Big Hair Bands, Planning and Perfecting Movement-Day 20 in my Year of Living Abundantly

I just saw a commercial for hot flash medicine and it reminded me of my Shoot to Thrill and Steel Horse-Tribute Band Experience.. Here is how it went down…Two friends stood between us and the stage. The floor was packed so I was a bit surprised when I felt someone wedging her body past me.

“Hey-no cuts!” I thought. I’ve clearly spent too much time with first graders. I suddenly felt claustrophobic, as if I couldn’t breathe or move, and I wondered if my first graders have a chemical reaction (akin to a panic attack) when others invade their space. As the Angus Young impersonator skipped across the stage as only Angus Young or impersonators can do, I worked to regulate my breathing-in, out, in, out—then suddenly, I saw “the look”. Not only did she take cuts, but she was making eye contact with a friend behind me so the friend could do it too. A small woman with big hair (big curly 80s wild brown hair) was reaching her hand past my waist toward the cutter. The cutter grabbed her hand and pulled her through. Things went from being claustrophobic to sardine can-like, bouncing sardines. The poufy 80s curly wild brown hair bounced in my chin THEN the wildly curly brown hair hit my armpit AND the long strands stuck!

If you are not a female in your late 40s or early 50s or haven’t lived through this phase of life AND you’ve never been to an 80s rock type concert, you may need an explanation of how the curly brown hair became stuck in my armpit.

First let me explain the concert etiquette from the big-hair band era. The expectation during these concerts is that one hand must be in the air at all times. The singer at the start of the event often models this behavior then the audience continues throughout. In unison, audience members, raise a hand and fist pump (sometimes both hands) ceilingward to the beat. Bon Jovi models this expectation in his song, “Raise Your Hand.”

Before the advent of cell phones, some would hold a flickering lighter up during slow songs and move from a pumping to swaying motion. Before the introduction of smartphones, the lighters were replaced with open flip-phones, resembling a less fire-hazardous way, of the swaying sea of light during slow songs. It seems that most phones are now out recording or photographing (though it clearly says on the ticket this is prohibited) during this high arm activity requiring both arms to be in the air (one for phone and one for keeping beat).

Now  I feel the need to explain some of the habits and characteristics of perimenapausal women. For those curious about this topic, Female Brain Gone Insane by Mia Lundin is an excellent resource. According to Lundin, hormones and neurotransmitters can become imbalanced during this stage of life causing a litany of discomforts, one of which is the inability to regulate body temperature. Without going into too much detail on the why, it should be noted that women in this phase of life often get rather warm so the best prepared of the perimenopausal dress in layers. As one experiences the hot flash onset, it’s not uncommon for one to disrobe. Based on urban legend, if one isn’t wearing a cami or tank, it’s not uncommon for a blotchy-red, sweating female to find herself topless while wildly fanning in an effort to find some cooling relief. During times of physical activity (say dancing to the beat of a song while fist pumping), the body tries to cool itself by profusely sweating. For more information and perhaps remedies on this subject check out Hot Flash: The Musical.…

I hope that you are now able to picture how it came to be that my arms were in the air and I was stripped down to my tank top. Even though I’d used extra deodorant, I was a drenched mess. When the short, poufy haired woman, assisted by her friend, took cuts, her big hair stuck to the Secret scented sweat of my armpit. She was unaware that her locks were stuck in my armpit OR that I was having a panic attack now that it was even more crowded. I tried to lower my arm but her hair was stuck.

With my arms up and curly long hair seemingly glued to my right pit, my thinking shifted. My mind was full of all the times my students had told me they didn’t mean to pull the hair, hit or push the person who took cuts. Suddenly my heart ached for all the kids I had told that if they’d slowed down and thought about it before reacting, they might have been able to come up with a better solution. If I expected children to peacefully deal with others who take cuts, I too could find a way out of my dilemma.

Unfortunately, the AC/DC impersonator was belting out “Dirty Deeds” so the soundtrack to this challenge will be forever conflicted with my actions. I inhaled slowly, carefully lowered my left hand and in a gentle stroking motion, much like the way I pet my dog, I removed her stray strands from my pit. Her head bobbing, fist pumping didn’t stop so I don’t think she was aware of her predicament. I quickly put my arm down and resembled Molly Shannon on Seinfeld the rest of the concert. Luckily, I prevented a cat fight.

The menopause commercial has me planning for a Journey tribute band concert we have tickets for this Saturday.  Today I read Work Clean by Dan Charnas.  While I didn’t intend for this book to get me ready for a concert, I’m going to be using two of the principles to set me up for success Saturday.  My Year of Living Abundantly should mean that I have FUN, not panic attacks, as I get out there and have fun.

The first principle I’ll use is “Planning is Prime”.  I’m starting with the weather forecast.  It’s likely that as we leave the venue it’ll be in the mid-30s.  We will need to walk at least three blocks to a parking garage so I must wear layers. I’ve checked out the venue and see there are no chairs and I don’t think there is place to check a coat so I’ll be standing (more likely dancing) all night and will carry anything I bring in with me.  McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom always seems warm once the music starts.

The second principle I’ll use is “Arrange Spaces, Perfecting Movements”.  I find that I’m mostly worried about my right armpit.  Initially I thought this was due to the trauma of my last experience with BigHair Cutter Lady but I realize that my right arm is my dominant arm so more likely to be up and fist pumping.   In order to keep my right pit free from head-to-pit encounters, I will need to strategically position myself on the right side of the stage OR have my husband always stand to the right of me in order to protect the pit.

I have the best husband in the world and he loves to dance at concerts.  He’s been practicing a wrapper dance for a performance we’ve put together to entertain our niece but now that we’ve sent her the video (included below for your holiday enjoyment), we can practice on pit protection moves.


It’s been 20 days since I started on My Year of Living Abundantly project.  Initially I started because I was certain that I’d been living half-heartedly because of my weight.  Now as I reflect on  adventures of the past, present and future, I realize that I DO have fun.

My Year of Living Abundantly started with a visit to a new primary care doctor. After a conversation with her,  I realized that  I’M the one who needs to make the decision to eat well and move more AND I’m the one who’ll live with the choices I make. Though BMI and Blood Pressure may reflect my health and well being, there are other success indicators I’ve decided to track.  I’m tracking a few things here so I’ll be able to review and share the highlights when I see my doctor again in December 2020. I’d love to honestly report positive things

If I work on eating better and moving more, I hope that by 2020, my ankles and knees will also enjoy big hair band concerts even if my armpits are at risk.

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