Growing up was difficult in the 80s, and here’s why.
1. Mobile phones
…Or rather, the absence of them. Nine point nine times out of ten, the only people owned mobile phones were rich and honestly looked pretty stupid carrying around their portable bricks anyway. The conveniences that come with owning one of today’s smart phone just simply didn’t exist.
There was a different form of messaging used between children in the 80s, however. It involved knocking on a friend’s door and asking if they wanted to come outside to play. The downside was that these messages were often intercepted by parents, who responded with: “No, she’s having her tea.”
There was also the problem of being a sweaty palmed teenager wanting to ask someone out over the phone. There was always that nerve-wracking wait as the phone rang where you just had to pray that it wasn’t her father that picked up.
2. Clothes could kill you
The mid-eighties gave us a particular item of clothing that was truly the epitome of sartorial elegance – the shell suit. Puffy and garishly coloured, we’ll never be able to forget them. But these beautiful two pieces not only induced neon related headaches, but were actually made of a highly flammable material.
Their popularity started to die off around the mid-90s, but up until then shell suits served as an urgent reminder that you shouldn’t play with matches.
3. Staircases were terrifying
Bedtimes were even more of an ordeal back then thanks to these wooden nightmares. Many children of the 80s will still toss and turn remembering that their stairs used to have huge gaps between them, meaning that it was easy for their tiny bodies to slip through and fall all the way onto the laminated hall flooring.
Seriously, who designed those things?!
What’s worse is that they appear to be making a comeback, as the modernised 80s staircase above shows. Good luck…
4. Video games
Playing a video game wasn’t as simple as hooking up a console or turning on an iPad. For most, a trip down to the local arcade was the only way to satisfy those gaming urges. To reserve your turn at Pole Position by putting a 10p next to the joystick whilst a scary bigger kid was playing it was a courageous act indeed.
If you were lucky enough to have a games console at home, they were certainly no Xboxes. Cassettes were once used for things other than listening to music, and words like ‘Commodore’, ‘Atari’, ‘Spectrum’, and ‘Amstrad’ were only used by those privileged few at school.
5. Information superhighway
Think the internet didn’t exist in the 80s? Think again – it also came it two obviously superior versions.
That’s right, we’re talking about Teletext and Ceefax.
They just don’t make them like this anymore.
When it came to pudding, there were only two options: Viennetta or Angel Delight.
Without dessert diversity, the creative few also tried to mix vanilla ice cream with some Skittles, which never actually turned out as good as they thought it might. At least they tried.
7. Mr Frosty
It didn’t matter how often or how vehemently you wished for a Mr Frosty, you’d never receieve one. This was one snow cone making machine that may well have been the stuff of legends.
There were rumours that some kids managed to get one somehow, but then again those were the kids that did say Mr Frosty wasn’t as great as he seemed in the Argos catalogue, so they were probably lying.
8. Patrick Swayze
There wasn’t a boy alive who didn’t want to be this guy when he appeared in Road House, and all the girls wanted a boy like him when he was in Dirty Dancing.
When we look back, we realise that no one ended up living either dream.
Life really was hard.