Speaking of crushes!
I give to you, first of all, a wee Jake Ryan montage (it’s tough to leave out the hottie pictures of Schoeffling in Vision Quest – but this is about JAKE RYAN AND JAKE RYAN ONLY) – and then I give to you (to quote my dear friend Allison) a “veritable dissertation” on what Jake Ryan means to women of a certain age.
Jake Ryan. The hot high school guy who dumped his girlfriend (you know, the girlfriend who had sex with him, the girlfriend who had a perfect body, the girlfriend who was really sweet as well) – dumped her – to go out with the goofy unpopular nearly invisible high school sophomore. Yeah. Like that would ever happen.
But the fact that it did in 16 Candles was important. To a generation of women.
Please read this glorious essay. I laughed out loud reading it – but I also got strangely choked up at parts. Memories of hopeful days. For example:
The second way of talking through Jake-related issues is harder. It’s about an ache, a loss. It’s about the imperfection of life. In the movie, Ringwald’s character muses on what a 16th birthday is supposed to be like: “A big Trans-Am in the driveway with a ribbon on it and some incredibly gorgeous guy you meet in France and you do it on a cloud without getting pregnant or herpes.” In this way she is asking for a miracle and Jake is Christ, redeeming the evil sins of high school. Jake as the ideal. Jake as the eternal belief in something better. (Jake on the phone, leaving a message Samantha is temporarily fated not to receive: “Would it be possible for you to tell me if there is a Samantha Baker there, and if so, may I converse with her briefly?”)
hahaha I love that moment.
The essay really is a wonderful deconstruction of that entire … cultural moment. Too funny.
I loved this part too:
But Jake stands the test of time, even in his good looks. His wardrobe — cargo pants, plaid shirt — portends an Abercrombie vibe years before it came. His haircut requires only minor tweaking in a mental update of the fantasy. “He’s timeless. He doesn’t have a Flock of Seagulls hairstyle or anything,” says Rick Sayre, 30, a bookstore employee in Miami who started a Web page devoted not only to the Jake Ryan ideal but to locating Schoeffling.
hahahaha Yes. He’s kinda timeless.
I have to say – I did love Jake Ryan, and I loved what he represented. (Also, how perfect is it that Michael Schoeffling, the actor, chose to retire. He is now a furniture maker somewhere in Pennsylvania, with a couple kids. There are websites devoted to him: What happened to Michael Schoeffling? and The Search for Michael Schoeffling. It’s perfect because we – the audience – didn’t have to suffer through watching him fail, become diminished, grow old. He was our youth. He disappeared while his memory was still fresh – and he is caught that way, in my mind, forever. Jake Ryan – forever young.)
I also loved Michael Schoeffling – his general kind of wry and intelligent vibe. I totally believed that he was the kind of popular hot guy who was also nice and not cocky. It seemed real. But, to be honest, he wasn’t really my type. Han Solo was my fantasy type, still is – even though Han probably NEVER would have dumped his hot girlfriend for goofy freckled me. Han would have given me an apologetic grin, growled, “Sorry, sweetheart”, and he would have stuck with the hottie.
But … but …
the sexiness …
the sexiness of Han Solo …
It was a mere precursor to Bud White, 20 years later … but it was all in the same vein. That devastating is-he-bad-or-is-he-good vein. Jake Ryan was awesome – but he wasn’t THAT. Or who knows … maybe he was. Maybe his ambivalence about his nice hot girlfriend, his ambivalence about his own wealth …. was also in the same vein. We all like people who are independent thinkers, who go their own route. Or hell. I can only speak for myself. I respond to independent thinkers, who make up their own mind about things. Jake was certainly that – and independence like that was devastatingly attractive when you are trapped in the conformist suffocation of high school.
Please, ladies – or please anyone – any of you who loved that movie, and who loved Jake Ryan in paritcular – who remembers what it feels like to latch on to a fictional character, as hope that things might work out someday, that sometimes the good people DO win … you gotta read this. Beautiful.