Tapping into Gently Worn Spandex


"80s men spandex pants for sale"

That's what someone typed into Google and arrived at Cabbages, only to be disappointed by my serious lack of selection. (Sorry, dude! Rock on.)

And it crossed my mind that whether for personal fashion, or as a thoughtful holiday gift, previously-used spandex trousers-- no matter how well-intentioned the purchase, how well-laundered, or how much this gift might keep on giving--

Well, it still has a certain Ick Factor, doesn't it?

I mean, think about it. Spandex is made of fibers that would have Mother Nature raise an eyebrow, tug at that fabric once, and say:

"This is so not my work. Now pass the Parkay."
And unlike natural fibers, spandex pants do not breathe. Their whole goal is, like, vacuum-sealing. To snuggle up tight to the skin. Like some slick fluorescent sausage casing.

Which, technically, I guess they are.

So, let's say our friend the Googler finds just the right pair of Spandex beauties. Well, these totally awesome pants are likely to have a long history of being worn to Dokken concerts, on steamy outdoor concerts in July where everyone crowd surfed and played their air guitars and head-banged themselves into mild concussion.

These pants would have seen Life!

So I figure there'd be about a 50% chance that Life is still hanging out there in the fibers.

Crashing on the sofa playing Tetris...

Lip-synching...

Biding its time...

Waiting for a new owner to struggle into them and showcase his shiny black-and-neon-green splendor.

I mean, here in Pittsburgh, we still have guys embracing The Mullet and The Tail as important fashion statements. Who's to say that, like them, the 80s cooties just haven't realized decades have passed and never stopped partying on?

Who's to say they aren't ready for another encore?

Then again, hey, maybe Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls are getting back together to "Tap into America" for a holiday tour, and are just out pulling together a hot new wardrobe!

At this age, the lyrics to their hit "Big Bottom" might have to be changed a bit to discuss middle-age spread...

And the "Sex Farm" might have to be moved to the greenhouse at the retirement village...

But still. The Rolling Stones aren't gathering any moss. Who's to say Spinal Tap couldn't put the hair-band heaven back into "Hell Hole"?

In which case-- David, Derek, and especially you, Nigel-- if you really are out there planning that resurgence, and are looking for just the right pair of Spandex cellulite sucker-inners, then just remember, my dears...

Before you wear them? Turn that washing machine's "Extra Clean" cycle up to "11."

You'll thank me for it.
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PS- What 80s fashion do you folks hope won't dust itself off? Or what would you like to see come back?

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28 comments:

Shirley said...

Ewwww spandex! It all comes back. Year before last leg warmers, last year leggings, and previous to that bell bottoms. I'm waiting for the maxi dress which I used to wear to pretend I was Laura Ingalls Wilder. It wouldn't be pretty. :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Shirley- Yes, I'm seeing leggings here, too. And gosh, you totally reminded me of those Laura Ingalls Wilder print things-- I had some of those! Totally forgot about that.

ReformingGeek said...

Hum....The 80s was before business casual. It was a dress or skirt and nylons every damn day. No thanks. And I can do without the big hair.

Spandex isn't the only fabric that holds onto "ick". Some of the moisture-wicking stuff is pretty nasty. I would not wish my used running clothes on my worst enemy, even after multiple cleaning cycles.

rj said...

This holiday season
I was horrified to see --

7 ripped fishnet stockings,
6 giant plastic earrings,
5 upswept rattail dos....
4 longjohns under skirts
3 men in cargo pants
2 old Madonna garb,
----and some joker dressed up as one of Santa's elves.

Tiggy said...

I recently went to a hair band concert by aging Canadian rockers Helix. To my relief the spandex pants had been left at home.

It's a look only skinny young guys with a dill pickle down their pants can pull off.

Jenn Thorson said...

ReformingGeek- Yes, those moisture-wickers are basically the same ick. I would love to know exactly why the Googler wanted these Spandex pants!

RJ- Thanks for that swingin' musical interlude! :) And good points, as well.

Tiggy- Sounds like Helix knew where to draw the line-- lighters in the air for them. :)

freetheunicorns said...

This was so enjoyable as I love bashing spandex.

As for the mullet, no matter how unfortunate it makes you look, it will never die.

PS Leg warmers are making a comeback.

Da Old Man said...

Turn that washing machine's "Extra Clean" cycle up to "11."


That line just killed me.
:)

Jenn Thorson said...

FreetheUnicorns- You know-- I could have used your backup about the truth of leg warmers coming back recently-- I was insisting to someone I had seen them in stores and they just didn't believe me! (Though maybe they were just in denial.)

Da Old Man- I was sort of curious how many folks would even know what I was even talking about. I should have expected you'd get it!

Chat Blanc said...

the only proper treatment for previously worn spandex is to burn it! or melt it. whichever results from putting it near a blazing fire. :)

unfinishedrambler said...

Reading this made me want to listen to some hair bands, so that's what I'm doing. Thanks for the memories (not that I wore any).

My wife is sooooo going to post on this, because she's a HUGE Spinal Tap fan and will say something far more witty than I can.

Melanie said...

Ick Factor indeed! Ewww, like, spandex is like, sooooo gross!

LOL! I hope we don't see the shiny parachute pants make a comeback. And at this time I am not prepared to admit that I owned a pair.

Melanie said...

Oh and btw, Jenn, my lovely festive frig magnet came in the mail today. Love it!

I had to work all day at the post office, so I set it on the counter for all to enjoy. Lent just the right festive air to another cold day.

Drowsey Monkey said...

What a weird google search. I think that lurker needs to delurk. Come ... share.

Jenn Thorson said...

Chat Blanc- Or the clothes dryer!

Unfinished Dude- Aw, come on, we know one day in your misspent youth, before you joined the "Kenny Loggins Is A Great Soundtrack Artist" fan club, you were probably out there rockin' in leopard print Spandex. :)

Melanie- Oh, two of my guy friends in high school wore those perpetually. They wooshed everywhere they went. And I'm do glad the fridge magnet arrived. I bet your coworkers and clients were just absolutely gobsmacked by it's amazing good taste and beauty. :)

Drowsey- I imagine he was a one-hit Googler, since he had to be terribly disappointed by the lack o' Spandex to peruse here. A shame, really. I'd have enjoyed hearing more about his intended purchase.

Claire said...

80's fashion is disturbingly popular here at mo, including stirrup leggings. If that's what they are called? They look great on the select few, but on most folk they take no prisoners! yikes.

Maybe its an evil scientist looking to clone an aged rock star from the DNA in sweat that has been left in the spandex?

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- Now there's a theory!

It'd be a great way to get a new Axel Rose before the weight gain.

Or the drummer of Def Leppard before he lost his arm.

Or recover, well, whoever ODed in that band whose name is nobody remembered but they had a really big video.

DeadRooster said...

I am SPANDEX! I was a guitarist in an '80's rock band and had long hair down to the middle of my back (not a mullet, though, yuck!)

There might even be some spandex lurking in my ex-wife's garage--but, she can deal with their curse--I'm not going near them (or her).

Oh, and if THAT doesn't impress you, I've actually seen Spinal Tap live from the mosh-pit at the Universal Amphitheater!

Lidian said...

I don't know why I forgot This Is Spinal Tap on the best movies part of my last meme...because it is one of my favorites.

Love the washing machine turned up to 11! :)

JD said...

lava lamps?

or is that a 70's thang ....

Jenn Thorson said...

Rooster- I did not know an 80s rock celeb was in our midst! I think you need to show us lots of pictures on your blog of your heavy metal and spandex career.

In fact, I can't believe we didn't see them and know about this before now!! You are a man of many subtle layers. :)

Lidian- It really is a great movie-- incredibly well done. But I typically enjoy Christopher Guest's films.

JD- Well, they were still available in Spencers Gifts, but I do think they're considered more 60s/70s.

Babs (Beetle) said...

I didn't like the eighties fashions at all. Now I know why. I have a vision of a living, thriving mass of cooties in every Spandex crutch! Yuuuckkk!

ettarose said...

Spandex, nah, mullets, nah, parachute pants, nah. How about the pants that were cut to ribbons and cost a fortune?

Jenn Thorson said...

Babs- Heh, yeah-- sorry about that. :) Beware the Spandex.

Ettarose- Oh yes. I recall doing mine the old-fashioned way, though-- wearing them through, and THEN STILL wearing 'em. :)

Jonny's Mommy said...

Oh my Lord. Let spandex never come back as a popular fashion. There are just some things we don't need to see, ya' know.

That was a serious prayer, Father. I was not trying to be sacreligious! Look I can't even spell it! Dang it!

Jenn Thorson said...

Jonny's Mommy- Well, maybe you got the prayer in there quick enough that we've got a good shot at avoiding the resurgence. :)

Whatever helps, right? Otherwise, we're going to have to go rough up some chain store fashion buyers.

Chaotically Calm said...

80's fashion is all the rage lately...I must admit I have several pairs of leggings/tights in my drawers dying to break out. I heart the 80's in secret. But there is one thing I don't want to see come back.....shoulder pads ugh. Never quite understood the fascination to look like a line backer.

Me-Me King said...

I think I would like to see shoulder pads come back - I can pumped my shoulders up to give the illusion that my butt is not as big as it really is.