Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Too Much Time on My Hands

"I've got too much time on my hands, it's hard to believe such a calamity"
-Styx, 1981

Joburg shuts down during the holiday season which means that lately I have not been busy with my usual activities like school, lamps and social groups. While I don't feel bored I guess I needed a project because I threw myself, with unparalleled enthusiasm, into helping with the planning and execution of my friend's 80's themed party. 

My friend Meghan and her husband love to throw parties and they are great at entertaining. When she mentioned she wanted to have an 80's party to celebrate their one year anniversary of arriving in Joburg, I was all in favor. I love the 80's, the music, the clothing and the memories. The only thing I don't love about the 80's are music videos because I've never seen any. When I was growing up we lived in the middle of nowhere and we had no (gasp) cable TV and therefore no MTV. Mr. Deep finds this hilarious.

Me in 1988. I'm just holding that beer for a friend.
I volunteered to help Meghan with the food and in the days leading up to the party I made sloppy joe meat which is minced beef with the perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy flavors.I also made Jello jigglers which if you don't know is jello cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. I made mine with vodka. It wasn't as easy as it sounds because jigglers are very fragile. I didn't want to take broken jigglers to the party so I ended up eating the broken ones myself. 

sloppy joe
Meanwhile, Mr. Deep also became involved in the party planning. At first Meghan planned to hire a DJ but the guy never responded to her so Mr. Deep happily volunteered to organize the music. He developed a playlist of over 15 hours and strategically divided the tunes into three categories. 80's Party Mix, general songs to be played throughout the party, 80's Request Pot, extra songs that people might want to hear because if someone requested Fame by Irene Cara Mr. Deep didn't want that person to walk away disappointed. And the third, a self explanatory category called Let's Fucking Dance.  Mr. Deep took the project seriously asking for input from others and making notes of songs and artists to be included. Then, one night he suddenly seemed tired of the endeavor. This became clear when I casually asked him "do you have any Asia on your playlist?" to which he replied, "I'm done." Mr. Deep also took his look seriously. His outfit consisted of a pink Izod  (now called Lacoste) polo shirt and a pair of docksiders. 

Mr. Deep the prepster
My manic obsession kicked in just a few days before the party when I began giving serious thought to my outfit. Originally I had the idea that I would just dress the way I used to in the 80's. Forty eight hours before the party I realized that this plan was very boring. Why dress like a 17 year old from a small conservative town when you can drape yourself in all the glory of the excessive decade...and this is when my craziness began in earnest. 

It was then that I realized that there were literally one million directions I could go with my 80's look. For example: 
Jane Fonda workout  
Working woman with shoulder pads
Glamorous like on the TV show Dynasty
Prostitute like in the movies Trading Places and Risky Business 
Sweet and innocent like Brooke Shields (yes I know she did the racy Calvin Klein ad but for the most part she was sweet) of course I quickly ruled this one out for being too boring.
Androgynous woman  
Punk rocker 
A person from the 1980's who still dresses like it's the 70's

I was overwhelmed by the possibilities. 

The day before the party I was frantically trying on suits as I was considering going as a flight attendant from the 80's (or as we called them back then stewardesses) but I realized I would have to buy a wing shaped pin and I thought that might be hard to come by. But the real low came when I found myself wearing nothing but my shiny black plastic raincoat, sitting in front of Mr. Deep's computer googling 1980's Russian spy. And my gardener was at the house at the time! I obviously was not thinking clearly. Side note the day of the party it poured all day and night so a raincoat would have been a perfect costume.  

I headed to the mall and luckily 80's and 90's style clothing is back in stores full force so it wasn't hard to find an outfit quickly and painlessly. I ended up wearing acid washed tight jeans, silver pumps, a black top with lace, huge hair and loud make-up. I dressed like a rock band groupie following Motley Crue during their 1987 Girls Girls Girls tour.  

Although my hairstyle did not come out perfectly as my hair is not cut in as many layers as it was back in the day, as I styled it the whole era came rushing back to me. I used to think that I spent hours getting ready to go out in the 80's because I was in high school and that's what high school girls do. In actuality, it took forever to get ready in the 80's and you were never really finished with your hair or makeup because there was no such thing as too much of either. Eventually, you just ran out of time and had to leave your bathroom. 

Big hair selfie
In case you are invited to an 80's party, here's a quick hair styling tutorial.

First, wash your hair.Then add a cantaloupe size puff of mousse. Scrunch the mousse into the roots. Feel free to add more mousse.  Next, hang your head upside down to blow dry. Don't worry if the dryer is too hot or on a high setting just blow the daylights out of your hair. Next, grab a curing iron. Put it on the highest heat setting available and begin to curl your hair. Once the hair is wrapped in the iron hold the iron an inch or so from your head for maximum volume. You can even spray your hair with hairspray while your hair is heating in the iron. As for the type of hairspray to use I suggest Aqua Net but any strong hold aerosol will do and don't buy anything natural or organic as you need full on chemicals. Continue to curl for at least 45 minutes. If you see a curl you don't like just redo it, it's not a big deal. Don't be alarmed if you see smoke or smell burning hair. This is completely normal. Once you are satisfied or have to leave for your party, whichever comes first, apply a thick coating of hair gel over each ear pushing the hair back. Don't worry if it feels wet. It will dry eventually. 

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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a few months following a few years of living in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two places could not be more different. I'm excited to share our adventures, challenges and insights with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.