As I was web surfing a while back, I stumbled across a post entitled “Reflections on Jake Ryan of the John Hughes film 16 Candles‘.”
I sat back and got comfortable since I knew I would read it to the end.
Like seemingly everyone else in my generation, I saw 16 Candles.
I could so relate with the dorky Samantha, and I definitely knew what it was like to have a crush on a handsome upper classman. Unlike the author of that essay, however, my 14-year-old self knew that what I was seeing was fantasy. I never pictured myself ending up with the most popular guy on campus. Instead of imaging myself with Jake Ryan, I pictured myself with a two year older version of Farmer Ted. That to me was not only realistic, and it was pretty cool.
This is not to say that 1980s movies left me unscathed. Another Molly Ringwald film caused years of heartache for both me and others: Pretty in Pink.
I actually really disliked the film – the dress she created for prom was SO ugly! I also never saw what she saw in Blane, but enough bright shiny things already!
What corrupted my idea of normal was the concept of Duckie. I thought it so romantic to have a guy falling over me with the understanding that he would always be the friend and never the boyfriend. Except the Duckies in my life must not have seen the same movie because deep down they thought they would end up with the girl at the end. Although I always gave them the “just friends” speech, and they said they understood, periodically they’d try to revisit our ground rules.
In hindsight, it would have been much kinder not to get as close, but I’ll admit that the attention was so flattering and my (mainly self-) battered ego needed a boost. I do wish I could go back and apologize to some of these men for how I treated them.
I was in my 30s before I outgrew this movie brainwashing and started to feel important just for being myself and not for having a Duckie around.
Did you ever have a Duckie? or Were you warped by a movie in your youth? or Was I the only one that easily influenced?