Monday, January 21, 2013

Not So Fly, Not So Girl

Fellow Forever Forty-one Shoppers Deep in Competition

It’s funny getting older and looking back on all those awkward phases you went through growing up. 

The braces…

The break-outs…

The perms…truth be told, I miss my perms…I will always love big hair.

For those who embraced the eighties with reckless abandon; the hairspray, baby-blue frosted eye-shadow and peach frosted lipstick…

And for those of us, and I may be going out on a limb here, who thought the dress code for high school keggers in the late eighties and early nineties was business casual: the blazers, tailored slacks and loafers…

On a recent trip up to visit my best friend from high school at her home in Seattle, she pulled out the old photo albums for a quick trip back in time. 

Julie and I met at the end of our junior year of high school, myself a fresh transplant from Minneapolis to Southern California; and Julie a fresh transplant from our town's closest, all girls, Catholic high school.

We hit it off instantly and have been each other’s wing-woman, so to speak, ever since.  Yet it can’t be denied that the rock solid foundation of our friendship was built during several of many high school house parties.

Julie was a California girl, born and raised.  And she had an older sister.  And boobs.  Her high school evening attire typically consisted of a pair of short shorts; a thick belt; a tight and/or cropped top; and long, scrunched socks tucked into a pair of white LA Gear and sometimes black Michael “Air” Jordan high tops.  In the mild, California winter months, she might throw on an acid-washed denim or black leather jacket to stave off the evening chill.  Julie was like a slightly taller, slightly clumsier, white, Jenny from the Block (see Flygirl).  Looking back, her look denoted an energy and youthfulness very befitting of a Southern California class of 1990 high school senior.

Now my look.  My look was quite different, as evidenced by the photo albums Julie has kept over these past, now twenty plus years. 

“How did you hang out with me?” I asked Julie as I flipped through picture after picture of crisp blouses, turtlenecks, blazers, long skirts, and the occasional khaki pant.

“That was just you.”  She said.  “That was your look.”

“Look at this picture!?!  One of these things is SO COMPLETELY not like the others.”

If Julie and many of the other female members of my high school graduating class had chosen the group of dancers known as the Flygirls from the then new, sketch comedy TV series In Living Color as their style icons, I had clearly chosen my mother’s, or probably any bi-weekly Bridge group from the Midwestern part of the United States as mine.  Somehow to me, those zany dames had their collective finger on the pulse of fashion, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary presented by my peers.  

When the album page flipped and Julie and I got to the pictures of her 18th birthday party, January of our senior year, I about fell on the floor.  There I was, in a two-piece paisley ensemble: a long sleeve blouse paired with a pair of long, matching paisley gaucho pants in burgundy and brown hues (dry clean only).  I was like a Thanksgiving dinner table cloth dropped in a sea of animal prints and black with splashes of vibrant reds, teals and pinks.   

“Seriously, Julie,” we were both howling on the floor at this point.  “Why the HELL didn’t you stop me?”
“Dude, I don’t know.  That was just you.  You always just did you.”

And Julie continues to stand by me all these years and strange choices later, simply allowing me to just be me. 

All anyone can really ask for in a friend.

And for the record, I did own a pair of acid-washed, zipper bottom Guess jeans during that era. 

They were floods.   

Julie and I when she was visiting this past summer.

Stupid, party of five?

Thinking of getting into the "Bridge" game?  A good place to start: