Frankie says Relax, it's not the *real* eighties.
Is this was nostalgia feels like? Like a deadened version of heartburn?
At the grocery store closest to the university, standing in lines crooked with hot-faced kids, I see the eighties have returned. Or almost.
Yes, I see the clothes. I see the baseball tees, the sack dresses. The headbands. The overalls with the cuffs rolled up. And yes, I recognize the Thompson Twins on the sound system. I remember the female part of that group, how she'd hide herself under enormous hats or searing haircuts, and then layers and layers of clothes. She didn't want to be an object, she said.
I see all these kids who look like something that I'm meant to recognize, but they don't really look like any version of myself from twenty years ago. Instead they look a lot better than that.
Their choices are so much more calculated. Mine were blind and off-the-rack. During the real eighties, we all just wore the same thing, because that seemed to be all there was. Anyone who didn't had to go to some lengths to be that way, and therefore was trying too hard. They were freaks, and back then freaks (or nerds) were *definitely* not cool.
And the off-the-rack stuff we had was not very good. It wasn't layered and form-fitting the way these kids look now. Instead you wore it either really loose or really, really tight.
And there was so much acrylic. Yes: where are the acrylic sweaters? You just can't cherry-pick the good stuff, you little bastards. I want to see you in suffocating acrylic, in awful generic patterns, with your sleeves constantly bunched up on the upper arm (and constantly falling down).
And where is the abused hair? The scorched perms and weasel mullets? Where are the giant plastic-framed glasses? Where's the too-much eyeliner? Where are the combat boots? The kamikaze shirts?
For that matter, where's the smoking? You can't just do it at parties, or at your step-dad's cottage, or whenever it's convenient for you. You have to light up every chance you get; if you've got one burning away in an ashtray on the other side of the shower curtain, one within reach between conditioner and rinse, then you know you're on the right track. Cigarette butts should be a natural part of your territory, marking your trails through the world, like Hansel and Gretel through the dark, churning forest of emphysema.
And why are you in a grocery store anyway? You need to downgrade your diet. Just a tich. By which I mean: a lot. You should really only have enough money for cigarettes, beer, hair gel, rent and jeans (yes, you get to buy lots of jeans, and you invest in this matter some *serious* consideration). For food, I would recommend a steady diet of tuna and Ichiban noodles. Of course you'll get scurvy, eventually, but this is the price of cool.
And get rid of those headphones and all that goddamn downloaded music. You should only have a small collection of cassettes (mostly mixed tapes), and only half of them should play properly on your little, shitty ghetto blaster. Yes, you can go look at the foreign imports at the record store, but only for something to talk about at parties.
And no more hugging. Or safe sex. Or blowjobs. Or career planning. Or ...
O forget it. You're far too happy about all of this, and your skin is *waaay* too good, and you're just too much aware of the irony. How else could it be, when you're taking polaroids in bad light, just so you can run home and scan them?