Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Clues That Your We Had Joy, We Had Fun, We Had Seasons In The Sun Have Now Passed

I went to college in the 80's, and I, back then, had this as my daily uniform:

Proudly, too, right down to the tights around the head
The $10 a tube matte red lipstick, the mismatched earrings, the Ray-Bans. You can't see the Walkman I've got in my hand, but it was there, with the Pat Benatar cassette playing: "You're a heartbreaker, dreammaker, lovetaker, don't you mess around with nonono no!"

Time stands still. It will always, I am convinced of this in 1984.  I have been walking tall and sniffing pies in heaven, as my grandmother used to tell me in Spanish, ever since.


Flash forward to a morning when getting ready to take teen DDG* son clothes shopping, I pull on my 15 year old cowboy boots, stand up, and I say, "All ready. Let's go."

And, he says, the words that freeze any woman in her tracks: "You're going like that?! Mom!?"

All kneejerk responses run through my head:
  • never let them see you sweat
  • they sense fear
  • don't lose your dominance
  • speak with confidence
  • maintain the status quo
  • do NOT buckle
  • keep your pole position

But I'm a woman, my appearance is my weak spot. I eek out,"Whaaaat, whaaa---umm, is it that you mean, honey?"

"Mom. The way you look. You need a trip to the mall, not me."

A woman and her appearance. Put the two together, and the images of how you still see yourself fight to be heard first:

I was hot!
Here, see? A picture in case you don't believe me.
Wait, go ask your dad. no. don't.
I've got loveletters upstairs that would sear your young eyes!
I once had to double book 2 dates for the same night, little boy.
You can't imagine ...

But, well adjusted, normal, grounded mom would ever go there with her child. He already had enough terror in his voice, I couldn't dump my stuff on that poor thing. No. I would work this s**t out.

It's time for the truth to be the truth that needs to be faced. No more hot mama days.  There it is.

The parts are starting to fall off, and plastic replacement is not a possibility in our household. Time for age appropriate hairdos, professional hair coloring-- no boot black done at home die jobs, time for shirts that cover the belly, and belts that prevent diaper butt.

Time to remember that when you let your hair down after it's been up in a rubber band all day, that you look more like Crazy Mary that roams the streets downtown mopping the bridge, then you look like a flower child.

I have often told my husband that you can tell what the year was when a person was plucked out of the dating game, by the bust-a-move they pull on the dance floor. Frozen movements in time, they will forever be doing the very last bump and grind they were popping and locking it to, before they were picked up, and plunked down into their new life.

Me? I'm still doing Madonna's "Holiday" skip~skip~shoulder lift~shoulder lift.

I let my son suggest what to wear, and replace the cowboy boots with the Danskos he likes better. (in my mind, I'll always be Thelma and Louise).

We get to the mall, and head toward the stores he likes best: H&M, American Eagle, Aeropostale. We pull the double doors open, enter, and begin to walk the long corridor. All heads turn.

They are on him.

Yes, DDG*, your turn, baby. Your turn.

*Lady Di would call Prince William DDG, short for Drop Dead Gorgeous. I have always loved that.


  1. Sniffle... My kids haven't gotten to the point of being embarrassed by what I wear yet (although I'm sure that's coming). For me, it's the Rude Awakening of photography. I see a much younger, hotter "me" in my bathroom mirror where the lighting is just right, I head out full of confidence and smile brightly when someone whips out a camera -- then when I see the horrendous photo posted up on Facebook it's like a slap in the face: That's what I REALLY look like? Those lines! Those bags! Those bulges! Whaaa happened?!

  2. Oh, thank goodness I don't embarrass my kids. YET.
    I looked like that picture up there in 1995. Weird?

  3. Hi there! Just found you from Theta Mom and loved this post so much because I have a son who would have said the exact same thing! This getting older thing is for the birds! :)

  4. I am soooo there with you. With three daughters it's even harder, because the stuff they wear is sooo cute and so not going to be going on my body.

  5. This was wonderful! I feel just like my mind I'm still cute. In my mind I'm still tiny, and have a cute figure and I flirt and the boys love me. Then the reality of photography reveals that I am no longer that cute young thing from the 80's. I'm an overweight, graying, wrinkly, middle aged housewife and mom to two teenagers.


    I hate cameras.

    Love this post, though!

  6. Oh my am I ever lucky; my husband gets to do the majority of the humilation attire.

    He's big, burly, has multiple tatoos and is always in at least one piece of camo gear. Oh and sleeves? Never met a pair he didn't cut off.

    It's brilliant really, next to him I look like all kinds of put together.

  7. Oh gosh, that dancing thing is so spot on! My husband and I better hit some clubs so that I don't lose my moves. Ha! Like I've ever been to a dance club, even when I was single. I guess I'll have to stick to my Dance Dance Revolution.

  8. My husband and I have decided that when my son goes to school, we want him to be stylish. Not because we're stylish individuals ourselves (which also means I have no embarrassing photos of 80s fashions to speak of). School is hard enough and kids are mean enough without giving him any extra disadvantage. But I suppose that means I have to not embarrass him, as well. At least I have a few years before that starts!

  9. You must be doing sommin right 'cause you look good to me.

  10. "no boot black at home jobs, time for shirts that cover the belly, and belts that prevent diaper butt."

    What does it say about me if I find that attractive?

  11. Love that you call him DDG. Princess Di was amazing and knew what his future held.

    I can only imagine the day when my boys tell me to put the 'dead ladies' clothes away and buy a pair of normal pants. Hmph!

    Can we duet to Lucky Star? I'll wear the lacey arm gloves.

  12. Your hot mamas days aren't over! Are you kidding? But, your son might be right about the 15 year old cowboy boots. ;)

    Also, I think I'll die the day my babies start turning heads. I don't even like to think about it.

  13. I have a blog friend who showed up to school because her son was so embarrassed by her, wearing pants up to her waist, nerdy glasses, an 80's t-shirt, etc. I think it was awesome.

  14. jamie: et tu, brutus? Not the cowboy boots? REALLY??

  15. I loved this. Brought a tear to my eye.


  16. PHEW.

    For a minute there I thought you were going to say that leg warmers were out of style.

    *wipes brow

  17. I love the idea of dance as a time machine (or rather a time marker for when you stopped dating). I'm going to start to watch dance moves at weddings. I'll know who's been married the longest. I'll also know who's going to be single forever. Here's a hint: It's the guy that still does the worm, in his early 40s.

  18. Thank the Good Lord for our kids. They have saved me from myself more times than I could count.

  19. Leave it to the kids to speak the truth. My daughter calls me out frequently on my wardrobe. She refers to it as "plain and boring."

  20. I know nothing about any of this. I am the compass of coolness, pointing my kids towards true fashion north. My neon spandex leggings know no ridicule. The children scour my yearbooks, not for giggles but for fashion tips.

    Shuddup. They totally think I am the arbiter of awesome.


  21. Hilariously true.

    Skip-skip-shoulder lift-shoulder lift.


    And I had just congratulated myself on my 12-year old outfit, today.... ;-)

  22. You know the 80's are making a comeback (fashion wise) so I think you're actually ahead of the curve!
    (I'm ignoring the "my hot mama days are behind me" because that kind of silliness doesn't deserve a response)

  23. In the late 80's I had a fiance who used to routinely ask me, "You're going out like THAT?"

    That was my only indication that I looked good!

  24. and I am cryin. How have we been separated for so long, Crazy Mary?
    I am so flippin' happy to meet you.
    I was thinking about what my Aunt told me, my fashionable, exciting, cool Aunt Rachel- who said in response to Go-Go boots, that "If you've worn it once (as in long ago), you should not wear it again".
    Shit. Does that mean my new Frye boots and cotton smock tops that I just got at H&M are out?
    What, pray tell, shall I wear then?
    And no, I don't wear yoga pants all the time.
    Sincerely, Your New Follower, Suzi

  25. Yeah seriously the 80's ROCKED!!! My madonna gear just fell apart last year, now I can't even wear it around the house.

    I'm going for a Jane Fonda Mommy look with Mrs Edna Garrett genetics.

  26. I want to be hot again. SIGH.

    Yes, that's selfishly where my mind is.

  27. My kids have never said Why are you wearing that, but when I do dress nicely they act really surprised and pretend they don't recognize me. In other words, they've perfected their backhand.

  28. HAHA! Great moment.
    Reminds me of the song 1985 by Bowling For Soup. Youtube it. (;

  29. I don't know what you ladies are talking about. I'm STILL a HOTTIE! A total MILF. Ok, maybe I'm deluded...and I surround myself with Geriatrics at all times to feel youthful...but in my opinion it's totally worth it.

    By the way, Empress...that last sentence of your post today? Picture a single tear tracing its way dramatically down my cheek. LOVE that line.

  30. First, all the years I was teaching, we'd have 80's dress up days at my high school and the students would marvel at my "authentic" outfits.

    "Where did you get it, Mrs. G?"

    " closet."

    Second, everyone says my daughter looks just like me which is a compliment to me, for sure; but I NEVER want to be one the moms I've seen around town who are trying (desperately/ pathetically) to be "hotter" than their daughters. Yuck. And yuckier.

    Third, although I'm not ready for my baby girl to have her turn, I know it is going to happen. And the ending of your post was just perfect.


  31. Oh my goodness, the tears. Why am I crying??? Maybe because I remember being so cool or thinking I was and I llok at my sons and know they just might be cool..might be popular..might be the boys girls flock to, they do now. However I also know that I will always want to look nice for them..loved this post..even the tears it gave me. U r gorgeous u know!!!! ? :)

  32. Oh, I adore this post.

    Except, except, my three year old daughter just told me two days ago that I could wear my shirt, "well, today, but then not anymore." And it was something I bought recently in an attempt to look better :(

  33. NA NA NA NA NA I can't hear you.

    But I'll totally rock the material girl w/ you!

  34. I find my three year old and I are wearing similar clothing everyday expect Sunday. On Sunday he says I dress like a princess.

  35. Ditto what Yuliya said - you are HOT! But yes, all eyes should be on our DDG progeny and not us. Until you walk into the Apple Store or the Macy's Mens Dept....and then they're on YOU.

    ps - I loved this post, so funny "retain the status quo"

  36. My kids think anytime I put on anything remotely dressy (not jeans or yoga pants) that I look like a princess. I love this age.

  37. I can relate to that-- Only it's me embarrassed by what I'm pulling together to hit the mall in. Sheesh.

    But I bet those cowboy boots are fabulous ;-)

    Great story. jj

  38. hehe...dont let them get you down the material

  39. I rocked that look in the 80's, too. And I still have one extra hole in just one earlobe to prove it.

    My favorite line? "Yes, DDG*, your turn, baby. Your turn."


    It's not ok to still dress like the Material Girl?

    That's alright. I still have my Jones New York power suit in my closet. Shoulder pads and all. I can't zip the skirt all the way up, but thankfully the jacket covers long as I don't lift my arms above my waist...

  41. I don't think I can forgive you for making me remember that damn song.

  42. I'm sooooo right there with you, only I was plucked before the eighties. Now it's the grandkids that think I'm a moldy oldie.

  43. There's a very real part of me that will always long for the vintage material girl.

  44. You went to college in the 80s???


    (me too)

  45. So true about the dance. Gimme a little MC Hammer and I'll give you a lot of "U can't touch this."

  46. I am still in the zone where I get to pretend to be cool and all-knowing...I know I am living on borrowed time though... Love the post!

  47. THIS was an EXCELLENT post, my dear. Reminded me of the time I lost a Madonna look-alike contest, despite my 38 black rubber bracelets (17 each arm) and my grandmother's black busier, zip up the front, whale-boned slip and antique patent stilettos with a little white button adornment. The winner? A frat boy with his homies. They were homies back then, not peeps. TWTD--those were the days.

  48. I, too, subscribe to the Cesar Milan style of parenting.

    I love that you wore matte red lipstick. From every photo I've seen, you're gonna be running smooth even when you get high-mileage.

  49. What a fun post. The other day, one of my friends referred to my grey hairs as my "highlights." I loved hearing that. Everything can be called something else, after all.

  50. I think we might have been twins in college. Minus the red lipstick. My pasty skin tone has never been able to carry that off. I will still, on occasion, refer to my iPod as my Walkman out of habit. I'm ancient over here.

  51. Imagine my disdain when trick-or-treaters came to my door wearing costumes that looked exactly like the outfits I wore to school my senior year of high school!

    AND I just gave up on the 80's hair about six years ago!

  52. So happy so many of you liked this post.

    It was a heart wrenching moment.

    To always being what you recall as fashionable, and then bam: the mirror that says, no more, lady.

    It was fun to write, even though it did cause a sigh or two to rise out of me.

    My reign is gone, and it's passed on to DDG.

    Thanks for your fun comments, and the shared tears, too.

    Why I love blogging.

  53. Oh so true! When I shrugged into the coat with the hood strings my daughter used to chew on when she was an infant (and she's looking at 18 this year) I realized my wardrobe has frozen in time. Last week I gave her some bare-bones truths about something that happened when I was in college and I could almost see her thinking, "No Way!" When she said: "Mom, things are different now" I understood that she will never "get" that I was anything other than what I am now...her middle-aged mom.

  54. OMG to the DDG to the....this was hilarious...well not for you...but for me. My kid is too young yet to tell me that my backbrace cannot be used as an uber chick belt or that my slip on sneakers aren't made to grace the halls of H& illjust pretend to be a rockstar while I can ;)

  55. Sooner or later we have to give it up don't we? Those stores make me feel so old, especially since I can barely stand the perfume/cologne bath and the loud music.

  56. We looked very similar, I think, in the 80s. Except I always had a cigarette and diet coke instead of a Walkman.

    I think the saddest day of my adult life was when I finally decided to get my hair colored professionally and realized that it had to look . . . professional. I couldn't get insane purple stripes or even dye it all bright red. It had to look "normal", which killed me a little.

  57. Pfft. I just left a brilliant comment, but it said it didn't go through!

    The jist is that I think your cowboy boots were probably really rockin' and your DDG boy just seized up as teenagers will do re: their parents.

    I say rock 'em.

  58. :::sigh::: I know how you feel... I've only recently realized how old I really am. It's downright scary.
    I must say that I like to embarrass my kids, I think it's a god given right! I also don't like going to the mall looking like an idiot so I try to dress a little nicer!

  59. I am SO late to this post, Empress, know I get it. I'm there with you, sister, in every aspect. And yes, it's their time now...but still!

    I would be Thelma and Louise with you, but I'm not sure who will watch the kids. Maybe in a few years?

    I loved this...

  60. I.Love.Madonna. Still.
    And I shudder to think of the day when my kids are embarrassed by me. I know it's coming, but...I prefer to remain in denial for now.

    as for DDG, LOVE IT. I don't remember that, but am going to have to use it now.

    Really enjoyed your post over at Jennie's place today, too!

  61. so far the eldest doesn't care what I look like when we hit the stores... of course, he's the one wearing fingerless gloves in our 70 degree weather, hmmm... maybe I need an intervention after all :)

  62. Oy. I know it's only moments until my kids are ashamed of me. Thanks for making me absolutely sure of that, Empress.

  63. Ugh, making me feel real old :(. But, this was hysterical. I think I need to go put on some Madonna now. :)

  64. Sometimes I get a glimpse of myself in a plate glass window or a mirror at the mall and think to myself "Who IS that old, fat lady?" And I don't mean that I look at myself and get all critical. I mean that I've seen myself and LITERALLY not recognized the image as my own. *sigh*

    At least I'm happy and stylish in my head.

  65. Ms Wasteland: you crack me up.

  66. I didn't know Di called him DDG... was she looking at the same dude I was?

  67. I love the idea of a particular dance being ine's frozen moment in time.
    What if it's your husband that says, "You're not going to go like THAT are you?"
    Alas, the hot mama days ended soon for me. My son isn't even three yet!

  68. You are so right. Because Horrors! My kids got me doing the safety dance on tape.

  69. Oh, this is hilarious! And also scary. I know my day will come too... but I must confess I'm glad I've still got a good decade or more to enjoy before it does. :) For now, I'm still leading the fashion trends in this household! :)

  70. This reminds me of the first time someone called me "ma'am"



Related Posts with Thumbnails