As a nostalgia junkie, there's just nothing like the 1980s to make me nod my head, smile softly with fondness and do the slow-clap. There is just so much material for reminiscing; the amazing music, memorable fashion, the TV shows, the movies. Yes, the '80s were a goldmine of wonder, and undoubtedly the best decade for a child to grow up in. Ever.
Here is a short list of reasons why the 1980s were superior to whatever decade we're living in now. (The '10s? What do kids chant at high school pep rallies these days? Do they still have pep rallies? I digress.)
1. The bracelets were highly preferable to the annoying rubber band Rainbow Loom bracelets that made their way into my home this ill-fated Christmas. Jellies, anyone? Friendship bracelets? Those were quality products. Speaking of jellies, the shoes were amazing, too. Never mind the fact that my freakishly narrow feet rendered jellies the least practical footwear option available, they were still awesome. And I totally rocked my huaraches and espadrilles. Let's not talk about my Moon Boots.
2. There were girl bands. Forget the ridiculousness of the boy bands of the late '90s and early 2000s, not to mention Harry from One Direction. The Go-Go's, anyone? The Bangles? Bananarama? Need I go on? Yes, yes, I think so. Expose? Salt-n-Pepa? Sorry for the accusatory question marks.
3. The movie Dirty Dancing was made. Enough said.
4. Even the prettiest, most popular girls look horrendous in their old family photos thanks to the horrifying trends and hairstyles.
5. We roamed freely. Sometimes we left the house in the morning and didn't return until dinner. We walked to the drug store with our friends. We earned money walking the neighbors' dogs. We formed clubs with ridiculous names and unknown purposes. We explored. We were wild.
6. You didn't have to be genetically altered to win spelling bees. That's right, I went there. There's no way in hell that I, as a 35-year-old woman who once graduated summa cum laude, could ever spell the words that today's freaky 5th graders have programmed into their freaky spelling-bee-champ brains.
7. The dolls. Cabbage Patch Dolls stood for love and nurturing, in direct opposition to the materialism-drenched cash cow that is the American Girl Doll. One of Xavier's babies could kick the a$$ of any American Girl Doll any day of the week. (The sad irony is not lost on me that those dolls are in fact based on the beloved and high-quality American Girl series launched in 1986. I am, in fact, reading one of them aloud with my daughter. I just cried when it ended.)
8. On that note, the tween literature. The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins, the aforementioned American Girl series, prior to becoming befouled by consumerism. Check out this stash:
9. The television shows were utterly hilarious, and lacked the abysmal attitude problems, entitlement and rudeness showcased in today's Disney Channel filth. (OK, fine, I sometimes like Austin and Ally. And I'm a little bummed about Good Luck, Charlie being cancelled, if we're being honest. But the rest of those shows suck.) I mean, didn't we all learn a lot about ourselves from the teenage struggles of Samantha Micelli and Kirk Cameron's little sister Carol? Those girls weren't snotty little smart-mouths. Oh, and there was no Caillou. Just the Smurfs and the Snorks. And did you ever watch that episode of Perfect Strangers where Balki and Larry tried to carry a piano up the stairs? Comic. Perfection. Also? Alf.
10. Perms. OK, just kidding, that one actually isn't awesome. But check out this picture:
I was always a little sad that I wasn't old enough (or, let's be honest, cool enough) to enjoy the '80s punk scene. At a recent retro block party, I finally got my chance to sport a mohawk, which made up for years of bad perms:
Now for the real #10: There were no handheld electronic devices. That's right, I feel sorry for today's kids. They will grow up with preoccupied hands and distracted minds. Back then, we had to memorize the phone numbers of our best friends and neighbors, play with them, play with our siblings and talk to our parents. I, for one, am grateful for all those years when the biggest screen distraction was a small obsession with Frogger on our Atari. We actually spent time with our friends and family members without constantly looking down at a screen while pretending to listen.
Despite being somewhat aesthetically unappealing, we children of the '80s had it pretty good. It's going to be hard for the children of the '00s and '10s (?) to top the sweet childhood we had back then. What did YOU love about the '80s?