If they ever perfect time travel I hope I never meet myself in 1981.
In fact, if they ever perfect time travel I’m pretty sure I don’t want to meet myself at any time before my 30th birthday. Let’s just say that my 20s were a very ditzy time for me. I didn’t go to college: I worked a lot of low-level retail jobs and saved my money and hitch hiked around France and tried on a bunch of personas that were embarrassing mis-fits.
I still remember a dress I spent way too much money on — almost a whole week’s paycheck — and only wore once because it turned out that I was not the kind of girl who could wear a rainbow-colored embroidered gypsy-gauzy dress with a handkerchief hem after all. In other words, when it came to frocks, I was not Stevie Nicks.
But by my 30th birthday in 1986 I was coming to grips with my authentic self:
1. I am not a night person. If you want to go out dancing at 11 freaking o’clock, count me out.
2. Spontaneity is over-rated. Give me at least an hour’s warning and DON”T SURPRISE ME.
3. Escargot: Never Again.
4. I like the Doobie Brothers and Mister Mister. Punk rock and jazz are just plain creepy. So sue me.
5. Life is too short to date actors, have a complicated hair do, worry about my weight every time I eat dessert, or read any more books by John Updike.
I liked being 30, and old enough to know my own mind for once. By association, then, I also liked the 1980s. No, that’s not exactly right: I loved the ’80s. Especially 1986. Ah, that was a good year.
And now there’s a movie that takes us back to that golden age of 1986: Hot Tub Time Machine.
As soon as I saw the ads for this movie I knew it was my kind of film, and I convinced Top Cat to take me to see it in its opening week. Hot Tub Time Machine is stupid and a little gross and has John Cusak in it and has one of the best movie titles ever: I, for one, do not want to live in a world in which all that is not a recipe for a sure-fire 100% guaranteed five-star cinematic experience.
But now that I’ve seen Hot Tub Time Machine (and it lived up to all my expectations) I can’t stop thinking about two things:
1. Are we supposed to think of the 1980s as so old hat that when people time-travel back to that decade it’s just to make fun of day-glo clothes and synth music and big hair? Because I really miss day-glo clothes and synth music and some of the big hair…it sure beats tattoos and nose rings and droopy pants. Right?
2. Why is it that only guys get to time travel? First there was Marty McFly in Back to the Future, and now it’s the lovely John Cusak and his three pals in Hot Tub Time Machine: doesn’t anybody want to make a movie about some grown women who travel back in time 25 years and recapture the missed opportunities of their youth? Or is there something in the culture that mandates that us girls have to always make do with the life we have, put on a happy face about the choices we’ve made, clean ourselves up and ride herd (suppress) our wayward tendencies?
I try to imagine what a movie with four women in a hot tub time machine would look like and I can’t get a bead on it. And here’s why:
It’s a sad fact of life, my friends, that watching women get drunk and hang out with their loser friends and play air guitar and howl at the moon and travel back in time in a hot tub isn’t as funny as when men do it. (Or, at least, it’s not funny when I do it , everything except the hot tub time machine part; but I might be doing it wrong.)
How were the 1980s for you? Good enough to re-visit? Or are you keeping the era alive and still wearing your leg warmers and shoulder pads?
And oh! How kind you all are! Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful messages of support for That Damn France Book. And no, that’s not the title I proposed to the publisher…I have a totally different working title that I love but titles are delicate things and tend to change month to month so until I ship the finished manuscript off to Bloomsbury (in about six months) I’m going to keep referring to it as That Damn France Book, or TDFB for short.
And I’ll be offering my dear readers of this blog a chance to get your name in print, in TDFB, in the near future (kind of a crowd-source project, to help me with a bit of the text) so stay tuned!