Wednesday, June 01, 2005

...Non-Rose Tinted Glasses

Some movies are timeless classics, eminently viewable by just about anyone at anytime. Others tend to get more dated, meaningful only to a select group of people who happened to be of an impressionable age at the time the film was made. To people like me, whose formative years were primarily the 1980s, no films quite define our generation like “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club”. Yet I’m sure those people who were born either 10 years before or 10 years after me see nothing particularly special about either of these movies since they are so inherently 80s, and thus probably difficult to relate to if you weren’t a teenager during that time.

Memories can be like that too. When the recent “Did she or didn’t she” scandal regarding Paula Abdul maybe or maybe not schtooping a former “American Idol” contestant made headlines, I was reminded of a classic 80s memory that occurred at the height of Abdul’s career as a pop star.

I can even narrow down the date to sometime between October 7th and November 6th, 1989, the time period in which my buddy Gordo turned 16, received his drivers license and first car, but before I did the same.

After school one Friday afternoon Gordo and I celebrated our long awaited freedom from begging our parents for rides by taking his shiny new Honda Accord on a cruise to downtown Walnut Creek. Passing by a bus stop, we were flagged down by two very sexy girls, about our age, who asked if we could give them a ride home.

Now, just being in the same vehicle with two girls this attractive was sort of a gift in itself. Icing on the cake was arriving at the requested destination and being asked if we’d like to come inside.

This is where the quintessentially 80s memories come in. Prior to 1989 I had never heard the term “Straight Up” uttered in conversation, and come to think of it, I haven’t heard it much since. But in 1989, when Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” (Straight up now tell me do you really want to love me forever/Or am I caught in a hit and run/Straight up now tell me/Is it gonna be you and me together/Are you just having fun) spent several weeks at #1, the term became all the rage for a time. As much as I anxiously awaited the get naked and have sex part of the afternoon that clearly appeared to be on the agenda, I couldn’t help but get annoyed at the hotter of the two girls tendency to respond to just about every piece of conversation with, “Straight UP!”. As in:

“I hate getting homework over the weekend”.
“Straight UP!”

“I think it’s stupid that you have to be 21 to buy alcohol”
“Straight UP!”

Irritating for sure, but a small price to pay for what was sure to happen next. And this wasn’t just overly optimistic wishful thinking on our part either; they really did seem to be interested. They kept modeling different (and progressively skimpier) outfits for us to help them decide on one to wear to the carnival that was going to be taking place at their school that night, at one point not even bothering to go into the bedroom when changing tops, just letting us see them right there in their underthings. What would *YOU* have thought was about to happen?

Which is why is was so incredibly disappointing when the same “Straight UP!” hotter girl said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m going to have to ask you guys to leave. My mom is going to be home soon”.

They sort of semi-invited us to the aforementioned carnival, letting us know where it was and what time it started but not actually giving us any exact indication of when or where to meet them specifically. We did go, searched high and lo, but never did run into them again.

This was the first, but most definitely not last time in my life where what I thought was an absolute Sure Thing (another very underrated 80s movie, by the way) turned out to be a total dud.

Like the time my junior year of college when Angela, a girl with long, flowing blond hair and a stunningly beautiful face, who just on looks alone always seemed so far out of my league that I never even bothered pursuing her, informed me after a party that her roommate was out of town for the weekend and asked me back to her dorm room to spend the night. Little did I know her invitation to sleep with her was meant to be taken literally. Easy for her. Not as easy with a loaded stick of dynamite in your pants.

Or the time just a few weeks after I first moved down to Southern California and went out with a group of friends from work to spend the day in Long Beach. One of my co-workers brought along a friend of hers, Sally, who I bummed a cigarette off of after a few hours of heavy drinking. This quickly progressed into a conversation about her undying love of and passion for anal sex, a long makeout session, and a request that I stay behind with her after the friends who I drove in with were ready to take off back to Orange County.

I’ve always been the kind of sports fan who prefers it when my team is winning by a lopsided score, something like 17-1, as opposed to a close game where the outcome is uncertain. I'm not one for stress. Which is why this situation was so much to my liking. Not even a month in SoCal and I already had a guaranteed hook-up. Except for the part where the woman in question, on the walk back to her apartment, decided we should stop in at one more bar first. Where she met a guy she apparently determined to be more to her liking. Want to know what it costs to take a cab from Long Beach to Laguna Beach? $75.

I guess you could call this a quintessential mid-90s memory as this was one of my last trips to the bars before California enacted a strict non-smoking ban, making it infinitely harder to pick out the sleazier girls. But I prefer just to remember it as a quintessentially fucked up one.
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