Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I do things so you'll know better: Part 1

One of my favorite blogs is I do things so you don't have to. Actually it's kind of a love/hate thing, I love JD's blog but hate that I can't write like that. It was another bitter pill to swallow to watch the video of JD giving a keynote speech at blogger conference in July. She's funny in person. And she's pretty. Throw in great hair, and you've got a genetic slam dunk.

Anyway, this entry is sort of a spinoff on the I do things concept, with apologies to JD. She has adventures so you don't have to, I do things (or did things) so you'll know better.

1984: The senior photo
I happen to know that a lot of my readers are under 30, so I'll reveal that I was once under 30 too--here's a picture of me, circa 1984, as a senior at Purdue University. I'm sharing this picture to set the stage for my next "I do things" blog entry. My next entry will be about my goofiest moment in college (surprise, it's something other than the photo).

I'm sporting the preppy look that was de rigueur in the eighties. I didn't wear it for this photo, but I had a monogrammed sweater. The SEK was cursive/stylized and the boys teased me that it looked like SEX--but I wore it anyway. The impossibly fluffy hair? That's the result of Clairol hot rollers worn for forty minutes. Remember I grew up during the Breck Girls ad campaign -- that's my excuse.

You won't be seeing this on my blog EVER, but for my high school senior photo I wore a cowl neck sweater and long hair parted down the middle, in the 1980's way. As part of the pre-photo primping, girls pulled all their hair forward in front of the shoulders to make it look thicker, the teen version of a combover. (JD, you won't know anything about this, Ms. gorgeous hair.) I did this, but my hair was also carefully draped to follow the outside edge of my eyebrows. I thought it made my face look thinner.

I did things so you'll know better
Here are a few pearls of wisdom for the under 30 crowd, from someone at or a tad beyond middle age...

  • Your mother is right. Wear something classic for any photo shoot -- something likely to survive the fashion season. If she offers to take you to Talbots, go. This goes for proms too.
  • I'm so behind the times in youth fashion, I don't know what the 2009 equivalent of hot rollers is. But trust me, anything that takes forty minutes of daily grooming you can and should skip. Spend your time learning chemistry (more on this in my next blog entry).
  • Yes, I wore a pink bow. A bad decision, but at least it was reversible. I could take it off and throw it away. It did go out of style! Everything does! Think of that as you contemplate that butterfly tatoo above your derriere. Your body will change, but that tat will remain, for better or worse. And it will be worse. Think about being a residents of a nursing home in 2050. The aides will have a good laugh at your expense.
All that aside, have fun and don't worry too much about what people think. Just be careful of things that can't be reversed and things that are captured on film...


  1. Oh, I remember those days, all too well. The miles of curls we slaved over and the oh-so-eighties blouses!

    Rarely does riding kit go horribly out of fashion, I must say, though my daughter thinks that my old chaps are really weird compared to the half-chaps that absolutely everyone wears around here nowadays.

  2. Ah yes -- the Breck Girl ads! I remember those!

    Having graduated just over a decade before you did...we young ladies were required to wear the same jewel-neck sweater for our B&W high school senior pictures. Unexciting at the time but, as you so aptly point out, pretty much timeless. Only the hairstyles give us away!!

  3. Oh, gee, I'd already been teaching for over ten years when you had that photo taken. I'll have to go back to the school yearbook to see what I was wearing.

    As for the hair, I've always worn my short. Any curls had to come from a perm as no sets ever held.

    Ah, the good old days.....

  4. At least in the equestrian world, a polo with tan breeches and a belt never go out of style!

    The big, volumized curls are definitely in right now. Though the hair is usually parted to the side. There are so many "looks" right now, it's insane. You got the edgy razor-cut straightened hair for all those punk kids (heehee) and the beautiful braids (I absolutely love that style, but my hair has too many layers to pull it off now) for all tree-hugging, neo-hippie, boho people. Among many, many more. It's confusing. Thick hair with curls never goes out of style. It may have some variations, but it's always pretty. Just look at Taylor Swift's hair! Everyone wants that hair now!

    Can't really say whether or not my school pictures will look cheezy or great twenty years from now. I hope the ultra-modern thing doesn't go too far. I hate it now and I know I'll hate it in the future!

  5. LOL @ the butterfly tat... They stretch. By the time you reach the age to be put in a home somewhere, it will look like a giant bird of prey dropping down out of orbit to bite your butt.... ;)

  6. Oh, my gosh, you're too kind. And you ARE the Breck Girl! Oh, that beautiful blonde hair. I wish mine would do that after "only" 40 minutes on hot rollers. I have to SLEEP on rollers to get the hair you saw at BlogHer. Believe me: it doesn't usually look like that.

    Love the preppy look. I graduated (college) in 1983, and I must say, I was the anti-preppy. But at least you have a graduation picture you can be proud of. Me? Not so much.

  7. Remember the curling irons with the built-in-steam? How I used to FRY my hair...And I remember wearing those pink sponge rollers IN PUBLIC (gasp) to band practice before school. Ha! I was in high school during that preppy look, which as I recall was immediately followed by the Flashdance look! Daughter starts high school next week and enjoys laughing at MY old yearbooks...just wait, eh?

  8. You must be almost my Mommeh's same age! And guess what? She wore a cowl-neck sweater for her senior high school photo. Hahaha!

  9. You are absolutely gorgeous in that senior pic! You actually look a lot like my mother....

    I started wearing my hair like you have it pictured, ever since I cut in at the end of July. Pinned back on both sides with a part....it's easy and keeps it out of my face. *sigh* and I probably look very dated.

  10. Not only do you have readers under 30, but you have readers under 20 :) *waves*

    Great advice! I've always done that (under mom's guidance and proof of in-style 80's pictures gone wrong.)

    And I'm never going to get a tattoo. "Sexy Girl" (or something like that) just doesn't look good on the saggy skin of an eighty-year-old! Not to mention, why would you want to shove chemicals and dyes under your skin, permanently changing the tissues? In the even I want to have "decorated skin", that's what henna is for!

    I also just wanted to say: although the clothes may be "out of style" now, you look amazingly gorgeous in the picture! If I could take a picture that looked that nice, I would be more than happy to wear something less-than-fashionable!

  11. We are the same age and I went to Purdue my freshman year 1980-81.

  12. It was Harry's. And Janice, who also commented here, is a purdue grad of that era too? Did you perchance stay at Meredith Manor?

  13. No. I was the furthest dorm out - McCutcheon Hall. I worked at Follet's Bookstore on that side of campus. My second semester I actually got into Grad House West with my sister, she was a senior. It was amazing that I got in as a second semester freshman! It was really nice and you could take the tunnel to the student center.


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