Then something changed. One day, I woke up.
By the time girls registered on my radar, they were pre-women. They were mysterious, inexplicable, and very exciting. Girls were on my mind 24/7, sharing equal space with rock bands and guitars. Girls caused an illness common to men that to this day baffles the most gifted medical minds. This affliction, "girl fever", strikes immediately, and afflicts even the most formidable immune systems rendering virtually any man susceptible.
The immediate symptoms of girl fever are:
- sudden paralysis around and below the area of the knees
- dry mouth often followed by a marked shortness of breath
- cold sweats, and rapid heartbeat.
- slurred speech
Girls were ultimately complex, and there was no available remedy for girl fever. These creatures were unique human beings with far more importance than just being members of the opposite sex. By 1970, I was stone cold crazy over
every any female that walked, talked, giggled, grimaced, or glanced my way. Plain and simple, girls had bloomed, and I couldn't get enough of their company. I usually tried to spend as much time as I reasoned I could with them, but there was a severe learning curve that for me, became a major set back. For one thing, guys didn't mature as quickly as girls did. Our interests were still pigeon-holed into the most pyramidal basics akin to male survival: cars, guitars, and sports. Therefore, our interests weren't always in time with what girls were into. (Photo retouching by Photo Variations.)
The Gals of Rock
Girls crept their way into my heart through various forms of media as well. Music didn't feature female singers or "front girls" as often as I felt it should, and when it did, the bands were always outside of my immediate listening tastes. Pop or Soul music seemed to be the dominant arena for girl singers. At the time I was very fond of Melanie, but only to look at. The music I had trouble getting into. However, in the group Smith hot girl Gayle McCormick took the lead with a powerhouse voice. Other women in the industry slowly began to emerge somewhere around the mid to latter 70's. Cold Blood was basically a soul band, but lead singer Lydia Pense was so incredible that she just wasn't to be believed! To this day I have Cold Blood tunes in my musical repertoire and am so thankful to have been around when they were just beginning. >The band was as tight as any band could possibly be which really helped a lot. The Runaways were one of the first iconic all-girl hard rock bands to hit the market. I never had more respect for a group than I did the Runaways. Guys gobbled them up like candy (myself included). Still, I never felt that the music was top notch, but the ambition was all that mattered to me. They stormed into the "guy" market wielding guitars like axes, and they could play! The Runaways offered up a more serious brand of blistering rock, a territory that few other females ventured into. I always felt that Joan Jett had a lot to do with that. Her later music seems to be a tribute of sorts to what The Runaways were doing in the earlier 70's. The Runaways also offered us guys something else that was very exciting: female guitarists! Trust me, this was a biggie during this period. Later, Heart would explode onto the scene with the Wilson sisters Ann and Nancy serving up some of the most polished hard rock ever released. Nancy Wilson is also a champion guitarist.
"Free Love and the Modern Society."
As a concept, "free love" didn't (always) mean that everybody jumped each other's bones at will. It didn't even mean that we got naked in groups and listened to John Lennon music. (at least, not all the time anyway.)
Though inhibitions were left out on the doorstep, the true "free love" was really all about losing one's hang ups, and not being afraid to be open and honest. The origin of "free love" as a near dictionary definition refers to a "non-lawful, or regulatory relationship" which takes us right back to the origins of losing one's "hang ups." Relationships between men and women were far less complicated in the 70's. An intellectual spawning of thoughts and ideas between the sexes made for a rather enjoyable partnership. One of the benefits of "free love" was the openness of guys and girls who felt that making love should be as natural as herbal remedies. A lot of game-playing between the sexes experienced a joyous cease-fire, and freedom to love was exercised to its fullest.
In short: sex wasn't as intimidating as it should have been. Girls were wiser, thinking, feeling individuals who were a joy to be around. Much of the games that had become a form of social foreplay were scratched off the game sheet. Unfortunately, by the end of the 70's era, "free love" was a dying concept.
Hippie Chicks Explained
Q : "Did hippie chicks really exist?"
A: Yes, they did.
My very first girlfriend was a hippie girl. She was blonde, wore the bell bottoms, choker, and the huge 70's clogs. She flashed peace signs constantly; she called me "man" all the time, and usually always had a cause to rebel against. She could have easily stepped out of a 70's TV show or movie.The legendary"hippie chick" lives on in both memory and frequent internet searches. An urban myth describes this delectable creature as a hot, stoned-out blonde who made love to every guy she encountered.
This wasn't always correct, nor important.
Hippie chicks were no different than hippie dudes. The true basis of the "hippie chick" was the same as the another 70's term: "earth mama." The true HC/EM was a more spiritual person out of touch with negativity, and completely in touch with openness and a general lack of inhibitions. In short, if love and peace was involved, there was very little that was wrong. Hippie chicks didn't survive solely in communes or strange religious sects; they worked in fast food, as cashiers, receptionists, factory workers, and even as career professionals.
(Photo retouching by Photo Variations.)
Hippie chicks portrayed in the movies were at times exaggerated caricatures, though the styles were accurate, the films loved to embellish these gals with more "hippy" flavor.
In the 70's, many girls looked like hippies. It was after all, the style. However, being a hippie chick was not about wearing bell bottoms, chokers, or having free sex with multiple partners. A true hippie chick was more of an earthbound woman who was actually wiser, more conservative, and had it far more together the average person. There were plenty of these women to be found in the 70's, and they were a sincere compliment to this unique decade. Essentially, to pigeonhole the basic "hippie girl" into some sort of categorical reference is to create an icon of a long-haired blonde with bell bottoms that flashed peace signs and wore low-cut tops.
I spent a lot of time with these gals. They taught me a lot of valuable things. They taught me about herbal teas, Zen, meditation, books, conversations beyond Led Zeppelin, how to roll a tighter joint, and how to be a more vivid and creative thinker as well as a more rounded human being. These are things that aren't taught in the movies, but only in the real world. When I think of "hippie chicks", these people are what come to mind.
"You're soooo weird!"
Was the dreaded battle cry that frightened many of us guys off. Girls were indeed scary creatures. They didn't think like we did, they didn't do things like we did, and in fact, usually had no interest in guy things. When I was struggling with a girl I really liked, there were two things that were usually going to happen:
- I was going to run out of conversation much faster than I should have.
- I was going to say something divinely stupid which would earn me a weird look, and a severe jugular slash to my self-confidence.
The second happens because the male brain turns left, and the female brain turns right. What was in my brain was a much different picture than was in hers.
The Meaning of "I Love You."
First off, the word love was a catch-all phrase indigenous to the 70's. Going back to "Free Love" and all that that entails, love was an ever-present condition of 70's life. The literal phrase "I love you" was often not as deep a meaning then as it is now. The scariest sentence in the world became as vaporous and iridescent as "have a nice day." Why? Because peace and love were prevalent in 70's society. So, saying "I love you" could've had the same connection as "I love you as a person," or, "I love you for what you are." In the 70's everyone, and everything was "beautiful." Love was a universal condition that now had two separate meanings: 1. emotional love like that between partners, and 2. conditional love as pertaining to love and peace.
When did "I love you" pertain to guy-girl relationships? Sometimes it was hard to tell. Saying ILY was almost as commonplace as saying "pass the salt." As we grew up, we all had a first love to whom we said "I love you." Interestingly, when "love" was spoken in the emotional sense, it was pure and virtual, and felt stronger than almost any emotion ever imaginable.