The 80’s called, they want their hair back……

Posted: February 11, 2014 in Family, Humour


I know I’ve mentioned to you the fact I worked in the Arctic during the 1980’s. But all work and no play would make Billy a dull boy. So just what did I do when I actually came back south for holidays? Well, I was in my early 20’s, I had one-month long holidays every 6 months, and I was relatively flush with cash (compared to delivering pizza, which was my previous job).

Having spent 6 months in isolation, drinking skunky beer, reading the Sears catalogue to see real women, playing A LOT of pool, and never cutting my hair or shaving, I’d say that by then, I was ready to live it up. My friends would be waiting for me so that we could catch up on things, hang out, and hit the clubs. Winnipeg had a lively bar scene (there were more bars than schools), and so there was a plethora of choices: country bars, new wave bars, sports bars, rock bars….you name it.

But something funny happened to me, however. To illustrate what this was, I have come up with an analogy that I think fits this very situation. As I spent my six months working, isolated from the real world, time really had not much meaning to me. Oh, it dragged, to be sure. I called this the ‘getting off the bus’ effect. When going to the arctic, you ‘got off the bus’. The bus kept going, and by the time your 6 months were up, the bus was pretty far away. As with the bus, when you went up North, the WORLD kept moving forward, while you stayed pretty much the same. And, in the 80’s, fashion, music, pretty much everything was changing almost on a daily basis. Allow me to once again provide you with an example:

I left one October day, saying goodbye to my family and friends. My buddies were all into Heavy Metal, and I was too. But when I returned, the likes of Rick Astley, Corey Hart, A Flock of Seagulls, and the British Invasion II had taken a firm hold on society. I, however, was blissfully unaware of this. We had agreed to meet at our favourite club, one called ‘Spudley’s’. I had yet to shave and get a haircut, and had on my best sweatpants and tee shirt.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I entered not Spudley’s, but ‘Strawberries’, a totally transformed bar that catered to yuppies and even had videos playing to the dance music. My friends were all there, wearing buttoned down shirts, ties, ironed pants, and hair-styles I couldn’t even begin to describe. In walks myself, Grizzly Adams, and the crowd parted like the Red Sea. You could have heard a pin drop had the music not been on. My friend’s shock at my appearance was about the same as my shock at theirs.

What followed would become an epic lesson in fashion. One of my friends gave me the phone number to his tailor and his hair stylist. The next day, I showed up promptly at 11:00-ish (it had been a long evening), and $600 later, I apparently had left the 70’s behind, and was firmly ensconced into the 80’s.

Imagine, if you will, Drew Carey having relations with Phyllis Diller, and their love-child growing up and then having an affair with Ozzy Osbourne. Their subsequent love-child was what I looked like. I had hair like ‘A Flock of Seagulls’, white shoes, pastel-green  coloured pants, a turtle-neck sweater, and a blazer with huge padded shoulders. I also was shaved with the ‘Miami Device’ so that I looked, well, Miami Vice-like. Driving was a hazard. Good thing I took the bus.

Well it was an epic evening. I think I put out three eyes with my hair, and single-handedly killed the turtle-neck industry (apparently a neck is required to wear one…). I was also banned from the transit-system. It was both the best and worst $600 I ever spent. He hairstyle was so bad that when I washed my hair the next day it was not only impossible to replicate what it was supposed to be, it looked like Edward Scissorhands had cut it while suffering a seizure. I had to go to a barber and get it shaved off to restart.

And thus, I spent the rest of my vacation reading books and watching television at home. The bar scene and my friends had left me behind. It was tie to grow up.

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