[ASOS dress + J.Crew hat + Pelle Moda heels + Banana jacket + Dannijo purse + Seventh Door AJ Morgan sunnies + F21 bracelets.]
They’re worth mentioning, because there are an ample amount of things I did hate. I mostly try to only hold tight to the positive red flags—red flags being a memory/feeling that cycles back on a regular basis. Rob knows these as my “things I haven’t said out loud, ever” and I try to say them out loud as often as possible.
Say, every time someone mentions Charlottesville, VA, I immediately think of a hanging glass prism in my mom’s office in Richmond. I’d gotten poison sumac on my eye by the lake at the farm over the weekend and left school in agony, only to sleep on the floor of her office all afternoon and stare up at that prism through my one good eye. Red flag.
So I told that story to Rob once and it felt so good to just acknowledge it after kicking it around for 20 years. The 90s were formative, so I inadvertently think of them often: silk cord necklaces, the first CD stores, how my mom would slip me a little glass of sherry before cotillion to calm my nerves, Mazzy Star, Tevas, shitty rumors, my incredible group of totally unique, off-beat girlfriends at St. C, my first CD player (and CD, The Chronic), and kind of ugly floral dresses like this from the mall.
There’s another red flag that shoots up almost daily, though. It’s more of an injustice than a memory, if you ask me. When I shave my legs, I always think of a horrifying day at the pool when I was sitting around a table with a few girls and boys. My friend, graced with downy, almost white-blond body hair, looked at the back of my thigh, as my knees were drawn up to my chest, and exclaimed for the table to hear, “Oh my GOD, you SHAVE YOUR BUTT?”
Ah, the tender, initial attempts at cruelty. I always wonder how long she’d been saving that one up. And sadly, I had no comeback, other than, “Um, no?” I’ve never delivered a zinger like that before, so I toy around with it in my head while letting the hot water run out.
While you can’t have the good without the bad, I’m talking about things I didn’t hate; let’s back up.
There’s probably a very obvious reason why my favorite person to hang out with growing up in the 90s was a little boy 3 years younger than me. I always assumed it was the mutual sense of adventure, of curiosity and humor, pyromania, and a shared ability for impromtu songwriting:
On a Bahamian bonefishing guide:
Bonefish Joe was a merry old soul, and a merry old soul was he / He polled and trolled all over the flats, ’till he got pinched by a little crab.
On a stray cat we found and named Meat:
Meat, Meat / Where have you gone? / Your eyes are crusty and your nipples are long.
But I get now that he was friendship without the bullshit, and the 90s were all about bullshit. I have volumes of diaries to prove it. He didn’t comprehend girlish cruelty or bad clothes; what you see was what you got. With him, I basked in the better parts of the 90s: Beavis & Butthead; Block Island, pre-tourist invasion; Harbor Island, pre-tourist invasion; The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Counting Crows, and U2; Mickey Mousecapades, new wave Kadima paddles; life, pre-Facebook; and, graphic t-shirts bought at souvenir shops and worn like badges of honor.
I look at these pictures and can easily substitute a 13-year old for the 30-year-old. It’s pretty bizarre. Even Rob’s watch mimics my trusty Ironman watch.
I’m cool with the 80s coming back; I can tolerate that to a degree. But the 90s coming back—in colored jeans and really heinous monokinis—has been making me lose my religion.
I’m sure Urban Outfitters would have refrained from issuing such a heindoggled catalogue yesterday if they knew it was going to remind me of the time pissed my pants outside Mrs. White’s classroom. Other than that, carry on ye purveyors of fruit-shaped earrings. LLT 90s.
p.s. total bonus shot: me age 12? on a summer bike trip around the Cape and islands. Please note the necklace.