Friday, August 03, 2012

Left Of Center

Once again, I found myself transported back to the eighties while grocery shopping.

Of all the songs on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, I feel this best captures not only the essence of the film*, but the essence of all those John Hughes films we loved so much back before we became aware of concepts like white privilege, class privilege, and date rape (Does Catherine saying she liked waking up in The Geek's arms cancel out her having been too drunk to have given consent? Discuss). It's the fantasy so many of us entertained, the one where the unpopular wallflower wanted the popular person, not because he/she was exceptionally pretty or desirable, but because the watchful eye of the wallflower saw hidden depths in that popular person and, someday, that popular person would look over and see the person they never noticed before and, la la la, happiness would ensue. Of course, we all cast ourselves as the wallflower, we told ourselves we had intelligence and discernment that the socially adept lacked and that this made us superior to them, even if we were the only ones who knew. And maybe this fairy made the teen years more bearable for us. Maybe.

As an adult, I have noticed that it seems as if everyone carries this fantasy with them. Everyone. While I assume that there are people out there who did not, in fact, feel awkward and misunderstood, people who were popular and not hampered by depth or intelligence, I have yet to meet an adult who will admit to this. I have met former cheerleaders and football captains who swear they were as awkward, lonely, and unloved as the rest of us, that they really weren't as shallow as "all the other cheerleaders/football players" and while I suspect this interpretation of their teen years is inaccurate, I believe they believe it to be true. If they weren't singing along with Suzanne Vega word for word, they believe with all their heart that she was singing to them.

But here is what I would tell my teenage self: IT IS A LIE. That thought that somewhere inside of you you are similar, if not the same, to that object of your affection is a result of your brain being deluded by your hormones--it's the reason why so many women in America right now would be willing to overlook Ryan Lochte's star spangled grill. And just as most American women will do little more than drool over a particular swimmer, you will likely remain on the outskirts and in the fringes. Nothing changes in the song, she is still left of center and she will remain there if all she does is wonder. Stop believing the fairy tale.

Having said all that, I am overwhelmed by Suzanne's makeup, hair, and clothes in this video. When people hearken back to the mid-80, they tend to go for aqua and fuchsia, ripped Flashdance sweatshirts, and crazy hair metal hair. It's nice to be reminded of the short boots, baggy clothes, and messy short hair we all actually wore back in the day. I don't know about you, but I have a strong desire to go as 1986 for Halloween.

*Suzanne Vega wrote the song specifically for the film.

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Blogger -The Shiny Happy Mama- said...

I have strongly identified with this song since I bought the Pretty in Pink soundtrack on cassette in 1987. It's still one of my favorites.

11:07 PM, August 03, 2012  

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