When Hold Me Now by the Thompson Twins was released in the U.S. in February, 1984, I was nearly five years old. Most people in my age range are probably most familiar with the song as part of The Wedding Singer soundtrack. Not me. While my parents were strict about many things, they were quite lax when it came to my MTV intake. Most people have maybe a ten year window of MUSIC Television (ah, those were the days) but because I started young and ended inappropriately late, mine was about 22 years. And I’m not talking about throwing on Jersey Shore semi-frequently (that would get my window to almost 30), but rather MTV as a lifestyle.
There’s one day in particular that I remember Hold Me Now being on the television. It was definitely a Saturday in 1984 and my parents were putting blue plates (our “we’re having company” plates) in anticipation of their college friends coming over. I was always happy when the blue plates came out because it meant that it didn’t matter how they were getting along, once our guests arrived happy days were here again. When the guests were college friends it was even better. It meant Heineken, laughing, and a whole lot of reminiscing. During a listen of the Eagles’ Hotel California I swear I saw my dad and his old roommate Eggs transported back to 1977. When friends came over, my parents weren’t so much my parents but Vinnie and Betsy and I was there little buddy. It was also around this time that I discovered the best way to get crowd approval was to have shtick.
I actually don’t remember many details of this particular gathering. What I recall everyone sitting around the kitchen of our old house in Cranbury, NJ and having fun. And most importantly, I remember eating some sort of Chinese dish that was doughy. For years, I tried to figure out what it was we ate because it was so delicious. The problem was, it definitely wasn’t on the menu of the takeout places we’d order from on Friday nights. I would have asked my parents but if I asked them what that doughy thing we ate that time I saw the Hold Me Now video in 1984, I’m not certain they would have had the answer. So instead, I wandered around for years and years, knowing I was missing something great, even if I didn’t know its name. Then, about three years ago, my lady and I were having lunch at a Dim Sum dive in Chinatown with my brother and his wife when I saw something on another patron’s plate. It was doughy. As it turns out, the thing I had been searching for is a Chinese steamed bun, specifically, with a meat filling. And this whole time, all I had to do was take the short ride south of Canal street. Regardless, the doughy deliciousness is back in my life. Sometimes, I go to the less convenient A&P just because they sell steamed buns. Even frozen, it’s one of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted.