There are a plethora of 30th anniversary commemorations on the horizon. So many in fact, that starting with this post, I have decided to create a new blog category–30 Years Ago.
In 1980, I didn’t realize that Lisa Birnbach, the author, was being facetious when she wrote her popular guide to preppy life. Growing up, I was literally surrounded by people who lived the life that was detailed in the Preppy Handbook and I wanted to live it as well. Desperately. I saw the book as a how-to. As in, how-to achieve nirvana. Unfortunately for me, my parents didn’t feel the same way.
From my semi-bohemian perspective, the preps had it made! They played tennis and wore ducks and alligators on their clothes. They belonged to the country club and drank bloodies (whatever that was). They said, “Mummy” and “Diddy” and never lost their temper–well, not in public anyway. What wasn’t to like about that?
If I couldn’t live the lifestyle, I figured I could at least dress the part. So I repeatedly tried to convince my mother to buy me Lacoste clothing. No go. She and my dad didn’t want me to want to be just like everyone else. Plus those shirts were pricey and the alligator wasn’t all that special. Or so they told me. So I was left to memorize and lust after the ideals set forth in the Preppy Handbook. And that is exactly what I did, for about four years. Then I went off to college and began my several decade long affair, one that continues today, with the color black.
30 years later, I am grateful to my parents. I truly wasn’t cut from pink and green, whale-covered cloth (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And my parents gave me the room that I needed to figure that out. They did it by denying me–but that’s beside the point…
Do you remember the Official Preppy Handbook? Were, or are, you a prep? And if not, did you, like me, wish you were?