Social Classifications in My High School circa 1986
I went to a small high school in a very homogeneous community in Metro NY in the 80s. There were about 500 kids in the whole school so most kids belonged to more than one group/category. Nearly everyone had big hair and/or mullets. (Requested by @cajuninexile)
- •Guidos (and Guidettes)This covered a lot of people. I guess in a different time at a different school they might have been called greasers, but in my mostly Italian neighborhood in the very not-PC 80s? Guidos. So much big hair. So many mullets. Most of them still live within 10 miles of where we grew up. (Guys, there's SO much Aquanet in this photo.)
- •Jocks (sort of)The jocks generally fell into other categories.
- •The Brains/BrainiacsThe smart kids. Definitely the group that held the most unpopular kids, though there were popular kids among us. (I was in this group. I was not popular.) The people who moved farthest away from home (or into Manhattan) all tend to be in this group. No one took our photo for yearbook.
- •BurnoutsThe smokers and drug users. About as unpopular as the brains, but way more street cred. Most significant overlap with the metal heads.
- •Metal Heads/HeadbangersHad their favorite heavy metal band painted on the back of their jean jacket. The guys say now that they didn't have mullets, but they're in denial. Some of them had a mullet/big metal hair combo. Many are artist types these days. Most of them still live in or close to our hometown.
- •The Preps or PreppiesSmall group of dedicated preps trying to look like they didn't come from one of the poorest towns in one of the country's wealthiest counties. Izods with the collars up, boat shoes/docksiders, the occasional Benneton sweater. Most of them got the fuck out. Maybe just to Connecticut or Jersey, but they got out.
- •The New Wavers/DuraniesCould NOT remember what these guys were called. Had to do a little facebook poll of former classmates. Did not divulge what it was for. The New Wavers were small in number, but had a better sense of style than anyone, if you ask me. Only one kid at our school could truly be considered punk, but a few more fell under the Alternative umbrella. Defined mostly by the music they listened to (WLIR!), their funky clothes, and their hair. Often also on sports teams. Also got the fuck out.
- •Regular KidsThere were a bunch of kids who didn't strongly identify with any group. They were typically in Regents classes, not honors, they dressed as indistinctly as one could manage in the 80s, they weren't super popular, but they weren't targeted by bullies too much either. They're the least memorable, but usually nice people. Most of them had big hair. Most of them stayed close to home.
- •ArtFags (the 80s were not PC)I had forgotten this name; the poll on Facebook dredged it up. This label encompassed the theatre and music geeks, and maybe the visual artists too? Not sure. I was in this group. Ironically, most of the folks from my year who are now out of the closet were Jocks, not ArtFags. (I'm in this photo, as is one of the Blair Witch Project cast members.)