Saturday, March 4, 2017

What was it like being a teen in the 80s?

I can only speak for the second half of the decade: It was all about the phone still, but the problem was, your whole family shared the phone. It was a land line. If a boy called my house, my whole family would know about it. If you wanted to talk to your friends, you would call their family land line, their mom would answer, and you would have to say “Is Jenny there?” and speak with her mother or brother or father before getting her on the phone. That was hard for parties, because you had to call people to find out where they were. There was no texting, no GPS to find the party, no way to tell each other if the cops had shown up to the party, no way to get any message to anyone, unless you pulled your car over and used a pay phone. The parties were still crazy and epic, but they happened due to word of mouth most of the time.
As far as music, it was a big part of everyone’s life. We all had our record collections (which then became cassette tape collections, and then in the 90′s became CD collections.) A lot of us didn’t have the money to buy a record, so we had to get a tape recorder, and record songs off the radio (this is where almost all of my music came from.)
When you liked someone and wanted to date/go out with them, you had to get your friend to go talk to their friend (or them.) You couldn’t direct message or text anyone. A lot of times people wrote physical notes on pieces of paper, but that was risky. There was a lot more talking in person.
Teenagers snuck out of the house, smoked, some did drugs or dealt drugs ,hooked up, had eating disorders, were suicidal, were moody, same kind of things as today. There were a lot of subcultures and kids dressed according to what music they liked sometimes (Punk, Heavy Metal, Glam Rock, Skaters, New Wave) and other times they just dressed in the fashion of the day (Preppy). We were all into “Videos” on MTV— they were really outlandish and over the top and we got a lot of our fashion choices from them.
There were TONS of bullies at all of my schools, and they were never stopped by teachers. Kids would get beat up, harassed, thrown into trash cans, given “wedgies” and all kinds of other violent things. Adults saw it as “kids being kids.” If you were gay, you couldn’t come out and say it (unless you were in a group like mine, the “bad kids”). People called each other r*tarded, used the word f*g constantly. Kids were very, very cruel and it was hell when you were picked on. You had to deal with it, or fight the person. In the very early 80s, when I was six or seven, the school principals were allowed to “swat” the kids with a big paddle (on the butt) when they were rude to the teachers or didn’t listen. They actually could legally hit us in the public school system (California, USA.)
And speaking of discipline, parents “spanked” us with a) their hand, b) a wooden spoon or c) a belt (this is what my parents used.) If you didn’t eat your vegetables. or you talked back to your parents, it was completely normal for them to whip the ever-living tar out of you, even at a very young age. This usually stopped when we were old enough to fight them back=)

Until Next Time!