterfly and Steppenwolf. We had anti-war protests, love beads, sit-ins, the sickly sweet aroma of pot permeating dormitory hallways and armed National Guard troops lining the streets of many college campuses around the country..including mine.

This age thing is coming home to roost next week when my birthday clock completes another rotation and lands on a zero for the coming year. Oy!

barb said...

well done Anna.... don't feed him too many tim tams

I think I must be the oldest as I am the decade before Donna.... the 50's .... they had fluorescent socks in the 50's but my Mother wouldn't let me have them....along with rock 'n roll skirts with their big tulle and hooped underskirts....

Helen said...

Well done Anna what are your plans for him today LOL

Christina

Loved the post I went to a school reunion many years ago loved it but yes it is a real shock to remember how long ago it was LOL I finished school in 1973 I started high school in 1970 LOL.

I loved music bell bottoms lots of glitter mainly because of all the glam rock bands like Slade and T-Rex we used to have long straight hair with silver streaks down the front, and yes the platform shoes that I used to wear and fell over a few times in LOL I still reckon it is their fault I can only wear flat shoes today. Does anyone remember the yardley pot o gloss eyeshadows and lip glosses with the different flavours LOL.
Those were the days

Have Fun
Helen

Mozette said...

I was such a tom-boy when I was growing up. I had a mullet hair-do (because my hair was thick, it wouldn't do anything else until I hit high school and decided to grow that out - thank God!!!!). I was the first - and only skater-chick in Logan City (and no I don't skate anymore due to having a melanoma removed on my pivot leg; damn! Otherwise I'd still be out there doing it!).
But I loved the all the great music, enjoy the horror of SK and was the outsider in school (only because nobody really likes a person who is smart but doesn't make friends easily) and yet, I was a fringe kid (one of those who was an acquaintance of many, but a member of no one group... very lonely kinda life).
I still wear 80's kind of clothes; and I pull it off very well because I'm still around the same size I was in high school (amazingly!) and now my hair is very long (down to my waist most months of the year) and so, when I last went to a class reunion (which was the 10 year reunion), all the kids thought I was still going to be the same old weirdo I used to be; but I wasn't. When the 20 year one came around, I didn't bother going as I didn't have anything to say to them.

Laurie G said...

Another 70's grad both HS and college, I wore the bell bottoms, colorful patterned sweaters, long cardigans that are now coming back in style, pea coats were popular, the big blue parkas with the fur trimmed hood, high waisted jeans became popular too. Heaven Scent perfume and Yardley commercials were on constantly. I remember wooden clogs.

I think wearing scrubs became popular after Ben Casey and Dr Kildare TV shows. Leisure suits YUK! guru jackets YUK!

60's I remember madras cloth and paisley patterns,

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Christina,

During the 80's I was busing populating the world, or it seemed like it! 3 kids in 3 years, so the 80's were a bit of a blur for me. Thank goodness!!!

Like Donna, I was at the end of the baby boomer generation, so there was lots of turmoil, Vietnam, Woodstock, baggy clothes, homespun maxi dresses, and a few "stimulous" things I'm very glad I didn't experiment too much with!

Gannon Carr said...

I was a teenager in the 80's, so it was all about "big hair." Oh, and the shoulder pads, too. My kids laugh themselves silly when they see old pictures from back in the day.

That being said, 80's music is still the best! Even my kids won't argue with that. LOL

Anna Sugden said...

LOL OMG Christina - having just been to my 30th reunion *thunk* i know how you feel.

I suffered the 70's too - I laugh with my step-d's now because I can't stand any of those fashion delights like bell bottoms, platform shoes, crocheted ponchos etc etc. when they're recycled.

On the other hand, I was also a child of the punk generation - and still am in many ways. Love the music, love the attitude and love the zips and studs!

80's music rocks too LOL.

As for ugly shoes - this past summer has been another horrid year for shoes. Uggh. I desperately need new summer shoes and could not find a single pair that I liked! Lots of gorgeous boots, but sandals - nope.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Oh, Wham. Their "Make it Big" album was the first one I ever bought. I wore that cassette tape out.

Hmm, I remember parachute pants, leg warmers, the off-the-shoulder sweatshirts a la Flashdance and Madonna, jelly shoes. And big, big freaking hair. I think those of us girls in the '80s with our Aquanet were responsible for the hole in the ozone layer.

MsHellion said...

I'm guessing I'm about a year or two younger than you, so we've got the same horrible fashion sense. Actually--I was never particularly fashionable. However, I did love wearing short mini skirts and big shirts (which seemed to be sorta the thing); and hypercolor shirts and jeans; tight rolling my jeans; flannel shirts (at the end, when grunge started getting popular).

This was also the period of Aquanet hairspray and batwing hair--which I was never successful at, so I never looked as cool as my friends who could really make artwork out of their hair. *LOL* I had smaller batwings and fluffed bangs.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Anna! Congrats on catching the chook...or maybe it's condolences?

You said: Bubble skirts. Big hair. Shoulder pads. Blue eye shadow. You have to be tough to make it through all those horrors!


Hahahah!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Donna said: Anna - sound like I'm a decade before you. Mine was the flower power generation, mini-skirts and hot pants, Woodstock & anti-war demonstrations. Interesting times...

I can so see you in a mini-skirt, dancing your fanny off. Grins.

Of course, since I HAVE seen you in a corset, (at conference, people! Jeeesh!) a mini-skirt isn't too much of a stretch.

Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Marybelle, I think that's come back...

You said: Trying to buy anything half decent was a nightmare. Store after store of "Oh my God!!!"

I'm feeling that way now, with a lot of what I'm seeing in the store and in fashion mags.

O.M.Gosh.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Dianna said: Yeah kind of looks like that way back room in the lair.

Yep, where all good Peace Signs go to rest. Grins.

We confiscate them, you know. Hahah! Sven gets a twitch when he sees the tacky plastic Mardi-gras bead ones. I think there's a story there somewhere...

And the Way-Back room is a place in which you have to be careful. You might come out in a different space than when you went in.

Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Mozette! No wonder you fit in here. Grins.

We all decided long ago that most of us were the geeky fringe kids. We found our Tribe here in the Lair.

You also said: all the kids thought I was still going to be the same old weirdo I used to be; but I wasn't. When the 20 year one came around, I didn't bother going as I didn't have anything to say to them.

I haven't gone to any of mine. I was a "transplant" in high school, coming in in mid-year and unable to click with any of the cliques. I tolerated my time and got out.

Whew! Who wants to go back? Not I, said the pig!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Trish said: Hmm, I remember parachute pants, leg warmers, the off-the-shoulder sweatshirts a la Flashdance and Madonna, jelly shoes. And big, big freaking hair. I think those of us girls in the '80s with our Aquanet were responsible for the hole in the ozone layer.

OMGosh, LOL so hard I'm about to choke on my coffee. SNORK!!

Well said.

And if there was one trend I absolutely HATED it was shoulder pads. Hated. Them. Cut them out of everything. Bleeech. I have big enough shoulders as it is. Anything with shoulderpads made me look like Brian Urlacher from the Chicago Bears.

Eeek! So not pretty.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Jeanne, I hated shoulder pads and cut them out too. Seriously, who thought that was a good idea?

And did anyone airbrush their little white tennis shoes? I remember I had some airbrushed with the name of my boyfriend at the time. Oh, dear.

Louisa Cornell said...

Good on you, La Campbell! He is in for it today, for sure!

Commiserations on the reunion invitation, Madame Christina! I just received one for my 35th! Our class has a Facebook page and several members declared it IMPOSSIBLE that it has been that long since we graduated! Oh the humanity!

And La Campbell I had a closet FULL of those platform shoes. I wore them every day. I look at them now and marvel I didn't break my ankles in two!

Blue eye shadow, big hair and shoulder pads? Absolutely!

Now I cannot STAND shoulder pads. I look at those photos from the 70's and I look like a linebacker!

As for music, I was already deep into my opera studies by then, but I LOVED Elton John! I still have every one of those vinyl albums!

Nancy said...

Anna, congrats on the bird!

Christina, I was such a geek that fads mostly passed me by.

In my head, however, I'm still about 25. My reunion invitations also come as a shock, I'm afraid. Who are all these aging people, and where are the kids I knew in school?

Many years ago, we were at a college reunion with my grandfather, then in his early 80s. He pointed at an elderly man bent over and hobbling with a cane and announced,"I believe I went to school with that boy."

Even allowing for the lifelong application of "boy" to southern males, this was a stretch. But I'm sure that's how he remembered the man.

Anna Campbell said...

Laurie G, did you see you won Ashley March's prize? Skip down through the posts and you'll see the announcement. Congratulations!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, it's such fun hearing about everyone's wicked past (at least as far as fashion goes - now I'd REALLY like to hear about other wickednesses!). The chook has been busy cleaning out the old clothes from my wardrobe. Christina's post has inspired us!

Christina Brooke said...

LOL Kim, you're the lost generation! Funny how they didn't have generations before they knew they needed to market to them. You missed out big time!

Nancy said...

Anna C. wrote: Mary, I remember with horror 70s shoes. I also remember going A over T a few times because I tried to wear platforms.

I never tried, Anna! Not only do I have weak ankles, but I'm already plenty tall without adding a platform sole!

Christina Brooke said...

LOL Dianna, sounds like your daughter has gone for some lair chic! It is amazing how the music and activism of the '60s still speaks to modern youth. I was crazy about the '60s when I was a young teenager too.

Nancy said...

Christina wrote: Mary, I remember with horror 70s shoes. I also remember going A over T a few times because I tried to wear platforms.

I can get behind that! The mindset hit me in the face recently when I read a series that had mother and daughter characters and suddenly realized that although I identified with the (20ish) daughter, I really was much closer in age to the mother!

Christina Brooke said...

PJ, I'm sure you looked very cute in those hot pants! An amazing time to live through.

Christina Brooke said...

Barb, gotta love those poodle skirts! My mother held out against the fluoro socks and in the end got me some blue ones which were barely fluorescent at all. A wise woman. She wouldn't let me have a perm either.

Christina Brooke said...

Helen wrote: Does anyone remember the yardley pot o gloss eyeshadows and lip glosses with the different flavours

Those were the days, my friend! Must admit I was terrified when they revived the fashion for platform shoes. I could just see myself spraining an ankle on one of those. Still remember my mother had these cork wedge numbers. I was fascinated with those as a child.

Christina Brooke said...

Mozette, wow on the skating! I used to love roller-skating but never graduated beyond the Time Warp. And can I just say I hate you for being the same size as when you were at school? That's enough reason to go to a reunion right there. But they're not for everybody, that's for sure.

Christina Brooke said...

Laurie I love the picture you're building in my mind of all that '70s fashion. Scrubs? That's a fashion statement I'm not sure about. As in hospital scrubs? Oh, and I'm with you on the leisure suits!

Christina Brooke said...

Suz, I have to laugh at you calling them 'stimulous' things! Gives a whole new meaning to our government's 'stimulous package'. LOL

Three babies in three years? I am not at all surprised the 80s were a blur.

Christina Brooke said...

Gannon, I love 80s music too! I think I am very nostalgic for those days, sadly. But not for the shoulder pads!

Christina Brooke said...

VA, isn't it a crime about the shoes? Awful when the fashions turn tragic.

Yes, I can see a bit of the punk rebel in you--in the nicest possible way. I think it's a bit sad that fashion keeps recycling past eras so faithfully. They don't seem able to come up with anything fresh and beautiful any more.

Christina Brooke said...

LOL Trish on the ozone layer! I wouldn't be at all surprised. And thanks so much for setting me straight. I was looking for pics of bubblegum shoes but they were called jelly shoes. Gah! They were just awful, weren't they? Yet another fashion faux pas my mother forbade me.

Christina Brooke said...

I did own a pair of mildly parachuted pants, though. MC Hammer had nothing on me:)

Christina Brooke said...

Oh, yes, the minis and big shirts were a part of my wardrobe, Hellion! My brother had a hypercolour shirt. That's another thing I meant to put a pic up for.

LOL about the bat wings. That sounds cute!

Christina Brooke said...

Jeanne wrote: And the Way-Back room is a place in which you have to be careful. You might come out in a different space than when you went in.

And we're not talking about stimulus packages...

Christina Brooke said...

Jeanne, I'm short but I've got broad shoulders. I cut out the pads too or I would have looked like a miniature linebacker.

Christina Brooke said...

Aw Trish, clearly you were a romantic right down to your airbrushed tennis shoes! LOL I remember converse boots being really hot at one stage.

Christina Brooke said...

Louisa, Elton was one of my favourites as a child -- he was just so theatrical! Still remember that travesty of a wedding he went through, poor man.

Kudos to you on the platforms. I just can't imagine wearing them every day.

Christina Brooke said...

Nancy, I must admit my inherent conservatism meant I didn't get into many fads either. I used to laugh at my mother for still calling her friends 'girls' but I'm sure I'll do the same until I die.

Christina Brooke said...

Glad you're putting the chook to good use, Anna! It is fun going back in time, isn't it?

MsHellion said...

Women's 80s Hair reminds me of those pictures of that lizard. You know--the *makes motion like Jazz Hands near her ears*

http://www.lizards.com/index.php/frilledlizard.html

I wonder if we did it for the same purpose: armor to scare off predators. *LOL*

Christina Brooke said...

SNork! That's hilarious, Hellion! The 80s glamazon really was pretty scary wasn't she?

Sonali said...

I had so much fun in my high school days and i can say that i did all that i wanted to. Even if that meant breaking a few school rules...shhh

Christina Brooke said...

Ooh, Sonali, tell us more!

Helen said...

Suz

The 80's were a blur to me as well I had 4 kids in 6 years 80, 82, 84,86 LOL they just passed me by very quickly I don't remember much about them other than washing changing wet nappies and not much sleep.

Have Fun
Helen

Mozette said...

Christina wrote: Mozette, wow on the skating! I used to love roller-skating but never graduated beyond the Time Warp.

Aah, I think I have you confused with another sport. I was a skateboarder. I wasn't that popular with the guys who skateboarded - or their girlfriends (who thought I was an absolute slut! Dumb idiots! All was there for was to skateboard and that was it...what airheads!).

After my melanoma operation, I took up roller blading (which my plastic surgeon didn't approve of; as it was a) another extreme sport and b)out in the sun again! And I got to be pretty good at it. I still have the blades and pads, but no helmet and would like to get back into it to get my legs back into shape again (and to keep myself active too).

As for my body shape? Well, let's just say that I got that from the right side of the family. Dad's side of the family are all athletic and we are supposed to be sporty people; but if we're not, our bodies don't store fat, our muscles just turn a bit lazy and flabby... weird, eh?

Christina Brooke said...

Helen, I read those stats about your birthing years and almost passed out in sympathy. You're amazing!

Christina Brooke said...

Mozette, sorry I don't know why I thought you meant rollerskating. Skateboarding. Wow. I'm so unco-ordinated, I could never do that. Envy your naturally gorgeous figure!