I Literally Died Laughing

See how silly my title is? Don’t laugh too hard or too long or too quickly; I’ve heard people say this. “I was literally starving to death!” one woman said at one workplace where I temped. I went past her cube later in the day to discover she outweighed me by about sixty pounds, and that’s quite saying something. Clearly, she didn’t know what “literally” meant, but continued to use the word.

Still, we’ve all done silly things, and while that’s not a problem, some of the things my generation did and enjoyed are pretty silly indeed. And they’re plenty embarrassing now, too, in retrospect. Nothing’s ever seen so clearly as it is when we look over our shoulder at it, is it?

Music Videos

I’m not sure how much music videos have changed in the past two decades, because I don’t watch them anymore. I never really did, but like most teenagers, when MTV was a new, novel idea, I spent a few of my available hours watching them. And they can be very embarrassing indeed. How about this one?

Yeah, that’s a classic, ain’t it?

Or this one:

Pretty fancy animation effects, no?

Music videos. Yeah, some of ‘em were embarrassing, but you know what’s more embarrassing?. . .

The Music Itself

Oh, the songs! How ‘bout this gem?

Oh yeah! Listen to those lyrics, baby! Who had better poetry than that going on?

And who could forget this classic?

Sweet, no? Ha! Man, now those were the days!

But it wasn’t just music, y’know. How about . . .

Shoulder Pads

Yeah! Shoulder pads! Somewhere a fashion designer made gazillions of dollars by deciding women should look like linebackers! So they contrived shoulder pads!


The cast of Designing Women seems to epitomize what I’m talking about, but there were much more extreme examples. And no one seemed willing to caution women about the body armor effect of shoulder-pad build-up. Blouses had them, jackets had them, coats had them. Heck, layering up in cold weather could actually result in a turtle effect wherein the neck disappears into the collar of the shirt and other clothing. You’d have to use a periscope to see where the hell you were going.

Oh, but it didn’t stop with shoulder pads . . . or even start with them, did it? Oh, no, it might’ve started with . . .

Leggings and Headbands

olivianewtonjohnlegwarmers80sNow, this is what most people remember about the 80s, isn’t it? The ultimate fashion statement, defining a generation of people who had no idea what they’d look like later in life when they had to see these images again.

Olivia had it goin’ on back in 1981, but today we just sort of laugh about those things. With just a touch of a blush on our faces while we do. But we were young, foolish, and we thought this stuff was the bee’s knees. And at the time it was, as much as our iPods and touch-screen phones are today.

Oh, but we weren’t done yet. Not us. Uh-uh. Why stop with memorably bad music, videos and fashions when you can move forward to . . .

Bad Hairdos

Oh, the 80s weren’t as bad, in my humble opinion, as the 70s were in this regard, but we were pretty far out there. Or down there, depending on how you look at it. I mean, how many redeeming qualities can a generation who invented the Mullet have, as far as hair is concerned?

80s-Hair-Hero-Daryl-Hall I mean, check out Daryl Hall. In the early 80s he was the crown jewel of Mullets. And it wasn’t just rock musicians either. We all sported some variation of the Mullet. See the picture of Olivia Newton-John above? Yeah, that’s a modified Mullet, baby.

We took hairdos to new highs. Or sometimes lows. No generation before or after has done as much to make hair difficult and time-consuming as we did. You couldn’t just get up in the morning and rake a comb through your hair. Oh no. Not us, baby. We needed chemicals to achieve the look we wanted. 80s_hairstylesWe needed frickin’ architecture to achieve the look we wanted. And so, the era of polymer-based hair products really came into its own. We had not hairdos but helmets, ladies and gents, helmets. Depending on the ‘do and the amount of plastic required to get it, we could probably receive a highway safety rating from today’s National Transportation Safety Board. Take that, baby boomers with your Vitalis and Brylcreem.

Yes, indeed – we took our hairdos seriously in the 1980s.

But in the end, looking back at all this stuff made me smile. Big hair, big shoulders, big bucks and big drugs. We had it all in the 80s, with big video productions and big movies. And we had big attitude, too. I think in some ways we still do. Seems we were the last generation of people who thought the world didn’t owe us something, like we didn’t have the good life coming to us. We believed it was there for the taking but it wasn’t going to be handed to us. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how it seemed to me.

As embarrassing as some of this stuff is, I got a nice laugh out of seeing it and remembering it. I mean, a good laugh. I literally died laughing, in fact.


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13 thoughts on “I Literally Died Laughing

  1. Last night, I needed a good laugh. I went to YouTube and typed in “funny game show” and then i watched an hour’s worth of clips. Lots of stuff from the 70s and 80s, the hey-day of game shows.
    Family Feud, the Newlywed Game usually have the funniest clips. Then I saw some clips of Hollywood Squares. That got me thinking, our society, our culture needs a new Paul Linde. Right now, the closest thing we’ve got is Andy Dick. Don’t get me wrong here, I like Andy Dick. I think he’s very funny. But he’s no Paul Linde.
    With my feeling a need to watch Paul Linde, I watched a clip of him from the Dean Martin Show.
    I’m telling you, Dean Martin’s job on the Dean Martin Show was probably the greatest job ever. Dean Martin got paid smoke, drink and to laugh at the generation’s finest comedians, in front of an audience.
    Dean is just standing there with a drink in one hand and a smoke in the other. He’s given a brief script then all he has to do is be the straight man for a slew of amazing comedians. That was the life.

    Did you know Dean Martin wasn’t really drinking? It was all schtick. It was a fake drink, and he was never drunk. Smoking indoors, on a stage? Yeah, those were the days, baby. And it does sound like a pretty sweet gig, don’ t it?

    And if you’re gonna talk about Daryl Hall’s hair, how can you ignore Oates’ hair. The guy had a curly white guy afro, with a moustache. Next to the Flock of Seagulls, Oates had the worst hair for any musician in the 80s.

    I didn’t bother looking for wannabe porn star John Oates because he drifted into obscurity before the 80s even ended. I guess he sort of slipped my mind, and when I did my search for 80s haircut images, guess who was first on the list? That’s right, Daryl Hall. So that’s why he’s there without Oates.

    And oh yes, Men Without Hats. If they’re not proof of why Montreal should be sunk into the St. Lawrence, I don’t know what is.

    Me either.

  2. Haha! This is a good one. Makes me want to do a post cataloging my hair don’ts over the years.

    Hair don’ts! AWESOME! I should’ve used that! CURSE YOU, MORE CLEVER WRITER!! 😉

    Shoulder pads I could live without ever seeing again. but leg warmers? They were da bomb! I’d wear ’em right now if I could. They enjoyed a brief resurgence in my life, although not pop culture, when I was in college and going to dance class every day. I love them.

    I think they’ve ALWAYS been part of a dancer’s wardrobe, haven’t they? Leotards and leg warmers. But alas, they look silly when you’re out of the studio.

    Big hair on guys is something else I sorely miss. Sexay.

    ROFLMAO! Okay, if you say so. To each their own. 😉

  3. Oh, I love that 80’s nonsense, and am glad I came of age then instead of the 90s. I’m glad to be part of a generation that didn’t give every student a winners ribbon because we don’t want anyone to feel bad. Sure, I felt bad a lot, but at least I was ready for the real world.

    Amen to that. This “outcome based education” crap is bullsh*t and it’s gotten us nothing but trouble and entitlement mentality ever since.

    This reminds me… I’m going to have to post my shoulder pad story.

    Yep, we’re all waiting on bated breath.

  4. That reminds me…scrunch boots are back! Maybe I could knit some leg warmers to wear with them? If I knit fast there could be leg warmers for everyone!! Loved this walk Darc. 🙂

    Awesome! Scrunch boots RAWKED! I had a few pairs when I was a younger man. And leg warmers all around would be a welcome treat, I bet. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the ride, Jaymie.

  5. Soon you’ll be able to literally laugh your butt off, because it’s ALL coming back. I bought myself legwarmers this season, mostly because they’re practical, but ALL the trendy young girls are wearing them. You can bet on it: shoulder pads, mullets, and bat-wing sleeves will all be back within the next 5 years. I called moustaches 2 years ago. They’d been out so long I knew they had to come back in again. And sure enough, just this fall I’ve started to see young men around town sporting the ‘stache. It all comes back eventually.

    Yep, everything old is new again. You know what’s sad about that, Sparky? We, the 80s generation, were the originals. Nobody did what we did with hair, fashions and music. And now, all things old become new again. First the 40s look came back (and I was sorry to see it go again, all too quickly), then a brief stop at the 50s with poodle skirts and saddle shoes (that one didn’t last, eh?), then the 60s with the stupid hair and loud, UGLY ass clothes, and now we’re stuck in the 70s. I’ve been predicting for a long time how the 80s would eventually make a comeback too, but so far, nothing. I guess it will soon enough, but the nasty-ass 60s/70s stuff just. won’t. die. The one thing they all have in common is, these things were original to the original time and the knock-offs just kill it and ruin it. It SCREAMS lack of creativity to me, probably the direct result of how people are being handed everything SINCE the 80s. *Sigh*

    Anyway, I’m sure you’re right, but try to remember how the 70s were the father of the ‘stache, not the 80s; they just held on. And frankly, I’d like to see facial hair become more prominent again. Let men be MEN for God’s sake.

  6. I put this on my FB. TOO effin’ funny. I literally died, twice.

    I’m glad you liked it sugar! Good to see you on my blog again. *Hug*

  7. I kinda agree with Sparklingred on this one…it seems every generation will revert to some fashion from decades before and call it “new”.

    I agree too … and I disagree. In the 80s there were things no generation did before. The clothes and hair? C’mon, no one did that before. Seems we were the last of the originals with things like hair and fashion. NOW everything is reverted under a “new” label, but not then. That sort of started in the 90s. No surprise there, at least to me. 🙂

  8. Oh, the hair. The hair I hated was where women made their bangs stand straight up like a wall. They must have used a full bottle of hairspray each morning to achieve this stupid looking effect.

    I remember when girls did that too, or they made a “rat’s nest” of their bangs if they were short. Oh, the things we did for fashion! 🙂

    I must confess to sporting a mullet for most of my life. The mullet I had for my passport makes me shriek everytime I look at it. Wow. That was some bad stuff.

    I’ve sported some version of one for most of my later life too. At least after I could start choosing — and paying for — my own haircuts. Nothing as extreme as ol’ Daryl’s, but always some variation of the ol’ reliable Mullet.

    I rather like the video for A-Ha & the song too. A Flock of Seagulls? Bad video, stupid song, worse hairdos.

    I liked A-Ha’s song too; and I like Flock of Seagulls’s song, just not the video or hair. It was a catchy little tune. Stupid, but catchy.

  9. I think my kids will one day look back on their pictures from younger days and have a “did we really: do that? wear that? like that?” time as well. I know I had to laugh when looking through my old HS yearbooks but then I graduated in ’73 so I had those horror moments as well as the 80’s.

    Ah, I have 70s moments, too, though I was a little young to have developed my own taste prior to ’81 or so. 🙂

    Senior pics were really a hoot because we all tried to look the same. Long straight hair parted in the middle, turtleneck sweater (preferably blue) with a small gold chain necklace with a little something or another on it peeking out from the top of the turtleneck. Nothing flashy. Oh, and we even posed at the same angle! Nothing but Steppford Wife clones for us.

    Oh, we had all that too. For one of our class pics, we all had this snap-on tuxes we had to put on for the picture. The only variance among us all were our hair-don’ts, as Sherri called ’em. 🙂

    And I have to admit that this was the start of the hot pants craze which even I fell victim too along with wearing white go-go boots with the hot pants. Yikes! At least back then I was skinny enough to get away with it but I hope this trend doesn’t come back though I have seen some really short, really skimpy dresses out there as evening wear. You would have probably appreciated the scenery at the Hollywood party we went to. Shortest. Damn. Dresses. Ever! Hubby enjoyed the scenery though he felt bad about it later since most of the women at that party were probably younger than our daughter. lol 🙂

    That’s the problem I have with a LOT of celebrities/models/actresses/whatever — most of ’em are sooo young now, I can’t look at ’em without seeing a child. 🙂 I don’t regret that, though. I’m fine with it. But it rams home the aging process, don’t it? 😀

  10. Fashion has always fascinated me, how it goes out of style and them come back years later slightly changed and more ridiculous but we eat it up… You wouldn’t believe hairstyles here in SA.. Great post.

    Thank you Silindile. I appreciate you coming by and saying hello. Yes, we commit many aesthetic atrocities in the name of fashion, and we always have. 🙂 Thanks for the read!

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