Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Do they still make Aqua Net?

I have been secretly reading with glee the blogs devoted to the being trapped in the 1980’s written by Steve Spears, St. Petersburg Times online editor. Spears has dedicated his entire existence to honoring those guilty pleasures that defined the era, like Duran Duran, the Brat Pack, Ferris Bueller and the Rubik’s Cube.

Spears is himself “Stuck in the 80’s,” and judging from the popularity of his column, so are a lot of us.

Best-selling horror novelist Stephen King is also trapped in that whole vortex. His recent column in Entertainment Weekly focused on all the 80’s pop songs that won’t leave his head. Like “Mickey” by Toni Basil. That to me suggests he’s still listening to them. A closet 80’s addict, perhaps.

Here’s my confession: I am too.

I loved the 80’s! I spent the whole time wearing rubber bracelets up each arm all the way to my elbows, flashing mismatched neon socks with my leggings and talking like a Valley Girl. I totally wanted to have children with at least three members of Duran Duran, to be Madonna and to go to school with Molly Ringwald all at the same time.

I bought Aqua Net by the case, demanded to be allowed to drink Jolt cola, and peppered my jean jacket with buttons whose slogans screamed out bits of wisdom like “Frankie Say Relax” and “Gross me out the door!”

I paired all that up with black fingerless lace gloves and Ray-Ban Wayfarers. My mother, in her ever-ready crusade to keep me innocent, drew the line at the corset. (I still snuck it in my backpack along with electric blue eyeliner, and changed at the school dances.) I won’t even get into the rhinestones.

But then the 90’s rolled in on the wings of grunge, And I fell in love with the Smashing Pumpkins. So I traded all of that in for flannel shirts, tank tops and a pair of Doc Martens. My worship of all things 80’s had to be undercover, in the closet, on the low.

My husband has caught me more than once, dancing by myself, Cyndi Lauper blasting away on my iPod. I still have black half-shirts that beg to be worn with waist-length pearls and rosary beads, but they’re hidden away in a drawer. If my hair starts getting too big, I tame it with a straightening iron.

But reading Spears’ ode to my favorite era has brought it all back, like running into an old high school friend.

And his devotion is so complete, if I were single, I be tempted to ask him to marry me.

Like, you know, totally.