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10 Phases I Made My Parents Live Through

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.

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1. The Epic Bi-Level Haircut of 1983

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 pubes.

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 something special.

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.

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9. My Pledge of Allegiance Protest

“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.

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