Tuesday, July 07, 2009

the 80s: hair standing on end

I had this friend named Eric Landis. He was a little older than me. I think he was a freshman in high school when I was just starting junior high. I got to know him because his mom was friends with my mom and we were both latch-key kids. He lived in an apartment a couple of blocks away.

I'm not sure who got it first, me or him, but we had this book about new wave. I don't know if it's still in print, but it looked almost exactly like this. It was our guidebook to an exotic world of nonconformity teeming beyond the outskirts of Elkhart, Indiana.

All this exciting new music was in that book. Adam and the Ants. The Romantics. Souixsie Souix and the Banshees. Elvis Costello. Eurithmics.

It was also a sort of fashion book. No bell bottoms here. Just peg-leg jeans, skinny ties and bright colored blazers. And a lot of the guys in the pictures had short hair. So short it stood up. I wanted hair like that.

We figured you couldn't just go to any old barber shop to get a cut like that. This style was way ahead of Elkhart. Just like the music. You couldn't find Depeche Mode at the record store at the mall.

Eric heard that one of the barbers at a little shop in Bacon Hill could do them. Actually, it was a salon. You needed an appointment, and they didn't give you Bazooka gum when you were done. No spinning striped pole. It cost seven bucks. Seven bucks!

So I got one. It was really just a sort of mullet prototype, a little longer in the back. Eric got one, too. But his hair was kind of curly, so it didn't stick up so good.

When the lady finished up and brushed the last bits of hair from my collar, I looked in the mirror and saw someone truly radical. When the school day rolled around again I was really gonna stand out.

I was gonna transcend this backward little Midwestern town.

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