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Today my son discovered
Justin Beiber. I want him to discover
anything but Justin Beiber. But sadly, as he sang "Boyfriend"
going into camp today, it became painfully clear to me that my son is on the
cusp of some pretty crappy trends.
He's going to have dumb
haircuts and wear stupid pants. At some point he'll want to change his name to
something that sounds like a bohemian vegetable and he'll probably consider a
tattoo. He'll like music that I find excruciating and will drag me to
concerts of singers who can’t actually sing. He'll have friends I don't
get and have games I can't understand. And I'll have to smile through each and
every phase of his self-discovery.
It occurs to me that my
parents lived through some pretty crappy trends of mine. So let's call it even, shall we? So Mom, I'm really sorry for these 10
phases you were forced to smile through.
At the time, the bi-level
(a glamorous mullet) was in. It really was. It was so in that my favorite
actress (whatever her name was who played Renee Dimera on Days of Our Lives) had one. And so in my effort to be as pretty and
glamorous as whatever her name was, I wanted a bi-level, too. The problem was
that the actress and I had very opposite hair. Hers was thick and luminous, making layers a lovely idea. My hair is
thin and stick-straight. Layers were not my best look, and neither was the
bi-level haircut of 1983.
2. That Perm!
I should have known that
anything that smells like a chemical plant and singes off a bit of one’s scalp would not bring out the best in my hair. But right after the bi-level trend
struck through town like a tornado, along came its friend the perm. If you don’t remember, perms were the straight-haired girls’ answer to curls. Perms gave us hope that we could have
Jacklyn Smith’s flowing hair. Instead, perms took a bit of your scalp and gave
you curls so tight, your hair looked like a cross between Shirley Temple’s hair and
3. My "Mod" Phase
My high school days were
the height of the British Invasion of punk, ska and mod bands. I loved each
and every one, from poppy Duran Duran to that sullen Morrissey ( I still know all the
words to “Girlfriend In A Coma”).
Poor mom, every October 3rd she had to bake Sting a cake.
And so I started to dress
like my favorite bands. The problem was, I was actually a wholesome looking girl from the suburbs of Northern
California. So when I bobbed my hair short and shaved the back of my neck and
started to wear all black, I didn’t look British—I looked silly.
4. Andy Gibb's Chest Hair
I’m not afraid to admit
that I did count each and every chest hair of Andy’s on the “Shadow Dancing”
record jacket. I listened to that record
over and over and over while staring at the jacket. You can imagine how
upsetting it was to find out he and Dallas
star Victoria Principal were dating. And here I thought Andy and I had
5. I Covered Every Wall in My Room With Sting Stickers
There was no inch of wall not covered with a
sticker of Sting, Andy Summers or Police drummer Stewart Copeland. There was every kind of sticker imaginable,
even puffy stickers and ones that could talk. It was all Sting, all the time.
And yes, I made my whole family celebrate Sting’s birthday as if it were a
national holiday. Poor mom, every October 3rd she had to bake Sting a cake.
6. My Supermodel Phase
Cindy, Naomi, Christy,
Linda, the list goes on. The supermodels of my high school years did not need a
last name, nor did they need to do anything more than pose, for me to become
totally obsessed. I read Vogue
religiously and tore out the best photos of my favorite models. I’d put up
pictures of Cindy and Christy on my closet door while doing aerobics (yikes!)
to their photos. I knew all the
supermodel parts from that supermodel George Michael video and could even do
them all at one time. I was supermodel obsessed. I even turned our staircase into a runway and
practiced prancing and posing for hours on end.
7. All Ballerina All the Time
I’ve been 5’8” since
I was 13. A career as a ballerina was never in the cards for me. But ballerinas
seemed so beautiful and important to me, so I started to walk with a turn-out.
This continued for about two years. If only I could dance!
8. My Short Stint in the Israeli Army
Sort of. On a high school
teen tour to Israel, one of the weeks was spent immersed in the Israeli army.
This included M-16 shooting class on a real, live firing range. Despite being a
suburban princess, I was an amazing shot. So for just a short, few-month period,
I considered a career as an army general and would often refer to “the power of
the piece.” Weird, I didn’t notice my
parents rolling their eyes. Probably because I was busy looking for targets.
“Meredith dresses well,
but her attitude is lacking,” my 5th grade report card stated. That’s because earlier in the year, I had
staged a Pledge of Allegiance protest. I was sure
the mentioning of "God" in the Pledge was un-American and I should not be
subjected to the tyranny of such statements.
This is of course, total
crap. But at the time, it seemed like the most important thing in the world.
10. The Kabbalah Era
For a short time, I
donned my red bracelet, put on my all-white clothing and scanned the Zohar.
(Don’t worry, you don’t need to know.) I
swore I was a better person until I realized I had no idea what the instructors
were talking about.