I’ve always semi-secretly wished that John Hughes was writing my life – not in his later outings (Maid in Manhattan, urgh), but in his 80’s heyday when Molly Ringwald was his actress of choice. I love 80’s moves – The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Some Kind of Wonderful. I love the 80’s “brat pack” stars (Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall) and I love the 80’s movie cliches. Anyone who tells you that they didn’t love the ending of the Breakfast Club or the way Jake Ryan sits on a table and eats birthday cake with Sam in Sixteen Candles is either inadequately versed in 80’s movies or lying. And I wasn’t even born in the 80’s [just].
I semi-secretly wished that John Hughes was writing my life, that is, until my life actually started resembling an 80’s movie. You’ve already heard about the Sexy Muso – he’s sexy and exciting, with a bad boy charm and a once-broken heart. He’s the kind of boy that a girl like me thinks that she can help to put back together, and in this case he doesn’t seem to disagree. You haven’t heard about the nice boy: a lovely, well-meaning but slightly awkward and much less confident nerdy one (and we all know how sexy confidence is! I can’t help feeling that he’s almost scared of me. Or the fact that I’m a girl. Or both). This Molly Ringwald has no idea how you choose between your brain and your body, your head and your heart. On an academic level, my brain knows that the nerdy one is smart and funny and lovely (and would probably treat me much better than the exciting sexy one – initially at least), but, no matter how hard I try to convince myself that shared intellectual interests and good conversation are enough, I just don’t succeed.
And he is very lovely. Very few mid-twenties men would suggest using that defining moment of Say Anything, where John Cusack holds a boom box above his head outside Diane Court’s window, as a way to alert him to my presence outside his house. He did. [What’s not to love about the 1989 classic? A modest, hardworking, girl (who is gorgeous but unapproachable to her peers) is won over by the much less successful Lloyd Dobler over the course of the film in an endearing love story about overcoming societal (and parental!) disapproval and expectation. They just don’t make films like they did in the 80’s anymore!]
On one hand, my brain is telling me that lovely is the way to go and, on the other, my body (and heart?) is fighting for excitement and sex-appeal. And spark. I can’t help feeling like I’m holding out for something – a point at which a choice becomes either easy or irrelevant. I’m waiting for the third act twist, the bad-boy that overcomes his issues and lets a good girl be good for him; the nerdy boy that undergoes a transformation and comes into his own as a confident, attractive young man (Can’t Buy Me Love minus Patrick Dempsey. And a lawnmower); the girl that decides she doesn’t want either of them.
John Hughes: finish the script. And please make the ending happy.