Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Tao of the 80s Girl

t's all about where we are in the pendulum's swing, when it comes to history. If we are lucky, we find ourselves in the middle of the swing -- the spot where we have gotten it right; but, then, things get away from us again. It's inevitable, I think. 

In the Victorian era, an overload of modesty took hold of Western culture. Women buttoned up to the neck and wore dresses down to the ground. To show an ankle was scandalous. In a few short decades, the flappers were going out in public quite scantily clad. The pendulum had swung. 

I have to say, I miss one thing about the 80s: the ladies. And I don't mean this is a Steve Martin kind of "wild and crazy guy" way. I was not a "playa." (I dated one young woman all through high school.) What I miss is the girls' style from the era. (And while we are clarifying, I don't mean leg warmers and teased out hair. I mean their overall style -- their approach to...girlishness?) 

It felt to me like there was a certain amount of modesty still left, but that ladies were also, on a personal level, comfortable with being sexual creatures. (The personal part is an important distinction. I mean in relation to those they liked, loved or were in relationships with, not simply as they walked through the world. And, let's face it, social media wasn't a thing, so superficial public personas were fewer and farther between.) Many girls and women had escaped the pressures of prudishness, but they also had self-respect. If they were interested in you, they had no qualms about letting you know, but abandon all hope ye who "crossed the line" without their permission. 

The pendulum was in a balanced place, then. I'm not just falling into golden-age thinking here. In fact, there is very little I miss about the 80s. Objectively, from the distance of years, it just seems that way to me. It is, of course, open for discussion...

And I am not trying to judge women as humans, by the way. That's not up to me. I'm just explaining the "vibe" I remember. I think we were at the best spot on the pendulum swing in terms of modesty vs. sexual liberation. I mean, Madonna, at the time, was really pushing the envelope. I remember her "Lucky Star" video making me blush a bit as a young teen. Madonna was one of the factors that started pushing the pendulum away from the center we had found...

Why am I only talking about the girls? Well...because they are the ones who have been unfairly pushed around when it comes to what is "proper" since the dawn of dawns. Or the dawn of Dawns, for that matter. (Maybe we guys should have had more of that pressure. If we had, over the centuries, fewer women might have suffered abuse and callous treatment.)

What I am ultimately saying is that the girls in the 80s (the actual ones, not the movie and MTV video ones; the ones in my high school and college; the ones in my neighborhood and at my part time jobs) seem to have had found a balance. I guess what I am trying to say they had dignity but they seemed comfortable expressing their sexuality. 

Why bring this up? Well, I recently saw a social media video in which a guy was light-heartedly interviewing twenty-something girls in a club. What he was asking them was how they rated themselves when it came to servicing men, orally. No, I am not kidding. He was walking up to strangers and asking them how good they were at fellacio. And the girls? They never missed a beat. Never even blinked. They went into great detail as to their techniques. 

I think one of my "80s girl" friends would have punched him in the mouth. They knew where they stood and they'd let you know about their intimate secrets, but only if you earned their attention. You definitely were not going to talk to them like that out of the blue and hold onto your incisors.

There comes a time when sexual liberation crosses the line into sterile obviousness; where the poetry of flirtation becomes a prosaic set of procedures; when a seductive wink gives way to a crotch-grab, if you will pardon my crassness. Again, I am not judging these girls as humans. What I am judging is the culture we have created -- the one in which they were raised that made them get to a place that makes them think they need to give everything about themselves away for a ten-second spot on some dweeb's Instagram. 

And the girls in the video were dressed way beyond provocatively. In fact, I am pretty sure that one of the girls, if she didn't wear a coat home, could possibly have been arrested for public indecency. Contrast that with the 80s girls. What did they reveal? Maybe the old cut sweatshirt falling provocatively off the shoulder and a jaunty flip of the poofy hair? Maybe that was enough for a start? 

Just one dude's take on things. As always, it's all open for discussion. 

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