The Ugly 70s


I finally finished reading Girls Like Us, and I’ve got 5 stars for it.  I won’t write a proper review of it right now because I’ve only just put it down about half an hour ago, but a little conversation I’ve been having on Facebook has outgrown its venue and I am moving it over here.  And that conversation?  The ugliness of the 70s.

This is where my Facebook conversation started:  Even attractive people were not attractive in the 70s.  It was impossible to be truly attractive from about 1970 through about 1986.  The 70s were to American style what the ages of 12 to 16 are to most children.  Awkward.  Pimply.  Greasy.  Brace-faced.  Gross.

I was born in 1970.  The year of the Dog is right.  Dog ugly.  Everything was vinyl and polyester.  The most fashionable colors were avocado, harvest gold, apricot, and brown–even in summertime!  People wore bell bottoms, leisure suits, terry cloth, and collars so long and pointed they could touch the edges of their shoulders.  Carpets and hair had the same shag styling.  Miss America looked like this and Elvis was fat.

Me. And everything that was wrong with 1975. Polyester jumpsuits–oh yeah, that was a one piece that zipped up the back. Wingtip collars. Furniture in Harvest Gold and Earth. Painted bricks.  And, as I recall, that throw pillow would have landed on a couch with a huge, sticky vinyl cover on it.  What you are missing is that when my hair wasn’t teased into presciently 80s oblivion, it was parted down the side so that I looked like Rob Reiner as Meathead from All In The Family.  Ugh.  Everything was SO UGLY.

The 70s was a sweaty decade.  Everyone always looked slightly overheated.  In part, due to the grotesquely shimmery makeup that was popular, and in part due to the fact that the most popular fabric was a non-breathing synthetic.  You couldn’t help but sweat.  You couldn’t help but look like you needed a shower.  And the hair…oh, the hair.

70s hair is infinitely worse than 80s hair.  Yes, 80s hair is large and overprocessed, but 80s hair is also largely clean–or, at least it is easier to hide a greasy scalp behind 3 inches of teased bangs.  In the 70s, with everything parted down the middle, you could just–yuck.  Okay?

And on television?  Was there an attractive man on television?  I know there were attractive women because I watched Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman with a religious fervor, but think how much better looking those shows would have been, had they been initially produced today!  I mean, Farrah?  Farrah in her prime taken outside the 70s?  She would have been too much for television.  In a way, I suppose we were fortunate that the burgundy blush, and frosted eyeshadows toned down her hotness.  We’d have been all sweaty for a different reason.

I did have crushes on David and Shawn Cassidy, Andy and Barry Gibb, and Dirk Benedict (as Starbuck–the only Starbuck, thank you.)  But even as a child I understood that their pants were freakishly tight, their hair unflattering, and their satin Members Only jackets gauche.  You worked with what you had in the 70s, and what I had was poofy-headed, tight, sateen pant wearing, hairy-chested pretty boys.

This post…  I started this post 3 hours ago, then went searching for a picture from a yearbook.  I got sucked into classmates.com, where there are yearbooks online, then ancestry.com, which is like crack cocaine to me.  I couldn’t find my Kindergarten yearbook picture, then I remembered that my picture was so bad, it was not included in the Kindergarten section of the book.  I had a massive cold sore that ran from inside my lower lip, halfway down my chin, covering the entire lower left side of my mouth.  They took my picture in profile and it was still visible.  I sport a lovely scar which is nicely apparent when I get overheated.  I guess the school didn’t want people to think they let lepers go to class.

My first grade yearbook isn’t online.  Thus and so, I give you my second grade picture, taken in 1978.  I look really happy to be there, don’t I?  Oh, there’s a story behind that one.  But not for tonight.  I need to get off this computer before I turn into one!

Top row middle. That’s me. 3rd row end. That was my adorable boyfriend through fifth grade, until we moved to Texas. And even then we wrote letters for a couple of years. The 70s were kind to him.

4 thoughts on “The Ugly 70s

  1. In the 70’s my crushes were Gil Roberts (who played Buck Rogers) and the guy who played Apollo. I was thankful for the 80’s because then I had Rick Springfield for a year before LeBon showed up and then I didn’t have to worry about crushes anymore.

    My childhood home had avocado green walls, rug and appliances. My mother *still* has the washing machine. In hindsight I am thankful that was the color she liked because the other ones were more hideous.

    I’ll have to find my school pics from then. My first grade photo shows long hair but it was soon cut in the Dorothy Hamill wedge. 2nd was Toni Tennille and 3rd was Kate Jackson’s (which meant I always had to be Sabrina and I wanted to be Kelly. But I was told I had Sabrina’s hair and wasn’t pretty enough to be Kelly. *sigh*).

    Wow I practically have a post myself here!

    • Ha! I love it! I always wanted to be Kelly, but I was the redhead/blonde in the group, so I had to be Chris. Couldn’t be Jill. Jill was my second choice. No one wanted to be Sabrina.

      • Of course not, because she was smart and flat chested. They never put her in a bikini! She was just there as the token smart person. So I’d always send my friends off on some dumb expedition and then I’d sit back and wait, and then “solve” the mystery myself without doing any work. Not really a bad idea if you think about it.

  2. I find this article discouraging. People nowadays could learn so much from the 70s style, when letting your natural look flourish was O.K. ! Now-a-days kids wear a tee shirt with logos printed all over it, does not look as nice as collars (reasonably sized) and button-ups in anyway! Notwithstanding that the un-breathable fabrics and tight cut non-flexible clothing was hard to wear.
    Hi heeled man shoes aside, America was a nice place and people took pride in things! What are we proud of now, every junky thing we own that we bought from chiina? That avacado washing machine at your mother’s house will outlast a new one for sure! These practical relics can be passed down.
    Cheers to the people who keep the classiness of the 70s alive! An era of beauty.

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