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Love in the Age of Scrunchies
If you're one of the roughly 39,503,203 people in the United States who was born between 1959 and 1968—meaning that in 1988, you were at least 20 but had not quite reached 30—today is the day to fake some kind of scar,y crippling gastro-intestinal illness and flee directly to the nearest multiplex. (If you are in any other age group, you could pull the same stunt, but you will have less of a historical impetus to justify your actions.)
One Day, the novel that charted the friendship/romance of a certain brilliant but befuddled Emma and a certain charming but self-destructive Dexter over the course their formative youth (and beyond) opens in theaters today, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. True, we swooned over their love story. But we also swooned over the portrait of a time—1988 to 1998ish—when one's 20s could be spent writing a never-to-published first novel on a typewriter with no correction key or writing love letters instead of "we r over" texts and—most vitally, missing life-changing phone calls because, geez, there was no such thing as a mobile.
But these are just the obvious markers of this generation. This was time when cool girls lived in Doc Martins (see photo left) and—going back to the book that birthed the movie—not-so-cool girls wore a certain accessory noticed by Dexter on Emma, circa 1991. "Why didn't she get contact lenses instead of those big ugly spectacles?....And velour scrunchies, she wasn't doing herself any favour with the scrunchies."
It was also a time when one small item telegraphs Emma's appraisal of the man she wants to love but can't (because he's not Dexter): "She watched him from the doorway, taking in...an inch of underpants visible above his track suit bottoms...She could see the words Calvin Klein against the brown hair on the small of his back and it occurred to her that this was probably not all what Calvin Klein had in mind." And then there are observations like: "Everything Emma knew about adultery had come from TV dramas from the Seventies. She associated it with Cinzano...and cheese and wine parties..."
There are far more profound reasons to see One Day, such as to revisit the emotional time period that exists for all of us, when we think we're all grown up (and perhaps aren't) only to realize, suddenly, alas,we are grown up—and stuck in it, no longer able to have realizations like "At her very, very lowest ebb she [Emma] had taken a course in Circus Skills until it transpired that she had none. Trapeze was not the solution."
Then again, sometimes a young romance, a turkey chimi-changa from a then-new upscale chain eatery, and a velour scrunchie can evoke an entire lost era—not unlike a few hoop skirts, a plantation staircase, and Scarlett and Rhett.
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