Thursday, August 25, 2011

Songs of my Youth: Time After Time

I just wanna have fun.  And, I know that's okay because Cyndi Lauper taught me so.  I'm a girl, it's a given.  So there.

I just found out that Cyndi Lauper was born in 1953.  That means she was 30 when She's So Unusual was on the charts!  This is as shocking  a discovery as being a grade-schooler and finding out Tina Turner was 45 when Private Dancer came out.  I didn't understand how her legs could still look like that (still don't!) and how she wasn't breaking a hip shimmying in her sequins.  Now that my own age falls somewhere between those two numbers, it just makes those gals heroes to me.  Girls as well as women approaching mid-life are allowed all that fun.  Phew!  Thank you ladies.

She's So Unusual was one the greatest discoveries of my youth.  I knew I always seemed pretty unusual and now it was finally mainstream!  I lived vicariously through Cyndi and her wildly colorful outfits while I sat in front of her videos wearing my older sister's hand-me-downs.  I wanted colored mousse in my hair!  I wanted to wear a baseball jacket with a loudly patterned skirt!  I wanted flawless eighties makeup!  But, I was nine and would have to wait.

Cyndi's cool cred spiked about three-hundred notches when she cast Captain Lou "Rubberband Face" Albano in her Girls Just Wanna Have Fun video.  Even my little brother could appreciate that!  And, you gotta admire that, being such a tiny thing, she could still pin Lou to the wall when he tries to interrupt her phone time.  It was a mystery what on earth those girls could have been doing out all night that they couldn't have been doing during the daylight hours.  My parents would pose the same question to me in about a decade or so.

Girls was great fun, but the Cyndi song that gives me an even more instantaneous flashback is Time After Time.  I even heard it today on the easy-listening channel at work and it took only the opening synth for me to be immediately reminded how badly I wanted waffle iron hair in 1984.  LOL!  It was never about the love song or the devotion in the lyrics.  I would watch this video over and over just to covet the waffle iron pattern shaved into one side of her orangety-orange hair!

In fact the love story was completely lost on me because the boyfriend in the video laughed at her 'do and got all angry as if she'd taken a razor to his head while he slept.  You're dating Cyndi Lauper!  What do you expect? A pert chignon every morning?!  Then he seems to turn his friends on her.  Grrr...  I always thought she could do better and wasn't even sad at the end of the video.  Don't get off that train Cyndi!  You stay put!  Do you really think he's one to judge with his bad hair and that grandpappy hat he can't pull off? 

Besides the lame boyfriend, my other pet peeve with the video was the flashback scene.  I always found it very sweet that she included her own mother in her videos.  My peeve being that the stylist could have done a better job with Cyndi's blond (obvious) wig.  Me and my sister used to laugh at it every time.  And the choice to dress her like Dennis the Menace I still find slightly comical.

So, maybe Time After Time wasn't as fun as Girls... or She Bop (another song who's concept was totally lost of me at the time.  The line "I don't even understand" was an understatement!  But, my adult brain can now find humor in all the background dancers being blind at the end of the video.)  It might not have been as stellar a ballad as True Colors either, but it's the Cyndi song that holds my fondest memory of wishing for waffle iron hair and red checkered pants. (I finally did have similar pants at age twenty, forgetting Cyndi in the purchase by then. And, orange hair too come to think of it... though I don't think simultaneously.  Goals complete!)

I still wouldn't mind being Cyndi Lauper for a day.  Or a month.  And, now that I'm in my thirties, I really want to know what foundation she was wearing back then.  Flawless!

Alright, I'll throw this one in too since I know you want it:

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