Romance in the Time of Teddy Ruxpin
Put down your smart phones and gather around, children. Let me tell you of a time long ago called “the 1980s.” It was a primitive time of music stored on magnetic tapes and mysterious health dances called jazzercise performed by a people called “jazzercisers.” Our wars were cold and our cubes rubik’d.
Pay attention, child, this is how your mother and I met! I worked at a used record store selling grooved disks that played sounds when a needle was dragged around them at a regular pace. Your mother walked in with all the attitude of Jo in the first season of “Facts of Life.” Before I saw her, I considered myself more a Blaire kind of guy who could only get Natalies, but she changed all that.
Her shoulders were sexily square, padded more than yours are today when you ride your bicycles. By the way, in this time of the 1980s, you were considered a loser if you wore a bike helmet. Sure, a few of us died, but we had what you lot lack. Dignity. But, I digress, back to her shoulders. They were so square you could have used them as a table for your New Coke. She brushed past me and I checked my chest for shoulder scars. There were none, but a mark had been made.
I wanted to ask her out for a date, but I had no cash and it was after 4:30 so my bank was closed. I would have to wait until 9 the next morning to access my money. I approached her to ask if she needed help with the Duran Duran albums she was looking at when I caught a whiff of Calvin Klein’s Obsession. Suddenly, it was as if she left and everything golden went with her. Was it me, did I somehow drive her away?
But, she was still there, her Bette Davis eyes peering out from under her short, frosted, unisex haircut made my head buzz as if it had ingested Pop Rocks and soda after filming a cereal commercial. She had a copy of Stephen King’s Firestarter in her hand, so I struck up a conversation about how nice it was to have a clean cut child star like Drew Barrymore around to inspire the kids.
I thought I would give her my phone number, but I wasn’t home very often and if I wasn’t at home when she called, there was no way for me to know. I should have gone to Radio Shack and purchased one of those expensive answering machines, but I wasn’t into any of the high-tech gadgets of the day.
She invited me back to her place to watch “Mr. Belvedere” and order a pizza. “They can never find my place,” she said (This was before Google Maps), “and after 30 minutes it’s free.” She reached up to touch my hair, but didn’t linger. The L’oreal mousse I used kept my hair in a helmet-like mass plastered to my head. Irresistible to look at, but difficult to touch.
Could you please stop texting? The story is almost over and you can get back to your twittering and un-friending ways. In the 1980s, if you wanted to un-friend someone all you had to do was change your phone number and drink at a different bar.
After “Mr. Belvedere,” we watched music videos on MTV. One Madonna video, I think it was “Like a Virgin” was so incredibly erotic, we had unprotected sex, as was the style of the time.
For me, it was morning in America. I asked her to become my wife a month later. She told me I would need her father’s approval. Her parents lived a few states over, so she wrote them a letter to tell them how much in love we were. The next several weeks were torture as we waited for their reply.
(Yes, yes, we had long distance phone calls, but they were so expensive! AT&T was a monopoly in those days and they charged an arm and a leg. We weren’t made of money. I was making minimum wage: $3.35 an hour.)
OK, OK, I’ll end it! Long story short, they said yes. We said, cool beans. And we lived happily ever after.
That is until grunge music was invented, but that’s a story for another day.