The Decade the Wethead Died

Posted by andrea - December 27th, 2006

It’s possible that not even many people who were alive in the Seventies will get the joke of my title… I was trying to think of something to illustrate the way even horror was flattened out into something banal… But don’t bother with me. Kathy Shaidle encapsulates the Seventies perfectly: “…that bitter, corrosive yet oddly sacharine pall.” Yep. That’s why every time another disco bunny who was born in 1981 came up to me and insisted “but the Seventies were fun!” I came this close to committing murder. Then I shoved a swizzle stick through each ear drum and it’s been sweet, sweet peace ever since. (Okay, just kidding — but that’s what I wanted to do for almost my entire childhood and teenage years. And I wanted to┬ápour lye in my eyes too.┬áNever to have to hear the laugh track again, never to have to see Sid and Marty Croft on my tv, never to have to endure the idea of the only shade of green being avocado…)


  1. Yep, I remember the “wethead” commercials. Manly men using hairspray….

    Us manly men also have selective hearing, so I can actually tune out the laugh track from an old episode of MASH. I cannot tune out the libtardian principles, though.

    I take it then, that when you have cable, TVLand isn’t one of your faves.

    Comment by Jeffro - December 27, 2006 9:34 pm

  2. Well, I have been rereading Lileks’ Interior Desecrations and nearly every page elicits an exasperated “Those fuking morons!”

    Appliances in only two colors - harvest gold and avocado - are the least of it. Remember the shiny wallpaper? Orange shag carpet? Shiny vinyl furniture (and clothing)? Polyester everywhere? Wide paisley ties? Collars that would get you airborne in a head wind?

    Somebody born after the seventies might see that book and say “But he’s just picking out the worst examples!” No, not really. Every urban and suburban home shared some of the execrable design motifs in that book.

    Comment by Skubie - December 27, 2006 10:35 pm

  3. Actually, I loved TVLand. I know that doesn’t make any sense.

    Comment by andrea - December 27, 2006 10:54 pm

  4. Skubie: I have that book. And I had the avocado-green velvet bedspread. (I naively asked my colorblind father to buy me a green bedspread for my birthday one year. I was deep into Tolkien by then, and imagined something in forest or pine green. But this was the mid-Seventies, and I got avocado.)

    Remember the orange and brown shag rugs that shed orange and brown yarn bits everywhere? You’d sit down on the floor and immediately collect a layer of that crap.

    Comment by andrea - December 27, 2006 10:57 pm

  5. It was 1973. I was in town from school (some short break), visiting friends, and we were drinking SnapEToms & beer. Lots of ‘em. I, umm, drank far too many. I threw up.

    Thank gawd for orange shag carpets.

    …I can’t believe I said that.

    Comment by brdavis - December 28, 2006 3:02 am

  6. They were at least highly absorbent.

    Comment by andrea - December 28, 2006 5:41 am

  7. Remember “the wethead is dead”? F’crissakes, I remember “a little dab’ll do ya”.

    ‘Tis true, though. Complain all you want about the 60s, the 70s were the very definition of “atrocious”.

    Comment by Ken Summers - December 28, 2006 11:15 am

  8. Avocado green refrigerator. But it could have been worse.

    Apparently it had been repainted; a ding on one corner exposed a layer underneath of fire-engine red.

    Comment by McGehee - December 28, 2006 8:07 pm

  9. Skubie, don’t forget the “platform” shoes. High heels for men! Whee! I’m 6′3″ and with them babies on, I was 6′6″ or more!

    Those shag rugs were only good for about a year, then they really showed the traffic areas and started matting. Great for bare feet immediately after installation, not so much later.

    Comment by Jeffro - December 28, 2006 9:41 pm

  10. Avocado green was the very least of the atrocities. That gawdawful orange was worse. But the very worst, excluding of course, the gold lame* clothing which is in a class by itself, was the multi-colored-sorta-plaid-with-bell-bottoms pimp pants. They looked like a rainbow threw up.

    *There should be an accent here someplace but I’m too lazy to look up how to do it and besides, I think “lame” seems appropriate.

    Comment by Ken Summers - December 29, 2006 9:28 am

  11. I knew somebody who wanted to get a little gold fork and wear it on a chain round his neck. I told him it was way too subtle.

    Comment by Skubie - December 31, 2006 2:47 pm

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