We all know the 1980s was the worst decade for style EVER, but now a scientist is telling us why.
Apparently, it’s to do with symmetry. Scientists have long known that symmetry equates with beauty in all human beings, and that this fact transcends racial and cultural boundaries. Perfectly symmetrical faces and bodies, in every culture everywhere in the world, are considered more beautiful than asymmetrical faces and bodies. No culture values a squint or one eye missing etc.
At heart this is simply nature’s way of ensuring the survival of the species – asymmetry in humans is often the result of injury or illness, and nature steers us well away from disfigured humans for fear of contamination. It’s why compassion has be learned behaviour in humans – it doesn’t arise naturally.
But where do the 1980s come in? Haircuts, according to Professor Marcus du Sautoy, quoted in today’s Telegraph.
In the 1980s, dramatically asymmetrical haircuts were in fashion, worn by the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Flock of Seagulls, and this kind of asymmetry, says Prof Sautoy, runs counter to evolutionary principles, which means the decade will never be considered stylish.
Well, erm, maybe.
Personally, when I think of the 80s – which is definitely ‘my’ decade unfortunately – I don’t think so much of the haircuts. I could never manage the requisite ‘big hair’ in any case, but had one of those straggle perms, as you can see here (that’s me in the centre, flanked by friends Ann and Pam). But far worse than 80s hair of any description was the completely naff music – Depeche Mode and all those synthesizer bands that we thought were so cool with their tinny plonky wibbly sounds. I still listen to this stuff in the car, where it drives my DH barmy.
And even worse than the music were the clothes.
It’s only in retrospect, of course, that they were bloody awful. At the time it was all great fun. You could dress up as a punk or a pirate on a daily basis and really let rip – there were no boundaries, especially for students, no sense that anything wasn’t permitted. When else do you get to do this? I’m glad I didn’t have my peak in a drab and grey era – even if it does mean destroying a lot of old photographs now.
My mother hated it, of course, as mothers do. She never saw my man’s-shirt-over-black-tights-and-nothing-else outfit that occasionally stopped traffic (probably for all the wrong reasons), nor my mustard ra-ra dress worn with green velvet 50s coat (yes, it looked like vomit). But she was still ashamed to be seen in the street with me. In particular, she took umbrage at my Victorian nightie worn over yellow harem pants wrapped with pink silk gaiters, plus turquoise pixie boots. Tsk – what WAS her problem….? She should have seen my mate Sarah’s orange mohair duster coat, which was nearly bright enough to take your eye out. Or Jan’s harem pants covered in giant pink elephants. Or Graham’s black shirt that had about 20 metal zips, none of which were functional.
Speaking of pictures that should be destroyed, I found this old shot of me the other day from Hallowe’en 1982. OK, the make-up’s very ghostly, but I shudder to admit that the rest was typical dress-up for evening – Victorian cape, top hat, 1920s gloves and a very, very shiny shirt. I’ve still got two of them. Guess which.
Ah, those were the days… 🙂