I had a very sad realization this weekend. I was watching "Sixteen Candles" after my roommate left and I decided to forgive Molly Ringwald for “The Secret Life Of The American Teenager” when it happened.
After I finished half crying, half scorning Samantha’s sister for such bad taste in bridal wear, I realized what I was really feeling was a sort of nostalgia for a time I never lived.
I wasn’t crying because no one remembered Samantha’s birthday and she was finally going to get her turn with the popular jock, but because I would never have a life like Samantha’s.
I will never have frayed bangs, oversized t-shirts and a leather jumpsuit. I won’t be able to wear Converse un-ironically or get a mixtape from my high school crush.
I won’t be able to smoke cigarettes in class or drive a two-door. I won’t ever be able to be the unpopular geek who is finally noticed by the popular homecoming king and I will never have anyone call me on a house phone or find a serious occasion to wear suspenders.
However, I think what it really boils down to is the way men loved in 80s movies. The way they took risks and weren’t afraid to show their affection.
The way they stood on lawn mowers with stereos or drove all night just to proclaim their love. It’s the way they asked women on dates and drove them to school. It was the way they leaped out of convertibles and climbed through windows.
Of course, this is all based on Hollywood’s depiction of the culture, but if that’s what it represented in the 80s, then I’d rather be there than here.
Think about it for a minute: “The Breakfast Club,” “Say Anything,” “Pretty In Pink,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” “Back To The Future” -- they are all classic representations of the 80s Hollywood teenage life.
They are all about a bunch of kids who are tired of the system and pretty much have an attitude towards all authority figures. They smoke cigs and say what’s on their minds.
They get detention, skip school and party hard. They are living life with shoulder pads and perms and I’m jealous. That's right, I said it, I'm jealous my life isn't an 80s movie.
The Surprise Musical Numbers
If you don’t say the parade in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is not your favorite part of the movie or that Marty McFly's guitar solo at the end of “Back To The Future” isn't one of the best performances of your short life, then you’re just lying.
One of the beauties of 80s movies is the chance that, at any time, there may be a musical number. Even “The Breakfast Club” had a small dance number and let’s not forget Duckie’s lip sync to “Try A Little Tenderness.”
I think we can all agree that random musical numbers would make life not only more enjoyable, but worth living.
The Romantic Gestures
The men of 80s films had balls. They weren’t afraid to make a fool of themselves or to travel across the country for the girl they loved. They weren’t ashamed of making a scene or becoming an outcast in front of their friends.
They went after the girl they passed in the hallway even if they didn’t run in the same social circles and didn’t care if they had to meet their parents before taking them out.
The Anti-Cheerleader Complex
It’s always the geek who ends up winning in the end. One of the best part about 80s movies is the anti-cheerleader complex.
Rather than the typical beautiful blonde winning in the end, it was the ginger in the pink dress or the geeky boy with the good heart.
The movies managed to display the loners, the freaks and the artsy individuals as the ones with depth and maturity. It was always the popular kids who ended up scorned and belittled or with their hair cut off.
The Swan Transformation
Anyone who went through high school without the privilege of being popular knows the beauty of the underdog.
One of the common themes in 80s films is the emerging debut of the gawky weirdo or loner into the most admired person in school.
As a woman, we can only hope to get the transformation all the leading ladies have had throughout our favorite 80s movies.
As superficial as it all may seen, the film's most exciting and pivotal point was when the men who always passed by without a second glance started noticing the leading ladies.
The Hot Men
Even in their striped button downs and high-waisted khakis, they were hot. With their shaggy hair and confidence, they were real heartthrobs.
Even at the tender age of 11, I knew that Marty McFly in his red vest and DeLorean was a catch. And even now, I get as flustered watching Matthew Broderick in the shower as I do watching Channing Tatum in “Magic Mike.”
I know they seem horrible, but we all know we’d rock the sh*t out of them. It was a time when you could virtually wear anything and no style was off limits.
If you wanted to wear white leather gloves and overalls, you were just another kid in gym class. I’d wear so many vests, clip earrings and leg warmers.
The Smiths, Michael Jackson, Prince, Paul Simon, Fleetwood Mac: It was the worst and best of music and I love it all.
I just know that life would be better if I had a Fleetwood Mac soundtrack playing throughout my traumas and my triumphs, and of course, the Smiths when I’m crying over a boy who will eventually fall in love with me.
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