As the hike began , Charles said to Vi, “My you’re traveling light, Violet. No perfume? No nail-polish remover?”
Violet, wanting to set an example for her girls, stayed calm and peaceable and said, “We’re only staying out one night.”
Charles hit his chest in pretend shock. “You mean, you can last an entire night without Sweet Mauve Apple cheek color?”
* from – Camp Girl-Meets-Boy – by Caroline B. Cooney. – Bantam Starfire – 1988
I suppose that in the 80’s some authors took a look at the material girl and longed for yesteryear when the 70’s flower child wore her hair long loose – and mousse free , when faces were only painted with peace signs and clothes were hand woven , hand made , not stitched over with designer names ,they must have been, for occasionally the dream girl , Ms. Makeup herself was thrown into the wild sans lipstick. Sweet Dreams offered up this have hairspray will travel idea ( often undr protest ) with the book Lovebirds written by Janet Quin-Harkin ,1984. It was a little like thrusting a Valley Girl into the forest ( if a model in the woods discovers she’s without hairspray will anyone hear her scream? will anyone care ). The main character is Tiffany Johns who declares right off the bat she wants to be a fashion model and always takes the time to do her face perfectly. Her mother is all set to marry one of those creepy stepfathers ( the ones with the bad comb overs and the mistake of wearing a baby blue turtleneck over a rather fat belly ,harmless but, well, in the material world, dorky. ) Tiffy as her mother calls her is being gently pushed into going to stay with her estranged father and brother for the summer. Her father is a director and is planning on filming in the wilds of Australia. Tiffany bewails leaving her boyfriend Greg behind – out of all the girls he could’ve picked he chose me.
Her mother nails this attitude in one stunning paragraph.
‘ “Tiffany, I guess I just don’t understand. If you really liked the boy, I could see why you’d be upset. But if this is just a matter of status, how can you care about one date with him than an extended visit with your father and brother?”
Well she does wether it makes sense or not. However for the sake of the story she does go to Australia packing enough clothes to stay forever and forgetting that there is a weather change. She has brought no light clothes and wonders what will she wear. Her father helpfully suggests she go buy a couple of pairs of shorts for the trip leaving her aghast. A couple of pairs of shorts?! Janet Quin-Harkin captures
Australia’s beauty with some lovely , vivid descriptions – a carpet of blue trees in the distance , dust that floats behind their expedition like a yellow ribbon , a transparent blue sky like tinted glass but all is wasted on the selfish Tiffany who struggles to run a comb through her bug matted hair and kicks up a fuss when they want to put an abandoned baby kangaroo in her backpack ( they’d just witnessed it fall out of it’s mother’s pouch and are on their way to a koala reserve.) , they tell her to dump out her stuff and she is outraged and says to her love interest – ‘when does a baggage boy give orders to the bosses daughter?!’ which is when she learns that he is not a lowly helper but the son of her father’s financial backer.
Tiffany learns of course to let go of her materialistic ways which includes making bias snap judgements on people ( she takes one look at their guide / cook with a face like a prune and
cynically knows ‘she won’t have a weight problem on the trip because she’s not going to eat anything he cooks’ – later she’ll become genuinely worried about him when he slips into a fast rushing stream.) , she even manages to stop being so self absorbed and be more aware , open and concerned about the world around her especially the safety of the animals. When a bush fire sparks up and they are only able to rescue some of the koala bears, others had to be left behind having crawled to the treetops out of Tiffany’s reach (yes she actually scampers up a tree! ) barely leaving time for the group themselves to get out of harms way, Tiffany the real Tiffany emerges high spirited , spunky and caring. Just before her competition comes blazing in from a helicopter – like her former self.
A shallow nitwit, Pamela, swings in dressed to impress – in pale pink shorts matching halter and long almost white blonde hair to reclaim her ‘boyfriend’ Tiffany’s outback hunk, Bruce Dawson. Right when Tiffany is feeling her grubbiest – sun burnt, peeling nose , sooty , scratches , frizzy hair and freckled. Interestingly Tiffany never sees herself in this girl but as soon as Pamela enters the picture she basically writes herself off as no competition for such a dazzling , rich girl. ( lack of make-up? Lack of designer wear? Or the only thing that seems to be mentioned lack of money? Status appears to be the driving force – like most 80’s underlying plots richies stick together.) After the flash fire comes, of course, a flash flood driving the expedition up onto a dry patch of land and causing Tiffany and Bruce to set off for help , Bruce just wants to be alone with Tiffany and she just wants to impress Bruce. And they have that Sweet Dreams moment , that final connection where Tiffany knows she’s not just a friend anymore and they share a sweet kiss clutching each other atop an ant hill. Yes, an ant hill. Pamela swoops in again on her helicopter but this time Bruce waves her away claiming we don’t want to be rescued. Even Tiffany is content in the mud with ants swarming her legs saying goodbye to her artificial world which she dreads returning to and in the end you’re not surprised that she’ll stay with her down-to-earth father and not return to her often pretentious mother. Good story! Filled with lots of Australian imagery -pink parrots , cockatiels , gum trees , maggies and of course kookaburra. That word always brings to mind Carrie Fisher in Sunday Drive ( member that Disney movie in the 80’s ) and she longed to go to Australia and has this one lovely moment where she sings the kids to sleep with the kookaburra song – kookaburra sits in the old gum tree… merry , merry king of the bush is he…
A teen’s world without makeup – the idea was returned to in a First Love from Silhouette book ( or rather a Blossom Valley Book ) called Lover’s Lake by Elaine Harper -1985.
This is one of my favorite FLFS books the cover is marvelous! I love the sensuous heavy lidded look the model is giving while bending her arms back to wrap around her sulky looking boyfriend who resembles a naughtier, underage version of Tom Cruise. She is wearing sunset pink eyeshadow , coral lipstick and a vibrant Hawaiian shirt.
The story is pretty simple Chrissie Quayle bored with the way her summer vacation is going cooks up a scheme along with her friends the Norwood Triplets – Adam , Arthur , and Amy and Amy’s boyfriend Jack to have some fun. She’ll invite them to come with her family to their cabin up at Lover’s Lake but secretly folks she just wants to get cozy with Adam Norwood the most charismatic of the bunch. For a while the idea is a go until her mother decides to cop out ( Chrissie’s words straight out to her mother who exclaims what an expression! ) for a more promising trip , Stephanie her ambitious older sister has been offered a t.v. commercial for Peachy-glo cosmetics ( lucky it wasn’t Tofu-glo ) and needs a chaperon.
Chrissie comes from a family of beauties her older sister Stephanie is on her way to becoming a professional model after a few local beauty pageants while Chrissie has had it drilled into her that all she needed to do in the world was look beautiful and everything would come to her. Well that’s all fine and dandy for a doll but it leaves Chrissie with the responsibility of snuffing her spontaneity. When Adam climbs up in a tree and makes Tarzan noises she longs to climb up with him and declare “me , Jane.” only she dare not , she might get mussed. Bummed but not for long the group spots a set of chaperones. Janine and Craig Matthews, young newlyweds and Jack’s sister and brother in law. And even though Janine is bursting the seams of her muumuu, the baby is do in five weeks, they decide to go for it.
Adam is one of those go-getters he’s got an intense gaze ( it’s he that puts the young married couple on the spot ) , he’s outgoing but seemingly hard-to-get and out of reach – He’s starting a pressured kid’s hotline at school ( yes one of those types ) , but Adam though a bit of a refreshing delight he’s not without flaws he’s a bit superior in attitude and though Chrissie seems egocentric even she must knock him down a peg or two. When Chrissie compliments him on his accomplishments ( he’d started a dating service to encourage shy and anti-social types to join the fun and now the pressed kids hotline ) and offers to help out – Adam can only backhandedly say that he’d doubt if she’d be able to understand anyone ordinary it takes someone like himself to understand peoples problems. But Chrissie takes this simmeringly after all he does heap on – that she’s rich, beautiful, popular. She can’t be too mad.
Chrissie’s nemesis comes in a rather strange package, she really doesn’t have any competition accept for Adam’s attention ( he is after all a fixer and in walks an interesting project.)
Kiola and Walcott Mackenzie – don’t you just love those names ( I’m seriously going to do some articles on 80’s names this book has a real great side nugget about names. ) Kiola is Chrissie’s cabin-mate the rather clingly slightly obnoxious ( read harmlessly nerdy ) girl and her brother Walcott from the cabin near by. She is plump with dark red curly hair like little Orphan Annie. She’s the type that just walks right into the cabin and declares ‘”gosh I’d didn’t know you’d have so many cute guys here.”’
Chrissie makes the mistake of accusing Adam of encouraging that pest ( Adam said to Kiola maybe we’ll see you up stream – on their fishing trip ) and goes on a tirade of how her sister and her spent most of their vacations trying to ditch those two creeps. Adam is all aha – I told you so , after all if Chrissie can’t be kind to a couple of creeps how could she possibly help out at the pressured kids hotline. He then goes on to say – just cause they’re not cool looking like your friends back home whereas I , I’m sensitive to her problems.
Chrissie has a terrific moment here – her shiny knight is a wee bit tarnished – ‘Chrissie exploded with fury inside. So Adam , who had come up to be her guest was planning to spend his time psychoanalyzing the boring Mackenzies!’
Finally Chrissie simmers down and decides to give the Mackenzie’s a chance if only to impress Adam ( or rather to get him to see she’s not an insensitive snob. And tries looking at them through Adam’s eyes. ) but jealousy boils over when Adam calls Kiola , Ki.
Chrissie feels her heart ‘squeeze into a dry little wad of hopelessness.’ mainly because she has a hard time playing it Adam’s way – she wants the Mackenzie’s gone and the attention to focus back on her what she doesn’t grasp, quite yet, in the story is that when she does accept Kiola she’ll win Adam’s approval. Chrissie gives what the reader waits for – she gives Kiola a make-over. I love one of the lines in the makeover – ‘She hadn’t made Kiola beautiful , by any means – that just wasn’t possible given the raw material Chrissie had to work with.’ instead it goes onto read she eliminated Kiola’s cloddish look and tamed her maroon colored hair.’
Chrissie however has not fully turned over a new leaf she is delighted when the ‘pests’ are gone for the day and gets decked out in aqua shorts and a lacy blouse for a canoe ride with
Adam. But during a romantic swim when Adam refuses to get romantic Chrissie immediately blames her image , sopping hair , runny makeup I must look a mess! on his reluctance. But finally on their canoe ride Adam says some pretty romantic stuff- ‘“the reflection of the water on your face is beautiful Chrissie,” “as if something is glowing inside you.”’
Their fast blooming romance comes crashing to midhalt however when Janine is ill i.e. going into labor and Chrissie and Adam must run down the mountain to get help. Chrissie’s lacy blouse , flimsy shell sandals are no match for their journey by the end she is covered in sticky tree resin , scratched up her blouse torn , her hair a scuzzy mess , her make-up washed away. ‘She hated for Adam to see her this way’
But when she says I’m such a mess he says ‘ no you’re not. …you seem- I don’t know-more real than you were….Like at school or whenever I saw you with Amy , you were more like a doll or some kind of model or maybe a movie character. You know with your fancy clothes, and your shiny hair with every curl in place, and always smiling. Unreal. Out of this world.’
But the time they manage to find their way back after getting hopelessly lost Janine has already had her baby and Chrissie rather likes the casual look but takes a shower but doesn’t reapply her makeup -‘approachable was what she aspired to be , so that Adam would always be hovering nearby.’ Loved it! Loved it!
Their were some movies in the 80’s of demolishing a beauty sometimes reinventing her while doing so – Overboard had Goldie Hawn in new wave sunglasses a ridiculous bun and tacky ensembles before plot devise put her in a shaggy page boy , blue jeans and toned down make-up , Molly Ringwald in her little-known role in the movie Packin’ It In goes from a valley girl with pink hair and matching make-up to the out doorsy look washing out the pink and washing off half the makeup. Romancing the Stone had Kathleen Turner’s Italian heels chopped off with a machete and her severe bun barely surviving a treacherous mud slide which later trickles down into ravishing glowing blonde locks , even her wardrobe gets a boost beige skirt suit is abandoned for a cool gypsy skirt and blouse much like the buxom characters in her romance novels. Inner beauty eventually shines through – with the help of aux natural colors like peach and pale pink and well you get the idea.
Hope you like the pic’s! Some show the excess of make-up while the terrific Maybeline
ad shows how to look like a real Wonder woman ( okay you can groan at the pun – yes that’s Linda Carter in the ad !)