Chapter 234 How Thoughtful Husband Earned His Nickname, Or, 80’s Night

WARNING:This post contains a discussion of 1980s New Wave Music. Full disclosure: I still love it. Don’t worry; I also now like many other types of music, but the 1980s music is the soundtrack of my teenage years, and it holds a special place in my heart.

I don’t know if I’ve ever told you that I have known Thoughtful Husband for a very long time. We met at a high school dance held at the beginning of our junior year of high school. It was only two days after I turned sixteen, and we were introduced by a neighbor of mine. I didn’t know at the time that he would eventually become my husband. At sixteen, marriage was the farthest thing from my mind and his.

In fact, after I had dated him a few months, I remember my mother telling me, “We like him, but we feel that, at sixteen, you two are too young to date each other exclusively. When you’re young, you should take time to meet and date a variety of people.”

Filled with more than the usual amount of teenage vitriol, my sixteen-year-old self retorted, “Get off my back, Mom! I’ve only gone out with him for a couple of months. It’s not like I’m going to marry the guy or anything!” (Hi, Mom. Remember this discussion? Since I did marry him, I will now happily eat my words. Delicious!)

On December 15, 1984, my favorite band (at the time), U2, came to San Francisco, featuring The Waterboys and new band The Alarm as the opening acts. British New Wave music was all the rage here at the time — if you were a California teenager in the 1980s, you surely already know this, but if you weren’t, then I’m here to tell you. British bands were huge in America then. Their awesome synthesizer music, their overly-earnest, anthemic lyrics, and — of course — their crazy 80s haircuts were the best. U2 was just beginning to hit it big in America, and their concert, to be held at the very small San Francisco Civic Auditorium, immediately sold out.

This was my favorite album in 1983/1984.

My local record store (remember, this is in the days when we did not buy tickets online) sold out of tickets early. I did not get tickets. My best friend and a few of my other friends were lucky enough to get tickets.

I was crushed.

Thoughtful Husband, who I’d then known for all of three months, decided to give me an early Christmas present. He presented me with a card in an envelope.

Inside the card was . . .

exactly one ticket to the U2 concert on December 15, 1984.

“I couldn’t afford tickets for both of us,” he said, trying to explain why only one ticket was in the envelope. Thoughtful Husband worked after school, during evenings and weekends at a local deli. He was not exactly swimming in loads of cash, and I knew that the single ticket, likely purchased from scalpers, probably cost him a pretty penny. And he wouldn’t even be able to go to the concert himself.

“I thought you could go with Jen,” [my best friend, who had been lucky enough to get a ticket when they went on sale] he told me. “You guys will have a great time.”

It was at precisely this point that Thoughtful Husband earned the title of Thoughtful. Even though he was, at the time, only Thoughtful Boyfriend. It was also a grand enough gesture that I first had the thought, “This guy’s a keeper.”

Flash forward to 2008.

Last Thursday night we went to a concert at the Saratoga Mountain Winery with some friends we’ve known since high school. Actually, I’ve known one of them since pre-school, but that’s beside the point.

The bands were all from the 1980s: The English Beat (one of our favorites, and I believe that in the U.K. they were simply called The Beat), The Fixx, and the band who had opened for U2 way back in 1984 — The Alarm.

The Alarm in the 1980s

The English Beat in the 1980s

It took a lot of planning to get out the door — babysitting and dinner for the kids, coordinating with other friends who had to get babysitting for their kids. Thoughtful Husband had to rush home from work early. At least we could all afford tickets now (concert tickets are so much cheaper and easier to find 25 years after a band has reached its peak fame).

Surprisingly, I still remember all the lyrics to all of the songs. It’s scary how quick they came back to me. Holding a glass of Zinfandel (the concert was at a winery), singing the lyrics, and dancing with my long-time friends, who’ve known me since I had a horrible assymetric 80s haircut which covered my eye and to which my brothers used to derisively refer as “The Cyclops”, I felt really lucky to still have all these people (not the least of whom is Thoughtful Husband) and this music in my life.

The Fixx, in the 1980s. My “cyclops” haircut looked a lot like the guy on the bottom left. I can’t believe I thought it looked cool. I can’t believe Thoughtful Husband ever found a girl with this haircut attractive.

One of the lyrics from The Alarm’s song, “Sixty-Eight Guns” is, “Nothing lasts forever, is all they seem to tell you when you’re young.”

Perhaps nothing lasts forever. But lasting almost 25 years feels pretty good. Thanks, TH, for the concert ticket you gave me two and a half decades ago. That’s when I gave you my heart.

Thanks, readers, for reading my prattle about Thoughtful Husband and days of yore when you were likely expecting a bookish post. Listening to all this old music makes me nostalgic. Is 80’s New Wave Music the soundtrack to any of your teenage years, dear readers? I’ve little idea in which decade you grew up. What bands were your favorites?


Filed under A Family Business, Uncategorized

10 responses to “Chapter 234 How Thoughtful Husband Earned His Nickname, Or, 80’s Night

  1. WM

    What bands were your favorites?

    Even though I’m Canadian, I’ll plead the fifth. HOWEVER:

    Favourite Dead British Band: The Smiths

    Favourite Dead American Band: Pixies*

    Favourite Living British Band: Franz Ferdinand

    Favourite Living American Band: The Walkmen

    *They stopped being dead. But having been dead, they win anyway.

  2. In the 1970’s when I was 12 years old, I was introduced to ABBA. Due to circumstances and my location, I never got to see them live, but I still remember all the words to their songs. Just a few weeks ago (over 30 years later) I went to see the musical movie (starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan) called Mamma Mia. I thoroughly enjoyed it too. Abba will always be my favourite music group.

  3. I was a teenager in the 1960s (in Australia) and I was crazy about Elvis, Ricky Nelson, Johnny O’Keefe (Aussie) but the ones I still listen to from that time are Simon & Garfunkel, Joan Baez, Peter Paul & Mary, and the Beatles. The older you get the more you love the music of that golden dawn of your life. To BiblioHistoria: I saw Mamma Mia a couple of days ago and enjoyed it too. ABBA was my eldest daughters era and I have fond memories of her excitement at being allowed to stay up and watch an ABBA concert on TV when she was about ten years old.

  4. I love ABBA, too. Haven’t seen the movie Mamma Mia yet, but did see it performed as a musical play. Lots of fun!

    And WM, I liked the Smiths and the Pixies as well. That Johnny Marr is good with the guitar.

    Thanks for your comments everyone!

  5. Jill

    Hi Chris,

    I’m a bit older than you, but was completely into the 80’s bands and was lucky enough to see groups like Eurythmics, Joe Jackson, The Cure, Psychedelic Furs, New Order and Echo and the Bunnymen in concert during their heyday. I still have the ticket stubs (another collecting obsession along with books) and still love the music. I saw Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits last month in Berkeley and almost started crying from the happy memories he brought back to me. I read your previous post about your music collection, and we have very similar eclectic taste. Music feeds your spirit, just like reading books.

    You are blessed to have such a TH – what a nice post!


  6. I love all those bands you mentioned. It has been such a long time since I thought of Echo and the Bunnymen! Thanks for the memories!

  7. Cathy

    Hi Chris, I would guess that post will mean a great deal to TH. Personally, I’m so glad we met about 19 years ago and that your musical taste extended to Bruce Springsteen. If I recall correctly, we’ve seen Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young … Simon and Garfunkel … Paul McCartney … and then Bruce so many times. All the concerts were good, but there’s only one Bruce. 🙂 Cathy

  8. Thanks, Cathy. Thanks to Cathy, I was introduced to the music of the 60s and 70s during the 90s. She has been my most faithful concert-attending friend. We’ve seen Bruce Springsteen together at least five times, probably a few more than that. Basically, whenever he comes to the Bay Area, we go.

  9. WM

    My email .sig for a long time was:

    There’s more to life than books, you know
    (But not much more)

  10. kenhotlanta

    I grew up in the 50’s and like music from Big Band through some of the 90’s. My all time favorite album is “Born To Run”, and my all time favorite song is “New Years Day” from that War album in the picture.
    Music and concerts make great memories!

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