Whenever my son comes home on break from college, I usually take him to the allergist to get a shot. There is nothing typically unique or noticeable about either the office or the experience. But this week when we entered the waiting room, I had the realization that I had travelled back in time.
I had no doubt that I had arrived back in the 80s. It wasn't the music or the decor. It was … the hair.
On one of the chairs was a middle-aged man with the most impressive mullet I had seen in 30 years. If you blocked out the memory of this hairdo, it is extremely short in the front and sides and long in the back (business in the front, party in the back). Most people credit Billy Ray Cyrus with starting this style, although the real champion of this look was probably Carol Brady.
Next to him was a woman with extremely short hair and a long, thin braid of hair extending from the bottom of one side of her head like a Jedi knight. This blip in hair history was called a tail, or more accurately a rattail, because of the part of the body of the rat that it resembled.
Next to her was a large bald man … bald, that is, save for the horseshoe of hair way at the back of his head that was pulled into a long straggly ponytail, also known as a man pony. Beside him was a woman with the biggest helmet of hair frozen in place by no less than two cans of Aqua Net that had been seen on anyone since Melanie Griffith in "The Working Girl."
I looked back at the elevator to see if there was any indication that it was some kind of time portal, like Doc Brown's DeLorean.
I turned to my son. "The 80s are back and they're pissed!"
Having lived through the 80s, I had painstakingly destroyed all evidence of my own hair-do don'ts. But this was my son's first real life exposure to the hair crimes of that era. Although he had seen pictures and videos, he had never come face to face with real hair history like this before. I could tell he was simultaneously fascinated and horrified.
"WOW!" he whispered to me. "Is that what people looked like when you were young?"
"Yes, young Padawan," I replied. "It was a dark time for my kind." I nodded to the woman with the helmet hair. "Her people are responsible for the hole in the ozone today." I pointed to the woman with the tail. "Many innocent rats gave their lives for that hairstyle." I gestured to the man with the mullet. "His hair is the reason we have reality shows on TV today."
We both wondered what strange forces had conspired to bring so many hair disasters together in one place. Was it a break in the hair-space continuum? A black hole in the universe that allowed no light but did allow bad 80s hair? Perhaps they were all headed to a Wham! reunion concert after their allergy shots?
As we stared in awe at the lineup, the elevator door opened and a woman walked out with a perfect, quintessential 80s side ponytail.
My son turned to me with raised eyebrows.
"What do you call that?" he asked.
I shook my head. "Frightening."
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