Thursday, March 30, 2017

T-tops and Zima

A few weeks ago, I was flipping channels, really just looking for something to leave on as background noise for the little blind boss dog, when I came across a series called The 90s: The Last Great Decade? on National Geographic, of all channels. I've seen it before, but even so, I had to stop, mesmerized. Rob Lowe was narrating clips of Vanilla Ice, Kurt Cobain, Roseanne Barr, Tupac and Biggie, and chairs and fists flying on the Jerry Springer Show. The next episode promised to cover Princess Diana, the dot com bubble, the Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco affair, Anna Nicole Smith, and the X-Files.

Then, last week, Nancy Kerrigan and Mr. T made their debut on the new season of Dancing with the Stars. Nancy was graceful as ever in her ballroom routine as we all would expect, but y'all: Mr. T came out of the back of a black van and did the cha cha to the A-Team theme song (yes, this is technically from the 80s, but we all know Mr T. goes beyond the constraints of time and place because he is a classic). His dancing wasn't great, but the entertainment factor was fabulous. I'm going to be self indulgent and just say it: I pity the fool that didn't watch. This week, former Chicago Cubs player David Ross thrilled the crowd dancing to Young MC's "Bust a Move." Oh yes, the 90s are back and I love them more than ever. And why not?

That glorious decade gave us the Budweiser frogs, the Spice Girls, the Macarena, and Wendy, the Snapple lady. There was Crystal Pepsi, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, and Hammer pants that were too legit to quit. Beanie Babies and Furbees were all the rage, Marky Mark took a break from the Funky Bunch to model underwear for Calvin Klein, and Blockbuster wanted you to be a kinder, gentler video renter, urging us to "Be kind, rewind!" Seinfeld had us watching a show about nothing, the O.J. Simpson trial had us watching every second of courtroom drama we could find, and doomsday preppers were building underground bunkers to survive the inevitable fallout of Y2K. If you don't believe those were simpler times, take a look at Zack Morris's cell phone:

Saved by the (Alexander Graham) Bell

It was a time when I did my best to imitate "the Rachel" haircut, several of my friends had pagers, and my first car was a black 1990 Firebird with t-tops. My second car, later in the decade, was a black 1995 Firebird with t-tops. I know a good thing when I see it. Arsenio Hall was whooping it up late night (with Bill Clinton on the saxophone no less), and the Life Alert commercial had everyone joking, "I've fallen and I can't get up!"

Take out those t-tops and let's go for a ride.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Melissa told me several of her coworkers were participating in a 90s themed bar crawl. The problem? They were so young, they didn't know what people wore in the 90s. I might suggest a baby doll dress (perhaps with bike shorts underneath?), Doc Martens, anything crushed velvet, a plaid flannel shirt, a mini backpack, or a scrunchy? Butterfly clips, a stylish pair of overalls, or maybe a sweater vest would fit the bill quite fabulously, too. How about some spandex bootcut black pants, and a Steve Madden platform sandal?

You could never sneak up on anyone wearing these babies. Admit it, you wore them.

It's no wonder the TV show was so popular. The fashion was so on point.

Let's get personal: there's a lot of 1996 high fashion happening
in this picture of me and my college dorm friends. 

And again in this picture, taken before a sorority fall party.
It was outdoor and involved a hayride, so we were dressed for the occasion.

Ah, those were the days. And honestly, I still think of the 1990s like it was a few years ago, not nearly two decades ago. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one nostalgic, and I hope I catch the other episodes of the 90s documentary on National Geographic. Until then, maybe I'll drop a Jolly Rancher into my Zima, microwave some Bagel Bites, and watch a movie--Titanic, or Forrest Gump perchance? This time, I won't even have to worry about rewinding the cassette tape.

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