Don’t you forget about love


For Valentine’s Day, we’ve decided to turn to a time gone by for some romantic tips. A simpler age, before Facebook pokes, internet dating, sexting and iPhone apps pointing you in the direction of singles in your area.

We looked of course to the 80s, a time when boys had to call your home phone or impress you with a terribly clever computer trick. We lined up some classic sources for our 80s guide to romance, calling on many a John Hughes gem for inspiration, from Pretty in Pink to Weird Science, not to mention the likes of St. Elmo’s Fire and Say Anything.

For all the ladies, here’s some top tips for finding (and holding on to) romance, 80s style…


Never be prettier than your man. Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy and Lea Thompson quite frequently did well for themselves in love and romance and always wore their buttoned up baggies. You need to think less Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, more Bella and Edward. Essentially, baggy clothes = Hot!

You may feel frumpy with your figure hidden away underneath a shoulder-padded, masculine jacket and loose blouse, but rest assured this look tells guys you’re strong, sexy and know what you want.

And, if you’ve got a hot date, take Demi Moore’s advice in St. Elmo’s Fire and wear red – it drives men wild.

Bigger is better, when it comes to hair. The more volume you can get the sexier you are, think Julia Roberts, Melanie Griffith and Madonna. If  you step out with flat, lifeless hair, you can say goodbye to sex appeal. You might as well wear a sign that says you’re bad in bed. So get out that hairspray, back comb your hair and turn that boy’s head.

Speaking of hair, it was also totally ok to be ginger in the 80s. Think Molly Ringwald and Lea Thompson, as well as the sexy and strawberry blonde Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. So all the ginger ladies, put your hands up in the club and party like it’s 1985.

Consider your lover’s social status. In the 80s the class system was still very much in place, the divide between rich and poor was very clear, only the rich had credit cards, computers or mobile phones – if you like someone from the other side of the tracks you’re going to have to be prepared to fight for it and face the judgement.

Ladies with less cash dating a wealthy chap will have to put up with their friends thinking they’ve sold out and sniping comments from his rich friends and family, but if it’s worth it, make like Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink and show your love by ditching your best friend at the prom and getting passionate in the parking lot.

Likewise if you’re seeing a less than well off gentlemen,your friends and family are likely to question his moral fibre. But if you believe in him, do a Baby and show the world that he’s given you the time of your life.

If a guy takes you on a date to a French or Italian restaurant, he means business. He knows you’re special and he’s thinking long term. In the 80s European cuisine was still new and impressive, but most of all, a little extravagant and usually expensive – the type of place a guy would only take someone he’s really serious about. Think Emilio Estevez in St Elmo’s Fire, taking the object of his obsession, Andie Macdowell, out to dinner.

I bet you’re thinking differently about dinner at Pizza Express or Ask now aren’t you?

Lastly, and this one’s important – Andrew McCarthy is ALWAYS the answer! When he smiles, everything is right with the world, he’s the ultimate 80s dream guy, whether he’s an outsider at boarding school, a talented window dresser, a tortured writer or a baby-faced yuppie, he is always the right choice.

He’s the guy you didn’t suspect, with the great smile, and if you wait patiently enough you might just find your own Mr. McCarthy where you least expect him.

As for those lads looking for love in the decade taste forgot look no further….

Your best friend is almost certainly in love with you. Even though she’s making it obvious by wanting to spend all her time with you and through playful teasing, you have somehow not noticed yet. Probably because you’re lusting over the most popular girl in school, whom you just know, under that veneer of superior social status, is really like any other girl. Except, you know, pretty and rich. But this is all just fine – your attempts to win the supposed girl of your dreams will compel your best friend/actual dream girl to step up her game and claim you as her own.

Stalking is a perfectly valid romantic technique. Don’t take no for an answer. If she stands you up – even if she seemed noncommittal about the whole thing to begin with – track her down, in the pouring rain, through a snowstorm, the more extreme the weather the better, and rant and stare at her intensely so she understands just how serious you are. If all else fails, steal a passionate kiss to show her what she’s missing.

The sax = sex. Yes, saxophone players were the hottest musicians of 1980s, virtually all popular songs back then featured a sexy saxophone solo, from Duran Duran’s Rio to Spandau Ballet’s True. So if you hear some sax music playing, you could be in for some smouldering 80s action. In case you need any further convincing all you need to do is watch Rob Lowe is St. Elmo’s Fire.

And if you can’t play an instrument, holding a boom box above your head is an acceptable substitute. Ideally it should blast the song you took your lady love’s virginity to. There’s something extra delicious about waking up her controlling and sneaky father up to that particular tune.

Polish up those dance shoes. Groovy moves on the dancefloor = groovy moves in the bedroom later on, at least in a girl’s mind. Be prepared to look to unusual sources for inspiration, from getting lessons from the school’s runaway prom queen to watching some anthropological documentary instead of Bandstand. No matter how weird, if you pull it off with panache, everyone will be following in your freaky footsteps.

And if best friends and unattainable beauties aren’t doing it for you, try thinking outside the box. Have you considered kissing a mannequin to life, creating the perfect woman using a computer, romancing a mermaid, paying someone to pretend to be your girlfriend or dating your daughter?

All foolproof routes to romantic bliss, honest.

Above all, have faith. In the 80s, everyone who deserved it – i.e. not villains and mean girls – found true love eventually, often in the most unexpected places, and usually at the last possible minute. And if you’re a geek or outsider, your chances are improved tenfold.

4 thoughts on “Don’t you forget about love

  1. Big hair will never not be cool! And enough of your ginger-ism.

    I think another tip (a la Sixteen Candles) would be if that if you like someone you should avoid speaking to them at all costs, cos it’ll all work out in the end somehow.

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