Thoughts from the Publisher | Oct. 11, 2019

Over the last few weeks I’ve shared with our readers my recollections of fashion and vernacular fads during my lifetime. So far I’ve included my memories of inspirations garnered from the Beatles, Twiggy, flower children, hippies, mini-skirt-fueled 70s disco era and surfing.

Moving forward, this week I will take on the challenge of writing about Madonna-inspired fashions, style and lingo of the Valley Girls, and the newest (to me) VSCO girls and their unique way of speaking and dressing.

To get my literary juices flowing, I looked up the word “slang” on the internet. I felt that I hit the jackpot when I located a heading called “53 Slang Terms by the Decade”. There I found 100 years’ worth of jargon starting with the 1920s.

When checking out expressions for the 1980s, I found the following:
Bodacious: beautiful
Chillin’: relaxing
Dweeb: a nerd; someone who is not cool
Fly: cool; very hip
Gag me with a spoon: disgusting
Gnarly: exceptional; very cool
Preppy: one who dresses in designer clothing and has a neat, clean-cut appearance
Wicked: excellent; great
Yuppie: Young Urban Professional; a college-educated person with a well-paying job who lives near a big city; often associated with a materialistic and superficial personality

I do remember these terms, although I don’t think I ever used any of them. I believe they were (and still are) used by cross-sections of our linguistically diverse population… in other words, guys and gals who add more and more slang to their vocabulary as the years pile up.

I still use and over-use the surfer-inspired word “dude.” Example: When I say “Dude”, I may mean “hello” (when accompanied by an up-nod) or as a shortcut for “what the hell” when I add a wide-eyed look with a slight shake of my head. I also still say “cool” and “awesome,” but have long stopped using the terms “bitchin’,” “boss” and “groovy,” and I do not add the word “like” to every sentence… example “Like, I think it’s, like, cool, to like, like the Beatles.”

When Madonna hit the world of pop-music in the early to mid-80s, she brought about a bit of a fashion twist that evolved from torn lacy petticoat outfits to navel-baring short skirts, cone shaped bras and “I Dream of Jeannie” ponytails. She really runs the gamut of girly garb from one extreme to the other. Her songs have long been controversial, but I believe Madonna’s stage wardrobe gave/gives her an edge that young gals yearn/ed for. Nowadays it looks like Lady Gaga also fills that niche.

As far as the Valley Girl phenomena goes, it was exploited by the 1983 Nicolas Cage movie named, like, Valley Girl. Around the same time frame, the song “Valley Girl,” sung by Frank Zappa’s daughter 14-year-old Moon Unit, was a big hit for its quirky wording and over-the-top references to a language understood mostly by young girls in the San Fernando Valley.

Here are just a few of the lyrics:
• Like my mother like makes me do the dishes
• It’s like so gross
• Like all the stuff like sticks to the plates
• And it’s like, it’s like somebody sees food, you know
• It’s like grody
• Grody to the max
• I’m sure
• It’s like really nauseating
• Like barf out
• Gag me with a spoon

Now, last, but certainly not least, are the VSCO girls. This is all very new to me so I will give you a very fast rundown on my limited knowledge of how they fit in. Very important to the persona are using the terms “and I oop” and “Sksksk,” as well as wearing an excessive amount of hair scrunchies and friendship bracelets on their arms. They carry Hydro Flask water bottles and only use metal straws in order to “save the turtles.” Clothing of choice seems to be very oversized t-shirts that cover shorts and “Croc” shoes. To really get a glimpse into the VSCO lifestyle, go to YouTube and search “5 minutes of annoying tik tok vsco girls | Tik Tok Memes.” It appears that this subculture of girls has literally sprung from social media.

I am old. I don’t get it… although I do find it fascinating.