Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Sweet Smell of Chemicals Takes Me Back....


I was at the bookstore today when I smelled a fragrance that transported me to 1987. It was Shaper, the hairspray that all of the popular girls and wannabes at my high school were using copiously to fluff perms and elevate bangs in the late 80s.

If you went to high school or college in the late 80s - early 90s, then perhaps you will know what I am talking about. If you are younger, then God bless you, and remember to wear sunscreen. If you are older, then I was always jealous of you when you and your friends were hanging out with my smoking HOT 18 year old neighbor while I was but a wee 12 year old with braces and a flat chest.

Back to my point. This hairspray was magical, so magical that it crossed geographical boundaries. My friend who grew up in Phoenix coveted it, as well as my friends who grew up in Omaha, Tulsa and Kansas City. My friend from Laramie, Wyoming once had it taken away in lieu of grounding--it was so crucial to her daily routine and such a luxury item that to take it away was most punishing. Maybe its power was limited to the midwest? The smell was so distinctive and so intoxicating due to its high desirability among teens in the late '80s, and it was all but forgotten in my shriveling brain until I smelled it at the bookstore on the highly coiffed woman in front of me in line. I wanted to ask her about it, to share my joy in the aroma of Shaper, but was fearful that she would view me as a perv. So I remained silent and inhaled. I don't use hairspray and haven't for years, so I won't be buying it. Plus, it's an aerosol can and probably carcinogenic. But if someone turns its chemical-ly scent into a reed diffuser, I'm in. So glad to see it is still for sale and not in a time capsule in Wichita, Kansas, waiting to explode.

This picture makes me snort with laughter. Can it actually be real?
To those of you who are of the proper age, do you know of this? Did you use Shaper? If not, how did you get your bangs so high? Do tell.

Just one more thing. The woman in the picture looks so familiar to me. What's her story? Is she still with the guy (who is actually pretty cute minus the hair)? And the child--boy or girl? I swear that the mom and dad were voted "Cutest Couple" at my high school in 1987. I'm getting out my yearbook.

17 comments:

mamacita said...

Straight-up AquaNet, baby. I think it's a Texas thing. The girls with genuinely curly (not permed) hair used Aussie scrunch spray. I was a pretentious environmentalist as a pre-teen and would only use the pump bottle, with consistently disappointing results.

Pink Wallpaper said...

seriously, you are really funny! i totally used the Shaper hairspray and i think my mom would still use it if she could get her hands on it.

katiedid said...

What do you mean "used to"? Everybody needs a little spritz once in awhile!

fashiongirl said...

Never used it myself, but had a friend who carried it around in her purse. That's right she'd pull it out and primp the 'do. I always wondered what else she had in there ~ a salami? A new car?

Pigtown-Design said...

THe higher the hair, the dumber the girl.

I work with someone named Aquanetta. Seriously!

maison21 said...

please see my 80's photo- if it was available as a spray in the 80's, i used it. all of them at one time it would seem...
http://maison21.blogspot.com/2007/12/eeeek-not-chic-this-one-is-for-kids-and.html

erin said...

i had completely forgotten about using aussie scrunch spray, but it was awesome! now that i tame the curls into waves i use shaper plus and am convinced it's the best hair product in the world.

holy crap i just looked at maison21's photo!

SGM said...

Mamacita--"straight-up Aquanet" Sounds lethal! Does Aussie Scrunch Spray smell like sweetarts? I have a faint scent memory of it but can still see that purple pump bottle.
PW, where did you grow up? I must start tracking the range of Shaper.
Katie, just don't make it too crispy, girl. :)
FG, I knew a girl like that too!
PD-- NO. WAY. Her mama must have been inhaling Aquanet when she gave birth. Or something. There's got to be a great story.
Maison 21, Oooooh, I've already seen it! Your hair was seriously awesome (dude) and I totally would have fought Mrs. Blandings to be your girlfriend in high school (but not your lab partner, too flammable). Hope you're staying dry and warm now that the big storm has wiped out power for millions. Stormwatch '08 continues!

I am Trish Marie said...

My sister, five years older than I, had an addiction...and mile high bangs to match. Ooo, oooo and a perm. I almost lost a hand when I attempted to use it. How did I get caught? SHE SMELLED IT FROM THE OTHER ROOM! I never made that mistake again. Or ever acheived mile high bangs.

JJ said...

In Tulsa (circa 1986/7th grade) we used something called Stiff Stuff that was basically liquid glue that could be pumped from a bottle. Seriously, it COATED your bangs and left a skin of "clear" glue on them. Sadly, I was in a curly, wild-haired phase (see Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman) so I didn't get to use Stiff Stuff.

E, what was the name of the clothing brand where everything was, like, modular? It was all cotton and slightly stretchy. The belts were like a stretchy tube of fabric that you shimmied over your head. There were only like 5 colors of anything. Damn, I can't remember the name of it. Surely it was in Kansas, too... I'll figure it out.

mamacita said...

@JJ: Units! Oh, Units, how we miss thee.

d.Sharp said...

Shaper hairspray was the gateway drug for me. I later used Elmer's glue {and sometimes the vacuum hose attachment} to spike my hair in Jr. high.
Curious as to why the can of Shaper was always so huge. It should have come with ruler marks on the side, that way you could determine if you had reached maximum lift.

JJ said...

@mamacita: your mind is steel trap. Amazing. I was a loser - I didn't own a single thing from Units and I was so jealous of everyone strutting around in their matching, interchangeable wardrobe. ::sigh::

SGM said...

Trish Marie, it was worth almost losing a hand, wasn't it? As an older sister I can just imagine the wrath you suffered. :)
JJ, come give me hug. I never had Units either. GOOD call, Mamacita. I don't remember Stiff Stuff, but probably b/c I was blinded by Shaper.
d. sharp! Gateway drug? Ruler marks on the side? Honey, if you don't have your own blog, you NEED to start one and you need to let me know about it. You're funny.

Pink Wallpaper said...

shaper was way cool in GA

beachbungalow8 said...

we were all about sprtiz forte. sort of smelled like georgio perfume.

the new hair line by shiseido, smells exactly like it. my guy used it on my hair last time and i mentioned that.

i'm guessing shaper smells like spritz forte

My said...

This is the funniest ish I read all day. The picture is killer especially the kid. I can't stop lauging...