It takes about ten years for the fashion sense of a generation to get hit with the realization that what they once deemed so hip has tragically become the butt of a joke for decades to come. After that medallion-wearing, polyester-sporting, disco machine has shaved off his lip sweater of a mustache, he'll eventually muster the nerve to show his kids pictures of the good ole' days--with even a laugh at his own expense.
While every generation experiences this embarrassing reflection, I think it's the 80s that gets hit the hardest by the slap of sense--leg warmers, bandanas, and pants with enough zippers to name each one a day of the week; all presented in dangerously bright colors. While the late 70s introduced to us its interpretation of what American culture may look like in the future, the 80s decided it'd be a totally rad idea to pretend that future is here. Pianos became synthesized. Drums became flat. And shoulder pads were imported straight from space. The clothing and music that had once been deemed futuristic was here in the flesh. But rather than the anticipated chic and modern look, we resembled extras in a low-budget Sci-Fi movie.
The air filled with so much aerosol you could almost hear the ozone screaming for mercy, as new wave bands harvested bed head with threateningly sharp angles, while girls sprayed theirs to new heights with mall bangs hair. People zeroed in on Sonny Crockett, Michael Jackson, and that lead bird from A Flock of Seagulls for fashion tips. The trends somehow caught on, and now we're stuck with photo albums full of pictures we'd rather not dig out. At least for now.
By the end of the decade, cassette tapes, Saturday morning cartoons, and corded phones had all met a slow demise, as the demand for convenience began to pummel technologies that no longer held the attention of our impatiently growing population. However, there will always be those who live for nostalgia, so cultists of the 80s will continue to collect guilty pleasures from the era.
I will declare one thing about the 80s that I personally miss. VHS and their availability. Soon after VHS and Betamax duked it out, VHS walked away with the winning title and sprouted up store chains like noodle shops in China. But it didn't stop with Blockbuster and Video Library. Pharmacies, gas stations, and convenience stores from all over held their own little libraries of take-home entertainment now available to anyone with an ID. The tapes sat on shelves like seductively packaged candy, waiting patiently for the next viewer.
But like the bright colors, zippers, and mall bangs hair, the VHS tape's fifteen minutes of fame passed and ultimately gave way to a new culture with different fads and attractions. Although a few decades later, trendsetters would resurrect threads from the 70s, one would wonder if there would ever be enough electricity to bring the 80s back from the dead. I believe most of us would agree they're best left in the grave. Nobody wants to see another curly mullet. Nobody.