Thanks, Michelle, and thanks Ingrid for a new StarLit. piece on Gaimanda (Amanda Palmer + Neil Gaiman…)
Love is the Ultimate Trip by Michelle Soucy
The 1980s were dark times for hair. And for fashion. And for music. I’m not sure what happened to initiate the cultural collapse in judgment, maybe it was a kind of styling product-fueled rebellion against our hippie-parents’ love of all things “natural.” But the whole world looked and sounded like it had been aerosol-hairsprayed into a stiff and angry gloss. Subtlety was dead, or at least in an induced coma. We wore panic-button red sunglasses that zigzagged off the sides of our heads like lightning bolts. And, speaking of lightning bolts, those were also shaved into the buzz-cut hair of the boys in my school.
The clothing we chose to wear was as big as we could possibly get it and still be able to walk, but bunched up and held onto our bodies with fluorescent pink and green belts — many, many belts. Our fingernails, too, were painted in bright neon, and sometimes enhanced with polka dots or, again, lightning bolts, giving the appearance of poisonous insects living on the ends of our fingertips.
And our hair, dear God, our hair. Perms like the summit of K2. Mohawks, spray-painted blue and purple. Rat-tails. Ducktails. Bangs that we burnt into layers with our curling irons and bent upside-down to hairspray into what looked like a wild turkey’s fanned tail feathers. When I look through old photo albums at my parents’ house now, I feverishly flip past the photos of the 80s, pretending that couldn’t really be me… no, no, haha, no. But when no one else is looking I flip back and sneak a peek, because my early-teen face really was quite sweet and doll-like. But you could barely notice it under that maniacally hairsprayed mane. So, yeah, the 80s were a dark time, so dark that I was desperately compelled to dig for some light. And so I dug, and I unearthed for myself love… in the form of The Monkees.