Column: Reliving the good old days

I wasn’t paying attention to the music playing in the background while I was getting my haircut. That is, until the sound of Meatloaf’s voice blasted through the salon about how he would do anything for love, except for that one thing he won’t do.

I suddenly found myself questioning my choice of salon based on the music selection. Is big hair optional when getting a haircut there?

The 1980s to early 1990s have been making a comeback and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I didn’t think the clothes were something that I wanted to relive. And yet, there they are in the stores – skinny jeans and so much more.

I first realized the style was back when I walked into a Gap in 2010 and came face to face with an entire section of stirrup pants. Why did people feel the need for their pants to loop around their feet? Sure, if you’re riding a horse or skiing in the 1930s (which, according to Wikipedia, is where the pants originated), it makes sense. But when I was sitting in class in the 1980s? Not really necessary.

But there I was, going up to the racks of stirrup pants in Gap in 2010, looking at them like I was seeing a long lost relative after two decades. The teenaged salesgirl looked at me with a slightly bewildered look on her face. In all fairness, she did look at me the same way I looked at my parents when they said, “Remember when people used to smoke and drink while sitting at their desks at work?” when we watched an episode of “Mad Men” together.

I also heard that Zubaz are trying to make a comeback. According to the Zubaz company’s website, we should “embrace the awesomeness” of those colorful animal print pants once again.  Every time I picture Zubaz, I also picture fanny packs – iconic early 1990s. Even if they are resurrected, could they ever reach the same level as their heyday?

But it’s not just style. Now, thanks to Netflix and Hulu, TV shows that you haven’t thought about in at least 15 years like “Family Ties,” “Alf” and “Melrose Place” can be watched again in all their glory. Finding them is like finding childhood again for people who were growing up at the time. When my co-worker posted on Facebook that “Saved by the Bell” was available for streaming on Netflix, I definitely spent the next hour of my life watching a few episodes. Although, the passing of two decades will make you question why some of the TV shows were popular at the time when you watch them again. Sometimes it’s best left in the past.

It’s like a time that people love to remember, but cringe when they remember. While driving to work one morning recently, the radio show hosts were listing things they remember from the period: Starter jackets, haircuts like MC Hammer’s, shoes that light up when you take a step. If you really want to relive the years in a twist of the older days meeting new technology, there’s a group called “80s and 90s babies only” on Facebook where photos are posted every day of the toys (Skip-it? Mouse Trap?). It’s also hit on Twitter, with feeds like @90sgirlproblems complaining that she didn’t have time to crimp her hair.

You can’t talk about the pop culture of the early 1990s without mentioning the advent of the computer. I used a computer for the first time in third grade in school. We had one computer in our classroom and we broke into groups, each group getting to use it for a half hour one day a week. I was so excited to be able to use a computer, it didn’t matter that the reason we were using it was to play a math game. Then I woke up with pink eye on the first day my group used the computer and I had to stay home from school. I was devastated. And in case you’re wondering, there’s no way to fake not having pink eye so you can go to school.

But no worries, I returned to school, and got to play Oregon Trail, learning to value those oxen on the trail, which eventually led to sitting in class in 10th grade while the teacher explained what an email address was. I don’t think he understood it much more than us at that moment. Oh, how far we’ve come.

It makes me wonder what people 20 years from now will remember from today. The first time they used an iPod?

In the meantime, I’ll continue to play my VHS tapes and hope that business suits with shoulder pads a la Murphy Brown don’t make a resurgence as business attire for women.

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