I attended an eighties movie double last night. They were playing Risky Business and the film that lead to my childhood obsession with Molly Ringwald, Sixteen Candles.
It was during Sixteen Candles that it hit me – eighties films have shaped my concept of men. Oh god! Why did I not realise this sooner!
As I watched Molly’s character, Samantha swoon over heart-throb Jake Ryan, I realised that Jake too was my first crush. I fell in love with Jake sitting on my Aunt’s couch on any given weekend, watching my favourite John Hughes film’s on repeat. I would have been about seven and I couldn’t wait to turn sixteen and materialise into Molly Ringwald, with her gorgeous freckles and super cool clothes and of course have my first kiss with someone like Jake….*sigh*
So, how did eighties films shape what I look for in a man? Well, Jake is the epitome of preppy and it is no secret I have a penchant for ‘preppy’ men (Tom Cruise in Risky Business is also a Country Club kid). I am also obsessed with cars (both Jake and Tom Cruise drive a Porsche in these films) AND I love eighties music, which is kinda besides the point, but all I’m trying to say is – Jake Ryan has ruined me, because Jake is a character John Hughes made up and ladies, Jake does not exist…Well, I certainly can’t find him.
When Jake opens the passenger door for Samantha at the end of the film, my girl friends and I all sighed and mumbled ‘where’s my Jake?’. Ladies, Jake is an actor and no man will ever be that perfect. You might find a nice ‘John’ or ‘David’ and he may even open the door for you but JAKE! The hottest guy at school that tracks you down at your crazy sister’s wedding and drives you away in a red Porsche to have a private sweet sixteenth birthday celebration – Does. Not. Exist.
PLUS you’re not sixteen anymore, you’re like, thirty or close to, and you are now dating men the same age or older (some of you lucky things are cougars) and men at times can be as romantic as a smack in the face with a frozen pack of Lean Cuisine.
How do we fix this? We don’t. We can’t.
Do you know what needs to change? You.
“No I don’t, I’m flipping awesome!” I hear you say.
You’re awesome. I agree. A good chunk of you reading this are my friends, and I KNOW you are the bombdiggity but riddle me this sexy ladies -
Do you meet your criteria? If you were to put the same expectations on yourself, are you hot enough? Smart enough? Ambitious enough? Successful enough?
Would it upset everyone if I suggested that maybe, just maybe, the right guy is hard to find because we’re expecting him to fill all the cavities in our lives that we could in fact improve alone?
For example, if you want a successful man, maybe you need to strive to be more successful yourself? Maybe you want a rich guy to ride in on his Porsche? Then, maybe you should be aiming to buy your own sportscar?! I’m just saying, maybe, in some situations, certainly not for everyone, finding a man is impossible because you’re setting expectations for someone else that you wouldn’t apply to yourself.
“There’s no man in Maserati“. That’s my little mantra. I like it because I think it says one simple thing – don’t expect a man to do what you can do yourself. If I want a Maserati, I should buy it. Much like if you expect your ideal man to be wealthy, intelligent and good-looking – isn’t it fair to expect the same from yourself?
Now I realise all of this doesn’t apply to romance because that is really why we’re sighing during romantic films, but besides the *spoiler alert* kissing over the cake moment at the end of Sixteen Candles, Jake doesn’t actually do anything romantic for Sam. He literally turns up! That was enough! Imagine if that is all we expected? Any man could do that!! Jake finds out she likes him, has this weird break up with his prom queen girlfriend and TURNS UP!
I still would love a guy to open his car door for me and bake me a cake for my birthday (just like Jake, though Jake’s chef probably baked it) BUT I’m not too sure how comfortable I’d be reversing the roles to be Samantha – car-less, in an awful bridesmaids dress and suffering a family that forgot her sixteenth birthday. To really find Prince Charming you’d have to be the damsel in distress and I’m not sure any of us want to open the door to that kind of drama!
Maybe instead of longing for Jake Ryan, it’d be better to be Jake Ryan! Or, expect a man to work out you like him and simply ‘turn up’.