Very, very early in the 1980′s jeans became high fashion clothing. Famous designers started making their own styles of jeans, with their
own labels on them. The first summer of 1980, there was one very coveted item. Hard to buy, imported from the USA, and rare as hens teeth.
Roger Vadim shorts.
Coveted, adored, worn by the in-crowd and too expensive for what they were, Roger Vadim shorts came in varying shades of chambray and denim. Mine were pale, pale washed denim with huge white daisies painted on them. Nice high elasticised waist and scoop cut on the thigh, they were to die for sexy if you could score a pair.
I saved and saved for weeks and when I brought them home from Jeans West I thought I had the coolest bum in the entire world.
On this par-tic-u-lar day, I teamed my new mega coveted RV shorts with a white batwing t-shirt (ooh yeah), a wrap around belt over the very high waist, white canvas boat shoes and white Jonathon Sceats sunglasses. Oh yes, I was a hip chick in the 80s, baby.
Back to this par-tic-u-lar day, me and a small select group of other cool dudes were off to cycle the pathways of Perth City. We’d hire a cycle from the van near the helipad by the Causeway, cycle over the Causeway, along Mitchell Park, over the bridge and along to Kings Park. From there, we’d cycle up and along Mounts Bay road, into Forrest road, around the back towards the lakes, down past the brewery and along the foreshore back to Causeway. We’d done it many a time.
It was a gorgeous day. It had rained earlier but now the sun was high, and in usual Perth style the heat turned the damp muggy. The breeze on the skin as we cycled along was bliss, and I felt a million bucks. I’d already had comments from 2 girlfriends on my ability to manage to score such coveted shorts. So there I was, cycling away smugly, arse a-waggling in my RV shorts laughing and calling to the crowd – especially one young fellow brought along by a friend. I met him for the first time that day, thought him rather cute and was trying to impress. I was hoping, in my naïvety, that my ability to acquire RV shorts made me cool enough to be in the running. (Did I mention I had RV shorts? I did, you know).
Anyhow, as we headed down past the Mounts Bay hospital I took the second to lead place in the line as the path became slim. Single file was the order. Everyone, bar my friend Sharon was behind me (no doubt in awe and silent jealous seethe over my RV clad bum). I took great advantage of this. I gave an extra waggle and looked back over my shoulder to make sure my waggle had the desired effect.
Which meant I was not looking forward.
There’s an elbow in the bikeway that passes beside the hospital – you may know the one. It takes a sharp right just as the decline emerges from the bushes, giving the riders and walkers on the path a spectacular view of the ponds and lakes and waterpools that made up the wetland area beside the Swan.
Only you can’t actually see that elbow if you are looking back to make sure your RV shorts are having the desired effect.
The elbow also offered a spectacular view of my RV clad bottom as it shot off the end of the cliff and through the air and over the handlebars of my bike – straight into the weed infested slimy waters of the duck pond several meters below.
Only a meter or so deep, full of slime and covered in lilypads and pond flowers, the pond was home to mosquitoes, ducks, frogs, slimy icky things and now, me. Ducks flew up around me quacking loudly. Horrified, I peered up through the black slime on my face to see my friends almost hysterical. They had to form a human chain to help hoist me – and the bike – out.
I never managed to wash the smell of the pond or the blackness of slime out of those shorts. Covered in reeds, weeds and slime, I had to walk the bike 3 kilometers back to the helipad as the front wheel was so bent. I was charged $25.00 for repairs to the wheel spokes on the bike. I lost my Jonathon Sceats sunglasses to the ducks, who probably used them for nesting. It took 2 hours to untangle the weeds and reeds from my hair and several bottles of listerine mouthwash to convince me I was not going to die of pond muck poisoning instead of embarrassment.
On a recent trip home I ran into that bloke. He married my friend, Sharon. I wondered if he’d remember me. He looked at me, smiled and said “I remember you”. He spoiled my romantic memory by adding “You’re the chick who sailed off her bike that day with her bum in the air. Funniest thing I ever saw. Could have made a fortune on that these days, with mobile phone footage and all.”