Confessions of a Teenage Dirtbag: Part 1

Hello Loungers! This week’s theme is “When I was a teenage dirtbag”

When I came up with this theme last week I was beside myself with suppressed glee. There was SO much to write about – the music, the people, the friends, the parties and of course the opposite sex!

But when I started to write it became apparent that there as far too much material to squeeze into one post. In fact so epic was it becoming that it was beginning to look like an early 90’s version of The Illiad. Certainly, there were some worrying similarities between the blokes hair-dos.

The Mullet.  This scourge of both the Trojans AND the men of early 90's suburbia.

The Mullet.
This scourge of both the Trojans AND the men of early 90’s suburbia.

I’ll be honest up front – there is absolutely NOTHING outstanding or different or even slightly unusual about my suburban teenage years. But that to me is exactly what is so great about them – teenagers with their overwhelming feelings and yearning for connection manage to make the most boring environment feel ALIVE with possibility.

So rather then take you on a forced march through my adolescence all in the one post, I thought I’d go for a full self-indulgent nostalgia-fest over several parts.

Mostly so I get to re-live all those feelings without having to skimp on the details.

But also maybe just in case my boys are ever interested in who their mummy was before she was mummy. And before I get too “senior” to remember all the juicy bits!

So this is Part 1 of my Odyssey into my teenage dirtbag years. I’ve started with a fairly tame subject… otherwise where’s the incentive to read the rest of the series? 😉

Confessions of a Teenage Dirtbag

PART 1 : Methods Of Communication

OK so mobile phones exist. In fact my Dad is one of the few people we know that has one for work. Except it’s called a car phone and it is an actual telephone that has been installed in his car!!!

But we’re years away from even the most basic flip-phones and the internet is barely a twinkle in the eye of some Silicon Valley geek-boy.

So how did the average suburban teenage girl convey vital information?

1. Notes

There are two kinds of notes. The first is hastily scrawled on ripped bits of exercise book or foolscap and is used to communicate messages of immediate urgency such as…

“Are you eating lunch with us today?”
“Can I borrow your protractor?

But the note that was guaranteed to send either a frission of excitment dread racing through your body was this one…

Receiving one of these was sure to liven up your maths lesson!

Receiving one of these was sure to liven up your maths lesson!

The second type is a longer, more detailed letter which is usually written at home and then delivered to it’s intended recipient the next day.

These types of notes are used when you need to tell your friend, how much you really, REALLY like someone that doesn’t even know your alive. They are also likely to include…

  • Margin art in the form of elaborate doodles and swirls
  • Professions of undying friendship i.e “WE R Friends 4 EVA!”
  • Signing of Mrs. (insert surname of crush here)

2. Telephone
Not content with seeing and talking to our friends all day it was imperative that we then debriefed the days events with a D&M (short for a deep and meaningful conversation).

As well as a communication device the telephone was the source of a constant power struggle between the teenager and the parents. Suburban parents sought to try and control use the phone as a bargaining chip to encourage positive behaviours such as studying and speaking pleasantly. Sometimes this was even sucessful!

This phone is identical to the one we had at home when I was a teen. I was surgically attached to this baby from 1990 - 1994

This phone is identical to the one we had at home when I was a teen. I was surgically attached to this baby from 1990 – 1994

In later teenage years the telephone became a double edged sword.
Without the benefits of caller display we were forced to actually answer the phone and simply take a punt on who was on the other end.

This meant that if you’d been avoiding a nice but irritatingly earnest young man with sweaty palms who you’d grudgingly agreed to go to the movies with then there was a good chance you’d have to talk to him if he rang.

By the time I was 18 I was forcing my mum to screen my calls. Poor Mum – I think at times she must have wondered what some of those nice young men saw in me!

3. Slumber parties
This probably seems more suited to a section on “Entertainment” or “Socialising”. I’ve put it in this section though because they were, in essence, MASSIVE talkfests.

Talkfests that were punctuated by the screams of teenagers being terrorised by Freddy Krueger.

I can see I’ll need to explain that one.

Slumber parties were HUGE especially in my early teens. Throughout the week plans would be made, parents would be hassled and movies selections would be made. These arrangements were of course all conducted via notes (see above).

Then come the weekend, anywhere from between 5 – 10 girls would descend upon the hapless home of the designated friend. Once all were assembled the conversation would turn quickly to the business at hand.


Which ones did you like and more importantly which ones liked YOU. Who would you pash if you absolutely HAD to pash someone? Who had a new crush, and who’d decided they were totally over someone who’d previously rated high on their pash-list.

And as we talked the night away for some reason we ALWAYS had some sort of horror movie on video in the background. I have a feeling it was because movie classifications were much more seriously enforced in those says and that these MA 15 + movies were considered “grown-up” but I can’t honestly remember.

What I do remember is pretending womanfully that Freddy Krueger did not give me nightmares for weeks afterwards, or made me slightly afraid to be home alone even during broad daylight!

Still gives me the heebie-jeebies 20 years later...

Still gives me the heebie-jeebies 20 years later…

So that wraps up Part 1 of the Confessions of a Teenage Dirtbag. Hopefully some of you may even front up for part 2 if I promise not to post any more pictures of Freddie!

The Lounge

Linking up with The Lounge – you should go check out their teenage dirtbag antics too!

32 comments on “Confessions of a Teenage Dirtbag: Part 1

  1. Sarah says:

    OMG …. It feels like a eternity ago … Protractor … Do they even still make them? Long live the car phone!!!!

    • Rachel says:

      They do! I was most amused at the beginning of this year when I saw one on Jack’s book list. I bet Papa Bear had a car phone too – would have been just his style 🙂

  2. Dude! I was so straight as a teenager that I most certainly DID NOT watch horror movies at slumber parties. I have not ever watched Nightmare on Elm Street and I probably never will. And there was no pashing for me either, but god I would’ve if I could’ve!
    This has brought back quite a few happy memories. Life was pretty good as a teenager – far from perfect, but I was lucky to miss out on a lot of anxiety (except about boys – why won’t they like meeeeeee?)

    • Rachel says:

      Seriously you did not miss much not watching old Freddy – he terrified me but I had to put on a brave face. And it should be noted that there was a lot of talk about pashing, but actual pashing was often a bit disappointing due to inexperience and over-exuberance on both sides! And anxiety was still there – we’ve all had those “why wont they like meeeeee?” moments (well I certainly did!)

  3. Oh my… at first I felt REALLY old, until I realised you were not talking about the mobile phone… but the far phone, then I was right there with you. Could have been my post!

    ‘One, two… Freddie’s coming for you…’

  4. I first saw Nightmare on Elm Street when I was 18. I think it was also the first night I ever drank gin (that’s another story). I can recall – and this is important information for the likes of Katyberry – that it was seriously, I-will-never-sleep-again scary, even for a gormlessly disaffected, gin-infused first year university student. I don’t know how a room full of Very Inappropriate teenage girls could have got through it without screaming a lot (or stealing some gin!)

    I eagerly await further instalments, which I trust will include some scanned teenage photographs of the author.

    • Rachel says:

      I don’t think I can think of a worse combination than a novice gin drinker and Nightmare on Elm Street. You must have really wanted to get messed up! There was quite a lot of screaming but a couple of my friends were hardcore horror fans who didn’t even bat an eyelid. They also inflicted “Child’s Play” on me. Remember Chucky *shudders*?

  5. Grace says:

    Bloody Freddy Krueger! He was forever in my nightmares after having a sleepover for my birthday (16th maybe??)
    I loved writing notes…and letters! That was such an awesome thing to do. Kids these days just send stupid selfies on Instagram…boooooring!

    • Rachel says:

      I’ve still got a few notes and letters from high school hanging around in a box somewhere. I couldn’t bear to part with all of them! I am so glad there was no Facebook or Instagram in our highschool days. I would have been in a WORLD of trouble 😉

  6. […] up with Rachel in #thelounge for a spot of teenage […]

  7. Sarah @ Slapdash Mama says:

    YESSSS! To it all! I have a vivid memory of being stuck on the end of the phone while a SUPER earnest young man from my music class played guitar and sang to me from his bedroom. For , like, a LONG time. God love him.

    • Rachel says:

      Oh god, I had a few earnest boys but none of them ever SANG to me over the phone!! I can just imagine you dying of mortification but not wanting to hurt his feelings. God love him indeed x

  8. Mumabulous says:

    Mullet or no – Eric Bana is freaking, absurdly hawt!

  9. I still have all of the letters that my best friend at school and I used to write to each other. We would fold them in intricate designs and colour the outside as well.
    I must have been badass or my parents were crazy (it’s probably a bit of both) but we started watching slasher movies when I was about 9. Loved them! Although one of my friends was petrified of all dolls after watching Child’s Play and I would have to hide my porcelain dolls because she was convinced they were watching her when were sleeping.

  10. I don’t have time to write a post on it today, but what I will say is all you Lounge ladies are going to love my book. It’s called “Returning” – can you guess what the returning is a reference to?! 😉

  11. Ness says:

    Love it. I was such a quiet, shy, nerd that I never really had any friends or did any of those things. In fact, the one girl who was meant to be my friend had a slumber party and didn’t invite me When I was upset about it, she told me it was because I was too quiet and she didn’t want to make me uncomfortable. Ahhh, what heart warming memories. Glad you had so much fun in your teenage year. Looking forward to Part 2. xo

  12. LMAO off, nodding my head, sharing this post of FB – NAILED IT Rach! Those notes, ahhh and what about when you write down say “Emily Hawt loves John Not ” and added up how many l’s in both our names, how many o’s etc and then got a percentage – WINNING! xxx

  13. Emily says:

    Ha, love it! Won’t get around to writing my own, and I wrote about a particular college escapade but nothing from teenage years to link up, I’m afraid. Thanks for hosting, though!

  14. rhian @melbs says:

    I am ashamed to say I have never seen a single Freddie Krueger movie. Still scares me too much to even think about watching them now! Great post.

  15. Geez, talk about bringing back memories! I remember when my dad got a mobile phone for work, it was the biggest brick you ever saw and the connection was so crap! But everyone at school was so awed wen e finally let me take it to school one day to show everyone, that’s how rare they were!

    And the laptop he got in 97 that was also ridiculously huge, but that I could connect to the phone line and dial in to dads work to access the Internet. Again, I was considered very cool for that!

    I still have so many of the notes and letters my girlfriends and I had wrote to each other. In fact we went through quite a few exercise books that we would pass back an forward to each other and decorate and fill with letters.

    Ahhhh, the memories! Great post!

  16. Kathy says:

    Love this post Rachel, but being slightly (cough) older than you I pretty much replicate this situation only into the mid-late 80’s (aghh). We also utilised copious notes – love the bit about the margin art – so much was in the decoration; used and avoided the phone (always a worry with the phone upstairs and downstairs that conversations might be listened in to). Ditto slumber parties. By 1991, I had met (and would later marry in 1995) a guy with the last name of Kruger (no relation to F. Krueger). My favourite? horror movie was ‘When a Stranger Calls’ – “the call is coming from inside the house”, Shriek! ‘tanks for da memories’ – I needed light relief today.

  17. ladydaadoo says:

    Fabulous!! I communicated in those ways as a teenager! I was especially good at notes. I still have a lot of my notes hidden away in the box of secrets.
    I loved this post. Very well written 🙂

  18. melbournemum1 says:

    God, things went all awry for me once I happened upon the Eric Bana pic. But cough, yes’m, this was good, sweaty but, cough good. Love your work as usual. Kx

  19. robomum says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!

  20. Alison says:

    My mother didn’t like saying I wasn’t home (my mother was a difficult bag who liked causing trouble if the truth be told). I refused to speak on the phone if I was avoiding people (le plus ca change…). So in the end, I started taking the phone off the hook, to her squeals of outrage. My argument was, I don’t want to answer the phone and you’re not going to force me to do it 🙂 Now, of course, I would just sit in the other room lackadaisically refusing to get up and let her deal with it. If I could turn back time…

    Ah, my teenage years, such memories. Mostly really awful ones 😀

    But anyway reading yours made me smile. And I am with Melbourne mum on the Bana pic. I caused outrage by stating firmly I fancied him a lot more than Brad Pitt in Troy. Bana’s got it all, whereas Pitt just has nice wrapping 🙂

  21. Lisa says:

    You’ve taken me back to the dark recesses of my mind. I may or maynot still have that note from “Duncan” (real name) when he rejected my advances at age 13. (I ended up being the same height as him 5ft2″ so I’m ok with that dice that life rolled me). And the phone I was attached to was rotary dial, which made it hard to rung in for the radio competitions which I did regularly! Popping by from The Rewind

  22. Meg Bignell says:

    Hello! Love it. Think I found a soulmate in inappropriate writings and Freddy Kruger. Except push button telephones were hot shot in my early years. we had a dial.

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Meg – I love your blog and can’t believe I’ve only just discovered it! We had a dial phone in the kitchen – the push button was the extension in my parents room. It was SO infuriating when you needed to try and call someone quickly. Freddy Krueger is the ultimate horror villain in my opinion, he still gives me chills 20 years later.

  23. I have a number of picture books for my toddlers that are now outdated- with pictures of old school telephones and televisions. But good to see the Mullet was still around for our recent holiday to Hervey Bay.

  24. haha this is like reading about…me! ah the memories 🙂 Thanks for that!

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