Tag Archives: back in time

Back in Time, 80s style

15 Oct

The Safety Dance is Yale’s annual ’80s night. If you ever thought Yalies were too cool, too studious, or too worried about potentially embarrassing Facebook photos showing up in their future election bids to throw themselves into a ridiculous theme night, think again. Large scrunchies, unite!

Here is my personal step-by-step guide to making this night all that it can be, even as it turns me into a true one of these:


How to prepare for the Safety Dance, Part One: The Attire

1. Hit up a thrift store. Consider spending $5 for that neon fuchsia suit jacket. But is it really authentic ’80s? Here, you use a lifeline. “Ask the audience” results in one bored cashier raising an eyebrow. But “Phone a friend” gets you on the line with a true expert…

2. …Your mom! After all, she lived through this stuff, didn’t she? “Oh, honey, don’t bother buying that! I can bring you up something from my own closet. I’m sure I have something that would work.” Sure enough, the next day, she shows up with a purple blazer with PADDED SHOULDERS.

3. Celebrate your new acquisition. No one else in your suite has anything that compares to this gem.

4. Stop celebrating. Consider what said acquisition meant. Phone home immediately. “Wait. You mean you actually WORE THAT? Like, in your REAL LIFE?”

5. Time out. Public Service Announcement to all parents: unlike leggings and high waists, padded shoulders will never, ever, ever, evereverevereverEVER come back in style. You can move them from closet wear to dress-up box now. You really can. If you really need to be “hip” and find something “retro,” pretty please, look elsewhere.

(We still love you, though. Especially when we end up using said fashion mistakes as our main ensemble for the evening)

Part Two: The Songs

1. If you really want to know the words to all of the songs at the ’80s dance, you must either:

  • take lots of long car rides with your dad
  • wear large headphones and walk around in leather jackets moaning, “Rock is dead. It has never been the same since [insert standard top hits guy band here] broke up” all year long
  • spend the 48 hours leading up to the dance cramming as much decade-appropriate music into your Pandora playlist as possible

2. Warning: if you choose option three (and, given the alternatives, you will choose option three), you may find yourself incorporating strange phrases into your everyday vernacular. Much as travelers in a new place find themselves quickly picking up the local language out of necessity, you, too, will find yourself altering your speech patterns just to fit in. Example:

Normal person: “Come on, Jess, we have to get to dinner”

Safety dance prepper: “Toora loora toora loo rye ay

NP: “Oops! Wrong way, looks like we’ll have to turn around.”

SDP: “Right round like a record, baby.”

NP: “What time is your alarm set for tomorrow morning? Could you wake me up -”

At this moment, SDP, who has been patiently trying to control herself for the entirety of the conversation, loses her cool, finds the nearest platform, leaps up onto it, and breaks into glorious song that sounds a little something like this:

Part Three: The Dance

1. Channel Michael as often as possible. Yes, that Michael.

2. Do the sprinkler. The shopping cart. The “I’m trying really hard to make this look ironic but it’s really because I don’t have any other moves” Egyptian walk whether or not “Walk Like An Egyptian” comes on.

3. Above all, don’t forget to get a bit…

Speaking with the authority of a baby born in the last gasp of the ’80s (’89 shoutout!), I guarantee that these tips + a complete disregard for your personal image + the willingness to wail out the lyrics when you are freeeeeeeee(EEEEEEE….nope, still going…Eeeeeeee…almost done! which is good because your lungs are failing…EEEEEEEEE)-falling will add up to one night of everyone, including the adults out there, feeling forever young.

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