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Friday, March 27, 2009

The Comb Over

I was a teenager in the eighties. Not a decade that I would recommend going through that awkward stage of life. Big shoulder pads ala Linda Evans on Dynasty, jelly shoes, Duran Duran haircuts, black rubber bracelet by the dozens, acid wash jeans. Well, I suppose all were very fine and good on their own, but when you're thirteen and you decide to combine all of these looks. Um. That's bring the photographic evidence out for the surprise fortieth birthday party good.

One of the fads that I never quite got the hang of was the Jordache jeans with the fat handled comb in the pocket. This may have been a trend that bled over from the seventies into the eighties. No matter what the date of it's relativeness, it's still a source of deep and conflicted shame for me. (Not really, but teen angst is so exquisite and hysterical in it's pain, I just can't come up with the words well enough to describe it. Not without waxing on too much or laughing a bit anyway.)

You all know I come from a long line of frugal fanatics. As kids, we always had everything that we needed, but not everything that we wanted (a pretty good balance that makes for good kid rearing if I do say so). The Comb Debacle, as I like to think of it now, is a great example of need vs. want. I wanted the big fat comb that would fit in the back pocket of my deliciously embroidered pocket of my almost close, but not quite Jordache wanna be jeans. I discussed the requirement of this fat comb with great detail with my mom while she cooked dinner. We talked about it in the car on the way to some miscellaneous school activity. For good measure, I talked about it again before bed. On first awakening, I mentioned, yet again, the importance and relevance of a fat handled comb peeking out from one's right cheek pocket. (For some reason, it had to be the right side. I'm a rightie. This worked for me.)

Mom listened intently. Or, as I now know as a mom, she appeared to be listening while nodding, smiling, and agreeing, all the while most likely thinking about how many eggs are left in the fridge and whether the washing machine would make it through just one more year.

She made a trip to the drugstore that day. We lived in a small town, pickings were slim. You had either the Ben Franklin ("Dime Store") or Woll's Pharmacy. When I got home from school, I rushed into the house, eager to see my new. fat. handled. just like the cool kids had. comb.

I'm such a good daughter. I know that now. I know that what took place that evening was an Oscar worthy performance. For mom, in her thriftiness had purchased the cheaper, multi-pack of combs. In it, was a wide variety of combs in many colors. One even was marbled with purple and blue. There was a small fat handled comb, that most certainly would not peek beguilingly out of my right back pocket, but would merely create the outline of a short, fat handled comb in my pocket. Not. Quite. Right.

I smiled. I said a quiet thank you, holding back tears. I knew, money was tight. I couldn't complain, and I most certainly couldn't demand that the combs be returned in exchange for just one comb that would cost more than this entire package. We could use these combs, and, after all, mom had brought home a fat handled comb, right?

And then I saw it. The pink, rat tail comb. Do you know what a rat tail comb is? It's a regular, close toothed comb, with a long, sharp, pointed handle capable of parting hair within an inch of it's life, or poking your eye out.

A light bulb moment long before Oprah coined the phrase: I would start a new trend. I would be the girl with her own individual style. I would put the rat tail comb in my right back pocket and legions of teens would begin to follow ME. There would be a rush on rat tail combs and I'd manufacture my own sparkly brand. I would have a featured article in Seventeen Magazine. Maybe I would even meet Michael Jackson and he would fall madly in love with me and we'd live together on Neverland Ranch and sing Thriller together with our matching white, sequined gloves.

(Insert dream sequence blurry lines here...)

You see where this is going, don't you? Do I really have to talk about sitting down in my first class with Mr. Erhart? That first sit after carefully placing my new trend setting comb in my right back pocket? The one where the rat tail scraped a six inch gash up my back and being too cool for school, I suffered quietly through.

Thankfully, the comb fad faded. I moved on to black fingernail polish on nine inch nails, fluorescent dangly earrings, and leg warmers. I still hold on to the defense that I was a fashion victim when the photos surface.

Funny side story, when I helped my parents move out of their five bedroom farmhouse, I found that pink rat tail comb. I almost kept it.

1 comment:

  1. I was waiting patiencly for the pictures...

    I was not a victim of the comb, but jelly shoes that tore holes in your feet. And the multi colored jelly braclets all the way up the arm, all of a sudden , I'm singing "Like a Virgin" and "Lucky Star".

    My oldest son is one of the few kids that doesn't wear Aeropostle or Hollister, sorry 13 year olds and 50 dollar shirts don't make for good friends. We find look a likes at Target or Kohl's. He knows and UNDERSTANDS that when we NEED something we NEED it and when we WANT it we WANT it.

    And this momma isn't needing or wanting 50 dollar tee shirts :)

    I started working on a post yesterday, kind of similar to this one. HMMM have we found out if we were realated or not :)


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