My parents talked a lot about the 1950’s and what fun that decade was for them. My impressionable decade was the 1980’s.

Growing up in the 1970’s was kind of ho hum. I never was really into anything other than getting through school, socializing with my youth church group, as I felt like an outsider at school, watching lots of TV, and going to the mall with my friends.

I was a late bloomer, who started to blossom in the 80’s. I had recently reconnected with a girl I knew from high school. I was aware of her from afar, but it wasn’t until I got to know her personally after graduation through an acquaintance. She was into music, going out to clubs, reading all the latest fashion magazines and she knew how to mingle with the fellas. She was confident, elegant and naturally pretty. She introduced me to 80’s music, most of the bands I had never heard of before. She also shared with me fashion of the times, and how you could create a look that was modern, without spending lots of money. In high school she was one of the popular girls. I knew who they were, and I am sure they had no clue who I was, or even cared. She was one of the cheerleaders, surrounded by beautiful girls, who lived a privileged life, and interacted with the handsome jocks. They always seem like they were having fun and life was good for them. I imagined that after graduating from school they would be headed onto better and exciting new adventures.

We were a few years out of high school, while I was getting to know her. I also realized her life was not as glamorous as those she hung out with in high school. We both came from households that worked hard to pay the bills, we didn’t have the latest or greatest, yet while happy we were not on the same par as those privileged in high school kids. The only reason why we were both able to go to a fancy high school was because both of our parents had fibbed our home address on our school paper work. She didn’t really hang out with that group as much after high school, so I felt really connected to her.

By hanging around her and her friends, I felt confident to express myself with fashion, music and socializing. She told me about this a local club that played 80’s music on Thursday nights. It was in a strip mall, which didn’t seem like an ideal place for a club, but that didn’t matter. The club didn’t advertise, so you heard about it through word of mouth, which made it seem even more special. Thursdays became my start of the weekend, we would talk to each other about what we were going to wear, what time I would pick her up and who else was coming along. I would plan out my outfits beforehand, and would get excited as Thursday approached. I would always have a great time dancing the night away to the music, each night was a new adventure. We would be there until they had to turn the lights on, and we would all have to leave. I budgeted myself $20.00 and paced myself with my drinks so I was never out of control but had enough to enjoy as many as 4 drinks an night. It was here that I first heard music by a lot of english 80’s bands; OMD, The Cure, Duran Duran, The Smiths, Bow Wow Wow, Malcom McLaren, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Tears for Fear. US music by David Bowie, Grand Master Flash, Missing Persons, Men without Hats. I am sure there are purists that would laugh at this music, but for me it was a whole new world.

David Bowie was such a highlight for me during this decade. I first heard him at this club and immediately purchase his album “Modern Love”  , I listened to that album back and forward. The one song that will always hold a special moment for me is the song “Let’s Dance”. This is why and how it played out.

Girl (me) walks into the club, eyes wide open, surrounded by such fashion forward, stylish people. Music and videos play before her and she feels the music, as if she is privy to something special. Her girlfriends find a table and the small group go to sit down. She is feeling pretty cool in her colorful outfit, a short multicolored pleated skirt, cerulean blue pointy flats and a brightly colored pink blouse, retro jewelry finishes the outfit. She’s also sporting a new spiky hairdo that she will never be able to replicate, and feels so cutting edge. Shortly after they have settled, she is talking with her girlfriends when a tall mysterious blonde man appears, simply dressed and stylish in all black. He has approached her out of no where. He bends down and whispers in her ear, “would you like to dance?”. She looks over to him and says “yes”.  As she glances at him, his blonde hair has fallen over one of his eyes. She immediately forgets about her friends and stands up. He looks at her, his head tilted to one side, and gently shakes his head to the side, his hair sweeps back and she sees what he looks like. She smiles and thinks to herself “Wow, he asked me to dance!”, she keeps her cool. He takes her hand, and leads her to the dance floor facing her at first and then turns to lead them into the crowd, never letting go of her hand. The song “Electricity” by OMD is playing. He gently drops her hand and starts to dance, they are separate from one another and she is mesmerized while watching him dance. She is moving to the rhythm and hopes that one day she can dance as good as him. His blonde hair which is styled in the popular mens style of the 1920’s, is short on the sides and back and then long on top, which is now popular again. His body and hair moves gently as he is feeling the music. She tries not to stare, but while she watches him, he is graceful, and looks so good. He comes over to her intermittently, touches her hand and then goes back to dancing and feeling the music. The song ends quickly and for a split second they stop, and look at one another. She thinks to herself “does this have to end?”  Seamlessly, the next song starts to play and it is David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” he moves over to her, touches her shoulder and whispers in her ear “do you want to?” and before he finishes his sentence she smiles and nods “yes”. They resume dancing and she starts to lose herself into the music and him.

That was one of the best nights of my life, and that song will always remind me of that encounter. I was the popular girl for that night, leaving my friends behind, feeling like a million bucks, dancing the night away with this beautiful man. All I remember is that his name was Bruce, he lived in San Francisco, and worked in what would soon be known as “high tech”. After that night we would meet a few more times, and he was always such a gentleman, never crude and made me feel so special without ever realizing it. In that time, we were both in different stages in our life, so it would never be beyond a few special dates. “Let’s Dance” will always remind me of that special, night along with all the other fun memories of the 80’s.