5 Ways Teenage Romance was Better in the 80’s & 90’s

Teenage romance…there’s nothing like it. It is the stuff dreams are made of and romance in the 80’s and 90’s was nothing if not dreamy.

{Disclaimer: my romantic experiences were pretty limited growing up, but my dreams were big. I mostly longed for my objects of affection from afar, waited for my life to unfold like a John Hughes movie (it never did) and dabbled in a little dating, once my braces came off and I calmed my high hair down a little.}

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Me on my corded phone rockin’ the Guess T-shirt.

This list was born as I drove in the car with my teenage daughters and their friends. I could not believe these things were not a part of their growing up years and yes, I felt a little pity in their direction. Sure, they can text and Facetime, which makes some things easier.  They can admire from afar on Snapchat and Instagram, which teenage me would have loved. But, I think these things have actually ruined the teen scene just a little. Everyone seems so available, yet the whole thing is also a little more impersonal. The kids today are simply missing out.

These 5 things would seriously rock the worlds of the teenage crowd if they were to make a comeback

  1. Couples skating. What could be better than skating in circles in the semi-darkness with the object of your affection to an awesome 80’s ballad? Actually, the Jets “Crush on You” was my preferred couples song of choice. Hand in hand you would go round and round, little to no conversation needed as a gentle breeze wafted your feathered hair back away from your face. It was simply the best. I was a bit awkward during my growing up years, so my couples skates were few and far between. I always longed to be one of those couples that were so TOGETHER that one skated forward and the other backward, arms around each other. But, sigh, that was never me. I was more likely to be found, head propped up on my fists as I leaned my elbows on the guard rail and watched the action from afar, sipping my Slushie, worrying about the popcorn stuck in my braces.
  2. School dances: Many of the perks of couples skating, but none of the going in circles. The lack of dancing in today’s schools is shocking. In our day we had dances for everything. There was nothing like hitting the gym on a Friday night with your girl friends and casing out the scene from the bleachers 16 Candles style. Hoping that your crush was crossing the room to ask you to “slow dance”. Hiding in the bathroom crying with your friends when he was actually crossing to ask that mean girl from English. Oh the drama, the fun, the romance!
  3. Note passing. So much cooler than texting because we could actually keep these forever (and I did keep some). Folded into the shape of a little triangle and passed between classes, these little bits of love could make your heart skip a beat. It was much easier to keep these under the radar of teachers and you knew exactly who they were coming from. Sometimes they even had little questions to answer or boxes to check and you had to hand the note back after your class. Your hands would touch TWICE. And let’s face it, actual handwritten words beat a text or email any day of the week.
  4. Dedications on the radio. Because Tuesday night people….what could make it better? We would sit around the radio talking on our corded phones listening, hoping to hear our names. Sometimes even getting up enough nerve to call in and make a dedication of our own (after first calling each and every friend asking, “should I?”). And the scandals that arose! Someone dedicated a song to someone else’s boyfriend! There are 10 Amy’s in our class…which Amy did they mean?!?! He dedicated “Don’t Dream it’s Over” to her…guess they aren’t getting back together.  And oh the long list of names read off before the song “With or Without You” and “In Your Eyes”. So. Much. Fun.
  5. Mix tapes. Because this era was really all about the music, the mix tape was king. I remember driving around non-stop in my Buick Estate Station Wagon, with my BFF. We would listen over and over to a mix tape my out of town boyfriend at the time had made me. We swooned over the songs…so much Chicago must mean true love. Alas, it did not. Making these tapes was somewhat of a challenge because some songs had to be recorded off of the radio, which meant sometimes you got a little less song and a little more DJ. But you knew that your guy had real dedication to you, these things took hours. The real king of the mix tape is my husband. He was and is the master of the bringing it up a notch with the best boppy song, only to get you in the feels with the perfect ballad. After getting the first mix tape from him I knew he was THE ONE. (OK, I was pretty sure of this as soon as he checked my ID at the night host stand, but that tape helped confirmed it). I am one lucky girl, because he still makes them for me. I’m hoping my girls will know their true love because he sends them the perfect iTunes playlist.

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We may have been cursed with super high hair and questionable fashion choices, but in so many ways we had it made. Maybe if we share this list enough we can help these things catch on again? Make a YouTube tutorial for our kids on creating a perfect mix tape? Buy all our teens roller skates and roll them into the rink? (And then make that DJ play some couples songs for the love.) Petition the high school to add a few more dances? Alas, I might have to accept that the best days are behind us. Until my own daughter someday writes about why Snapchat and Instagram made dating great when she has her own kids and cannot believe that they think dating by hologram is so amazing. Perhaps each generation has something that makes it special, simply because it was theirs.

**Thanks to my friends pictured above & below (Christi, Amy, Angie, Catherine, Erin, Jenny, Jessica, Katie, Kristen, Mary, Maureen, Melissa and Rebecca) that shared their 90’s beauty with us! #rockingthehairsprayladies

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