February 5th, 2010

Chillin’ - Behind The Awkwardness

Our (my brother Mark and I) goal in life was to be cool and nothing says cool like lounging on a car wearing a shirt from Wal-Mart before your “vacation” to the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center 45 minutes away from your house.  Just check out the awkward goodness in this photo:

The Mullet.  This was a compromise between my mother and I.  She wanted me to have Mary Lou Rhetton hair and I wanted long hair like my classmates.  The result?  Feather-backed mullet goodness.  That’s not a perm!

Blue Mirrored Clip-On Shades.  I wore glasses, nice thick black with pink splatter glasses.  I loved them but I, again, wanted the cool shades of my peers.  Enter the oversized blue, mirrored clip on shades that would make any state trooper jealous.  I wanted the ones that flipped up, but they were too expensive.

The Dick Tracy Shirt. Again, in a vain attempt to look cool, hip and in the know, my brother and I desperately wanted a Dick Tracy shirt.  I’m pretty sure we had the Nintendo game too.  Confession: I’ve never seen Dick Tracy.  I just had the shirt.

The Yellow Socks. All the cool kids had colored socks!  I always wanted colored socks, but was only allowed white.  When we got the Dick Tracy shirt I knew it was my chance!

The Wrist Pouch. My brother was on the go, and by on the go, I mean playing with the tool bench behind us.  So what’s a boy to do with no pockets in his red short shorts?  Easily wear the 50 cents papaw gave you on your wrist.

(submitted by Kelly)

241 Responses to “Chillin’”

  1. Kathy says:

    Yup, coulda been me too! And I am from ole H’ville as well……didn’t have the Dick Tracey shirt, but LOVED my Hypercolor and LA Gears! (Didn’t sport the mullet, but had the most gawd awful curly/bushy hair and glasses too!)

  2. Lori says:

    i’m glad to see that i’m not the only who’s got a beef with dorothy hamil for that god awful hair cut! it was also refered to as the ‘short and sassy’ lol

  3. Kelly says:

    WOW, thanks for the comments everyone, TOTALLY made my night.

    Kelly <– who is a girl.

    • Whoops! says:

      I want to see an after pic, cool girl!!!
      And if you have kids, I hope you show them this pic.

    • Boppie says:

      Kelly, I’m sure if we saw a picture of you NOW, none of us would be confused about your gender. Even Chris, who understandably was thrown a little by the jorts and the mullet, and maybe is from England, where men are named Kelly?


      And the story is awesome – you have piqued my competitive spirit, and made me want to show my awkward little 80′s self to the gang…

  4. Mary Williams says:

    I feel love for this.

  5. pcarter says:

    Thanks for sharing, Kelly. Love the story behind the photo.

  6. Diana says:

    I love this story!! Awesome.

  7. anne says:

    I have a brother :) and this photo could be us.
    We soooooo wanted to be cooool.
    Ah, the good old days :)
    Thanks for posting and telling us the lovely story.

  8. Lemuel says:

    If it takes six paragraphs to explain why it is awkward it isn’t awkward

    • Alvacado says:

      I think the explanation makes the awkwardness MORE understandable. Everyone had to endure some sort of this growing up, which is kind of comforting.

    • iLOLd says:

      Agreed, the standard limit for awkward is 5 paragraphs. (Double-spaced, centered-not left-justified, 12-point type, Helvetica font, in charcoal gray.)
      Shame-fie, Kelly, shame-fie!!!

      (U Rock, Kelly)

  9. Jolene says:

    This is wonderful! And when I saw the word Pappaw, I was right back in my awkward childhood in Kentucky!

  10. Kathleen says:

    Great picture, love the write-up!

  11. East of Eden says:

    i’ve met my doppleganger….holy cow I think I sported that look as well. It’s nice to know the akwardness was nationwide.

  12. Cheri says:

    Well Kelly looks like a pretty cool girl in that 80s style. (And my mom made me get perms, ugh) Doreen: The red flag was maybe so they could find the car when time to leave MSFC – or could be on a bike behind the car?

  13. Kim says:

    I also had a Dick Tracy short from Wal-Mart that I had gotten before I ever watched the movie.

  14. Violet Beauregard says:

    Love the write-up so much! I can feel the coolness from here!
    I think I have a similar shot from my family. I had to get the “Dorothy Hamill” haircut and since I was chubby, I guess I looked like a boy. I was miserable and every time someone called me a boy, I just stood there and smiled — too shy to correct them. What an awkward time!

    • Morgan says:

      Violet– are we related?! I had my waist length hair chopped off when I was 6 because head lice was going around the school and my mother was panic-stricken. She gave me the cursed “Dorothy Hamill”, and everyone thought I was a boy. I lived with this horrible pox for 2 years, but it felt like an eternity.

  15. Cheri says:

    Isn’t she?

  16. Noneya says:

    Thanks for the write-up, Kelly. That was funny.

  17. Sue says:

    As to the colored socks… I can relate…did anyone else have that ridiculous rule at school about “no colored socks” for gym class because the dye supposedly somehow got into your bloodstream and could poison you? Even at the age of 9 I thought that was the weirdest thing I’d ever heard.

    • Sue Denyhm says:

      Yes! Our PE teacher only permitted white socks be worn. This is back in the day of tube socks which of course were sports socks, so even though you could get navy and grey tube socks, you couldn’t wear them for PE.

      • Etta says:

        Exactly. Only white gym socks permitted because the dye in the colored socks might kill you when you sweat! I seriously believed that for like 20 years afterward…in fact, sometimes I’m still really nervous wearing colored socks when I go for a walk (even a short one….because I don’t know at what point the poisonous dye will leach into my system). And, don’t even get me started on swallowing chewing gum and the havoc it will wreak on your insides!

        Great pix and story, Kelly. You and your brother ROCK!!! :)

  18. kay says:

    I’m lovin’ the “vacation” to a place 45 min. away! Who else out there had crummy weekend outings that your parents called “vacations” so you could say you had a vacation when you went back to school and the rich kids had been to Disneyworld or Hawaii? Raise your hand, mine’s up! If you’ve seen any large balls of string or palaces made out of corn, you know you’re one of us.

    • Alvacado says:

      At last, someone else that experienced the local vacation. And then…there’s a memory I recall of the year that we were told for weeks that we were going to TEXAS (we live in the SF bay area) and I was imagining cowboys and indians wild west. We were driven the 3 states away (me puking in the backseat most of the way) to visit some distant relatives that lived across the street from a cemetary!! it gave me nightmares for years!!!

    • JT says:

      How about a naval aviation museum, Kay? :D We live close to FL, so we were able to go to Disney World with grandparents once, but we had a big family and little money… so most of our vacations were at the beach that’s about an hour away. Not much in the way of seeing the world, but oh well– it was always fun!

  19. Will says:

    “So what’s a boy to do with no pockets in his red short shorts? ” … I thought this was going in a totally different direction.

  20. Kelly says:

    Very well-written “behind the awkwardness” and above all, very entertaining!

  21. chris says:

    …could’ve sworn those were both boys?

  22. tina says:

    THE JORTS!!! Nothing screams 90′s like some high waisted jean shorts!

  23. Chriss says:

    I am the only one here that thought the one on the left was a girl?

    • Cassie says:

      Kelly ,the author of the “behind the awkwardness” explanation of the photo, writes that her mullet in the photo was a compromise with her mother between the long hair she wanted and the MaryLou Retton hairstyle her mother wanted her to have. I would think that means the “one on the left” is a girl.

  24. doreen says:

    What’s with the flag on the car? Also, I love this family!

  25. laura says:

    i have a soft spot for mullets. :)

  26. MONSTER says:

    This could NOT be better- it actually speaks it’s so good
    love the text but the shades rule

  27. Trinity says:

    I bow to your coolness.

  28. jacque says:

    I feel your pain with the hair. Everyone complements my hair NOW. I just tell them I paid my dues. I had some wild thick, curly, fuzzy hair. If I find a pic I will post it—maybe.

  29. parker says:

    It’s Pat – the early years.

  30. just sayin' says:

    Ah, Kelly! What’s left for us to say? It is fun to hear all of the possible stories and THEN the real story is told. Ah, well, cool shades.

  31. Whoops! says:

    I feel kind of bad. When the photo first came up, I immediately thought, “Respect my authori-tay.”

    I’m sorry Kelly that my first thought was that this was Cartman in human form. It was the shades, I swear.

  32. Jamie says:

    My mom bought me the shirt and we never saw the movie, either.

  33. Amused says:

    I seriously loved the story that went along with the picture! GREAT! Thanks for sharing! :-)

  34. Denise says:

    I want to see the after shot!! After all these years that is!

  35. Jessica says:

    thank you for posting this pic and providing the back story — more behind the awkwardness please!!!

  36. Jamie says:

    The story is the best part to this photo! HILARIOUS!

  37. Chris says:

    too funny – the pic, the story. thanks!

  38. velcrodots says:

    The write-up MADE this photo, love it!

  39. nite owl says:

    The compromise-mullet…a new genus of the mullet species!

  40. Carrie says:

    I love everything about this photo!

  41. ChrissyL says:

    LOVED the write-up!! pure LMAO’S!!!!!!!!!!

  42. christina says:

    OMGoodness! That SO looks like something I would’ve been wearing back in the day!! Love your story!!

  43. Fanboy Wife says:

    I love the story; it makes the photo even more awkward!

  44. bubbrubbbb says:

    This is the epitome of kid fashion in the late 80s/early 90s.

  45. VZG says:

    Not… ALLOWED colored socks? I didn’t have them as a kid because I never wanted them (I hated socks — they were a thing to be covered up!) but to not be allowed them seems like madness. “No, you will be drab and colorless and you will LIKE IT.” And the hair compromise seems crazy, too. I mean, I feel spoiled now, because, what with it being on my head and all, my parents would never impose a haircut on me. They might strongly suggest, but if I didn’t want short hair, my hair would not be short. I mean, I’m sure my parents would have put their foot down at, say, a mohawk, or dreds, and I wasn’t allowed to color it, but as far as length went and bangs/no bangs and the like, I got the final say.

    Colored socks and a hairstyle of your own choice. That’s luxury.

    …and the Dick Tracy shirt is kind of awesome, I’ve gotta say. I don’t really REMEMBER the movie much, and yet it still has something of a fond place in my heart.

    • Denise says:

      VZG, you sound so serious about the socks and hair thing, like poor Kelly was abused or something Maybe the colored socks thing was just a practical decision. Parents make those sometimes, you know. Socks always get lost in the wash and if you lose a colored one, maybe you don’t want to throw the other out or have your kid running around with mismatched socks. Not a problem with white socks. Plus, girls and boys can interchange white socks and no one knows the difference. One less thing to think about. Just saying… And don’t get me started on the hair…lol…

    • Kate says:

      I too was the victim of a hair-controlling mother so I can totally relate. While my sister was allowed to grow her hair as long as she desired, mine always had to be short — as in look like a boy short. “You have such a pretty face,” she would tell me, but not with that boy cut I didn’t! As an adult I’ve kept it long just because I can. If at all possible I’m going to be one of those 80-year-olds with long locks.

      • Cassie says:

        Kate… I hate to ask but I have to ask…..If your sister was allowed to have long hair and you had to have short hair because “you have such a pretty face”…….Does that mean that your sister was allowed to have long hair because she didn’t “have a pretty face”?…………I’m not trying to be mean , I’m just trying to understand.

    • Boppie says:

      VZG, back in the olden days – the 1970′s and 1980′s – parents decided, and then kids did what they were told. Gasp! Horror! Faint! I won’t list all the things I wasn’t allowed to own, do, or say here, because I don’t think they have the server space, but here’s an example: I wasn’t allowed to tape or pin things to my bedroom walls. Not so much as a pushpin, or piece of cellophane. We lived in our house my entire life so it wasn’t a rental thing – my mom just didn’t want me ruining the paint surface or making holes in the drywall. So I didn’t.
      We didn’t know we were constrained then. And I think kids need some rules to work within, frankly…but that’s just me. And I still have oddly unadorned walls…

      • Denise says:

        I like you Boppie :)

        • Boppie says:

          Thanks, Denise! :) I’m amazed at my sister’s kids and what they’re allowed to say to her, because she doesn’t want conflict or harsh words. And she grew up when my parents were even younger and stricter! I know it’s hard to be a parent, and I’m not – but I would rather have kids I like, and have them not like me, than the other way around.

          • VZG says:

            There is a middle ground in there, ya know. My parents managed it (more or less, anyway).

          • RobertL says:

            Boppie – your sister doesn’t want harsh words or conflict? That’s what us uncles and aunts are for! Sarcasm, bad jokes, tricks and pranks and generally giving our nieces and nephews a hard time.

            Also, those of us without children make up for it by having. All.The. Answers. And parents love it when we give them unsolicited advice!

      • Tesseraemom says:

        Amen to that! When my dad installed a cork board in my room I thought they had lost their minds! I could hang up pictures and posters, no way! I have to say my walls now are hideous. Right now we have a birthday banner TAPED to the wall for my daughters 4th birthday, not to mention the other attractive and precious artwork the kids bring home. Hey, we can paint ! I also had my hair cut at 9 or 10 against my will because I didn’t take care of it! On the way home from the salon a woman in the grocery store who knew my mom said ” Oh, Judy, I didn’t know you had a son!” Umm, yea, thanks mom. Her response… “The baseball cap doesn’t help!”

        • Boppie says:

          I had that same hair story – Farrah layers in 6th grade, which I had no idea how to style, and never did, and when I asked for a shorter cut, my mom must have been extra cranky that day because she told the guy to cut all my hair off. I looked like a boy from behind too – it was Halle Berry short. My dad was furious. I loved it – I’m lazy like that – and I kept it short for years. BUT, I did learn a LESSON, cue heartwarming music here, thanks to mom: be careful what you ask for, and BE SPECIFIC, because you might get it, and you might get something that you hate, and can’t undo, and will have to live with anyway.
          I wonder if she was trying to, like, be a parent?

      • But that actually makes sense. To someone having to live in an apartment, not being able to get your security deposit back could cause some serious issues.

        I did what my parents told me and I thought it was rather arbitrary, but not allowing them to have coloured socks? Sounds almost Amish.

      • VZG says:

        Er, I lived in the 80s. And I wasn’t allowed to tape or pin things to my bedroom walls, either. I also wasn’t allowed to go off the lawn, or have more than three cookies at a time, or sit too close to the TV, or to wear shirts that were too short or that had stripes in certain places, or run around outside naked, or wear one black sock and one white sock — gasp! Shock! My parents had restrictions, too! They didn’t restrict me just to restrict me, though.

        And they were also nice enough to never inflict a mullet on me, even when I decided I didn’t want short hair. I mean, I don’t care who you aren’t, that’s downright cruel.

  46. Polite says:

    they gangsta

  47. magilicuddy says:

    everytime I think I’ve come across my favorite photo on this site, up comes another one… and my son actually has a wrist pouch that he uses… no comment there…

  48. Amy says:

    This is awesome…love the write up.

    I too used to have a wrist pouch and coloured songs: SO COOL.

  49. Michelle says:

    I’m just glad I wasn’t the only one with a Papaw…to those of you not from the South, a Papaw is a grandpa….Pawpaw just sounds cooler!

  50. Angie says:

    I freakin’ love the sunglasses above all else. And all the rest is awesome! But the shades… the shades.

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