We didn’t worry about ingesting chemicals or eating processed foods. We just gobbled down whatever was tasty. If we wanted the news, we either tuned in to the local television network or we picked up a newspaper.
We didn’t have personal computers and smart phones. The closest thing to Twitter was the water cooler in your office or the jungle gym on your school’s playground. Yes, to discuss what was going on in the world, we actually had to talk to people in person. When we missed our favorite TV shows, we were just plain screwed. There was no Tivo, no Hulu, and no iTunes. Read more
Kids today don’t realize how over-the-top everything was in the 80s. One bracelet wasn’t enough – you had to have twenty of them lining your forearm. And a nice, sleek hairstyle was out of the question. You wanted your hair to reach the moon and spread all the way to China.
Everything was like that in the 80s – even the language. Did any other decade produce as much jargon as the 80s did? I think not. Even music and movies got bigger. There more 80s music genres than ever before and new breakthroughs in special effects took film making to new galaxies. It was wicked awesome.
The 80s: Big, Bold, and Bodacious
If it wasn’t big, chances are it wasn’t from the 80s. Everything was enormous. You went through a can of Aqua-Net a day trying to get your hair to be as big as possible. You scoured through the jewelry section in search of the boldest, most colorful earrings. And big wasn’t enough. No. You also had to have lots of everything. Lots of bracelets, jelly shoes, and legwarmers. Lots of mixed tapes. Lots of Cabbage Patch Kids. And lots of style.
Style in the 80s
Big and bold only scratches the surface when it comes to the styles that dominated the 80s. Yes, hair was big and so were earrings. But we even made our shoulders big with plump shoulder pads. Our shirts were enormous (you could NOT have your butt on display), and so were the belts that we wrapped around them. One belt would be four inches thick. Or we’d get a really long (big) belt and wrap it around twice. Or we’d simply use several skinny belts. Speaking of skinny, the guys loved skinny ties and had lots of them. Anything made of colorful plastic was fair game and we stuck that stuff in our hair (banana clips), on our clothes (broaches and pins), our faces (Ray-Bans), and on our feet (jelly shoes). Plus, we had to have three times as many shirts, socks, and accessories because everything had to be layered.
We had so much stuff and it was so big that we needed a whole new language to describe the 80s and everything that we used, wore, and did during that bodacious decade. Rad. Awesome. Tubular. And these words simply didn’t capture the essence enough, so we tagged totally in front of every single adjective we uttered. It was totally rad, totally awesome, and totally tubular. But we got lazy, too. Sometimes we shortened our favorite word of the 80s. It was a total blast, a total mess, and we loved it so much that we made the Total 80s Remix.
Entertainment was as big as everything else. MTV gave us 24 hours of music videos and the new station was a wicked success. It made stars and kept us glued to the tube into the wee hours (you always just knew they were going to play your favorite Madonna video sometime in the next hour). One-hit wonders were all the rage and new genres like hip hop and new wave sprung up, giving birth to new subcultures. Filmmakers harnessed technology and brought us blockbusters like nothing we’d seen before: E.T., The Empire Strikes Back, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. We loved being entertained in the 80s.
The 80s Craze Lives On
Oh sure, when the nineties came along, it seemed like the 80s were dead. Gloom spread like a virus as grunge music took hold and dancing became passe. Solid Gold was gone and MTV slowly stepped away from music videos in favor of lame reality shows like The Real World and Road Rules.
But the 80s didn’t truly die. They just took a nap. Nowadays, you can look around and see a little bit of the 80s everywhere. Leggings are back and so is the layered look. The superhero movie is bigger than ever and so are the special effects that keep us tromping off to the movie theaters. Listen closely and you’ll still hear mutterings of “totally awesome,” and “that’s rad.” And even music today is borrowing riffs and covers from the beloved 80s.
One generation gave us flappers. Another gave us the poodle skirts. Then, we had the hippies. The 80s gave us so much, and all of it was big, bold, and bodacious, that we can’t even sum it up with a single word or phrase. That’s why we simply call it the 80s.