1998 was twenty years ago

Yesterday I heard Total Eclipse of the Heart twice: once on the way home from yoga, and once during dinnertime. It reminded me of one of the greatest movie scenes ever; the wedding dance from Old School. I cannot hear that song without mentally substituting the lyrics. I also heard 1999 twice yesterday, but that did not fill me with the same level of joy. Here’s my controversial confession: I do not really enjoy the music of Prince. I don’t NOT enjoy it; I certainly would sing along if When Doves Cry came on the radio, but I do not seek it out.

Another controversial confession: I really, really dislike the music of Tom Petty. And for my money, Beast of Burden is not only the best Rolling Stones song ever written, but I don’t even think there is a close second.

Well, I did not set out today to write about the music of late performers and defunct bands; moving on.

The main music – and I use that word very loosely – I have been treated to lately is that of screaming magpies. Magpies have, evidently, made a nest nearby and every single time I leave my house they are swooping around me, screaming loudly. Barkley seems to be equally targeted, never mind that in a million years he could not reach a nest that is ostensibly thirty feet off the ground. A part of me thinks aw, they are just trying to protect their babies, but after several days of low-flying aggressive magpie action, my thoughts turn to goddammit, no one WANTS your horrible babies, go away. I saw a pair of magpies aggressively chasing away squirrels, though, so there is an upside to this. At least the magpies, as irritating as they may be, are not in the market to eat my bulbs or dig up my flowers.

By the way, my tulips never did bloom, not a single one. They all just lay there in their weirdly flattened foliage, sadly sinking back into the earth from whence they came.

This morning I learned that Sex and the City debuted twenty years ago this year, TWENTY YEARS, PEOPLE. Remember when women would identify with the main characters, as in “You’re such a Charlotte.” Well. Time passages and and all that. A Sex and the City episode was the catalyst for the worst fight my husband and I ever had in our entire relationship, to this day I cannot think about “Your girl is lovely, Hubble,” without thinking of my fury in our tiny apartment on the 30th floor, without being able to even slam a door. At the time it was intense, but now, nearly twenty years later, it seems very lame, that we had a fight about Carrie and Mr. Big.

Nowadays, the only source of marital tension is my One Year Shopping Challenge, which my husband hates with a passion. Just go buy yourself some damn clothes! he has said on numerous occasions. A few weeks ago I was having coffee with a friend (HI TWYLA) and she complimented me on my raincoat, a plaid Lululemon that I bought when the kids were in preschool. Thanks, it’s really old, I said and she shook her head. Are we still doing that, then? The no-buying thing? she asked with sympathy. Yes we are. Less than eight weeks to go and my god, I simultaneously cannot believe I have done it and also I cannot wait for it to be done.

One thing about this challenge is that I have been able to identify some true needs in my wardrobe. Well, “needs” might be a strong word; as my mom always says, I’m not sure the word NEED comes into play here. Wants, then. For starters, on my trip to Mexico I noted that several of my trusty old bikinis no longer fit properly, as in, if I dive too quickly into the water there is going to be an accidental skinny dipping situation. I do still have a couple that can get me through until August 1, so things aren’t really desperate. Still. A new bikini or two would be nice.

I’m also noting that a few of my yoga clothes, while still in good shape, are beginning to look pretty faded and worn, which isn’t too surprising since most of my pieces are over five years old and have withstood a lot of wear and laundering. Some of my tanks and pants are a decade old, some even older. So really, I think I can probably treat myself to a few new pieces. I do find myself in yoga clothes daily, often two different outfits a day, one for practicing in and one for teaching.

Other than that, I’m not too tempted to shop these days, since I do not enjoy the current styles. I already wore them, back in the 90s. Overalls, high waisted pants, crop tops, bodysuits, and ONE PIECE JUMPSUITS. Think about using a public washroom while wearing a jumpsuit, just think about it for a moment. I’ve done all of those styles, and I’m not interested in doing them again, particularly the jumpsuits. Well, and the rest of them. I shall leave the youth styles to the youth and continue to live in my yoga clothes topped with flowy sweaters, like the future Golden Girl that I am. All I need are brightly coloured necklace-and-earring sets and some florals and I’ll be ready to go.

Speaking of colours, I seem to be so desperate to end this shopping challenge that when my husband pointed out some bright orange Lululemon crops to me, I actually thought those look nice. I have never worn such a colour in my entire life and I most likely never will, due to my fear that it would match my hair too closely, but it is illustrative of my desperation.

Also? Speaking of Golden Girls…remember slips? Do women still wear slips? I remember being made to wear slips, particularly to church, back in my childhood. Slips, as I remember, were a guard against a) clinging dresses, b) anything even marginally transparent, and c) immodesty in general. It seems to me that they would be very outmoded now, but I’m curious – does anyone still wear them, or did they go the way of the housedress? When I think of slips, I think of my beloved late grandma, who would also encourage wearing a pin or brooch at one’s neckline to ensure that one was not showing too much of the chest region. I wonder what she would think of my work wear.


  1. Do you have deer in your area? I’m wondering if they were laying on your tulips and squashed them. I saw some similarly squashed flowers in my neighborhood and we’re lousy with deer.

    You’re wrong about the Stones, btw. Their best song is “Wild Horses.”

    • Wild Horses! You’re right, that is a beautiful song. I’ll give it a tie with Beast of Burden 🙂 It’s actually hard to compare the two, they are so different.

      No deer – so I don’t know. Nothing else is affected. I have no idea what is happening!

  2. I have SEVERAL THOUGHTS, but first: “accidental skinny dipping situation” made me snort laugh.

    Like you, I have some articles of clothing that have been around… well, a LONG time. Some might be SATC old, I think. And I’m not talking about merely the sweatshirt I stole from my high school boyfriend (softest, best sweatshirt ever; I still wear it) but also some sports bras I wore during HIGH SCHOOL TRACK. I think that says a lot of things about me, none of them flattering. Sigh.

    Walking through the mall is very confusing, of late. I feel like I’m in some nineties-only thrift shop. I looked at a Madewell display the other day and I swear I had every item of clothing in my high school wardrobe, from the denim overall shorts to the midriff-baring v-neck ribbed sweater-tank. No. I refuse to return to those days.

    SLIPS. I still like to wear a slip, but I think I am the only person on the planet. I have a single slip that I have owned since… at LEAST high school. It has stretched some, since I wore it while pregnant, but it is my only slip. And when I once tried to track down a new one, I got some very upset/disturbed/confused looks from the various saleswomen. Well, the same old high school-era slip it is, then! For eternity!

    • nicoleboyhouse says

      Speaking of old clothes, I have a pair of those platform soled slides that were super popular in the late 90s. I don’t know why I can’t get rid of them but they are probably close to being back in style so…win? But my god, not the midriff-baring ribbed sweaters – I am baring my midriff for no one. No overalls either, my GOD.

  3. I do still wear slips under two specific circumstances: (1) it’s winter, so it’s cold and rainy and miserable and yet, for work I must wear a dress or skirt so I wear it with tights and boots – without the slip the dress or skirt clings desperately to my legs as I walk such that it begins to resemble an incredibly poorly cut pair of gauchos (sp?) and/or threatens to trip me and (2) it’s summer and it’s hot but for work I must wear a dress or skirt so I wear a nice light one that seems likely to become way too sheer for the office in the bright light. I think that I may be one of the only people in entire Pac NW area to wear a slip anymore though. I have all of two slips that I use and have had for probably close to 20 years so I’m not even sure where they sell slips anymore?

    I’m also going to just leave the 90s in the 90s. The first time around I was in my early-mid 20s and was in great shape and hadn’t had kids so I could rock a tiny pleated skirt with black tights and stacked Mary Janes and body suits, and jeans with holes in them etc. Now I would look beyond insane so I’m sticking to my mom clothing and calling it a day.

    • nicoleboyhouse says

      You should probably never get rid of those slips because you may never be able to replace them! I used to think the Sears Catalogue was the place for that stuff, but now there’s no more Sears so…

  4. I am also curious about the slip situation.I have a whole drawer full, from back in my high school days when I had a custom slip (due to varying lengths and colours) for every church dress I had. I imagine none of them would go around my waist now, and I haven’t worn one since I got married, at least, and yet I keep the drawer full around just in case.

    The other day I was wearing a skirt, and my daughter pulled me aside and said in low tones that she just wanted me to know that in certain lights, my skirt was a little see-through. And I thought about my drawer of slips but I couldn’t bring myself to go put one on – it was warm and the skirt was big and swingy and that whole effect would be ruined by putting on one of my narrow, straight, satin slips. So I think that just about clinched the situation for me – I’m done with slips. I’ll probably still have them until I die, though.

    In daffodil news – none of mine bloomed this year either, and my friend who is an awesome gardener told me it’s just that they are done. Apparently the bulbs have a limited life span and can only bloom for perhaps 4 or 5 years at the most before they need to be replaced. Mine are at least that old, so I dug them out this spring and will put in new ones in the fall. But if yours were new this past year – then I am as mystified as you are!

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