What teenager who grew up in the 1980s doesn’t remember ‘Girls Just Want To have Fun’ by Cyndi Lauper? As an eleven-year-old, I thought Cyndi was amazing. After all, she had pink and orange hair! As a child, I had always been taught to be respectful, to have manners and to toe the line. And here was this strong, independent woman who didn’t seem to have a care as to what others thought of her. My mother wasn’t very impressed – with her – or with the song.
“Sounds like a cat being strangled,” was her take on it.
I thought otherwise – and chose to have it blasting out on my record player at every opportunity. I seem to remember it causing the odd row, with Mum often shouting up the stairs, “Will you turn that racket off!”
Over the years, as I grew up and then went on to start a family of my own, I didn’t think about Cyndi too much even though I heard ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ on the radio now and then.
Though, it was a song I was to share with my teenage daughter – whether she liked it or not – when we went to Florida a few years ago.
International Drive, which is also known as I-Drive, a major 11.1-mile thoroughfare and the city’s main tourist strip, is part of Florida we got to know very well. We would often catch the I-Ride Trolley (a bus which travelled up and down I-Drive all day stopping at various points along the way). What has the I-Ride Trolley got to do with ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun?’ Well, it seems they like to play the song on the Trolley – over and over and over again. It appeared to be on a loop and that loop wasn’t stopping anytime soon.
My daughter coped well at first. Then after hearing the song a few times, her face took on a sort of grimace. “What the hell is this song?” she said. “Who on earth likes something like this?” And “Why on earth can’t they stop playing it and play something else!”
I think I looked a little hurt; I was sure there were songs she thought were currently fantastic that in years to come, she’d cringe at. Not that I was cringing at Cyndi. How could I? It was ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’.
By the end of a fortnight’s holiday, the grimace had turned to looks of anguish and of someone undergoing the worst torture possible. She survived, especially when I pointed out to her that there were far worse songs of the 80s. I may have to play her ‘The Birdie Song’ by The Tweets sometime…