Writer's Guide
Sadly, I was too young to experience the gloriously
decadent eighties to their fullest. I was born in 1976,
so I spent most of the decade exploring a certain
cabbage patch and repeatedly answering the question,
"Can you and I be friends?" (I can't tell you how
devastated I was when I finally realized that my dear
old friend, a certain Mr. T. Ruxpin, wasn't in fact
alive.) But there came a time when I got to taste a bit
of the Eighties for myself.

Around age eleven, I became obsessed with movies. And
it's a good thing I had the movies because, when I was
that age, there was no such thing as a tween. There were
no marketing departments dedicated to telling me what to
watch, who to like, or what to wear. There was no
Britney to counsel me about being "not a girl, not yet a
woman." Those of us who fell into that pathetic, murky
area between kid and teenager were on our own out there
in the big world. We had to figure out how to be angsty
teenagers without any advice from advertisers. Sarah and
I developed our own teenage training camp--the video
store in Greentree Village Shopping Center.

We would walk--yes, walk--to the video store almost
every Saturday morning. We'd scour the shelves for the
sappiest movies we could find, and then cloister
ourselves in the downstairs den of her house. We'd drift
through the weekend on a pile of squishy floor pillows
and an assortment of snacks that would make Little
Debbie blush. There, in that den, I learned about life.
Or, to borrow a phrase. . .I suppose, in the simplest
terms, I found myself in love with a brain, an athlete,
a basket case, and a criminal.

These were the one hit wonders, fantasy loves that
lasted but a brief moment in time--roughly two hours
give or take a scene.

I find that whenever I say "Jake Ryan," it always comes
out in a reverent whisper, as more of an invocation than
a name. I don't think I'm the only one who's given Jake
demigod status either, because when I invoke his name to
women my age their eyes invariably go all soft and
dreamy, and their shoulders slump in a kind of tender
genuflection. Jake is the man. He's it. I know that part
of his attraction is undoubtedly Michael Schoeffling's
rock-hard abs and heartbreakingly sweet crooked smile,
but it's more than the hot guy who played him. Jake
Ryan, the character, is the guy that every high school
girl dreams about.

He dumps the most popular, prettiest girl in school for
the lovable loser Sam. Oh, and by the way, every girl in
high school thinks she's Sam. I certainly did, and for
several years after I fell for Jake, I looked for him in
every prepubescent boy in middle school. (And high
school. . .and college.) We don't love Jake because his
relationship with Sam makes her popular or eligible for
Homecoming Queen. We love Jake, because he wants
something more than the parties and the nonsense of the
teenage caste system. We love Jake because he and Sam
were meant to be, and he wasn't afraid to buck the
system for his girl. Oh, and the Porsche doesn't hurt

The only girls I know who don't melt at the sound of
Jake's name are the girls who fell for Lloyd Dobler.
Personally, I don't think you have to choose sides in
the great Jake vs. Lloyd debate. I love them both. Just
as Jake jumped the popularity fence for Sam, so does
John Cusack's Lloyd break the boundaries of the status
quo by wooing the beautiful and brainy Diane Court.

Lloyd takes the concept of following your heart to its
greatest heights. He lives by the principle. He's sappy,
and sweet, and funny. He's charming and adorable. And I
loved him from go. But it wasn't until years after my
first introduction to Lloyd that I realized why he's so
compelling. Here it is: Lloyd is achingly, irresistibly
open. In high school, boys are like these. . .slightly
smelly puzzles. We, girls that is, have no idea what
makes them tick. We just automatically assume it's
boobs. It came as great shock when, years later, I found
out that boys have feelings. A lightbulb went off --
Lloyd Dobler. I love Lloyd because he's a boy who shares
his feelings!

When Corey tells Lloyd, "the world is full of guys. Be a
man," he does. He lays his feelings -- his very soul --
out for all to see. That's what a man does. Lloyd was a
man, a real man. That's why I fell, and continue to fall
for Lloyd Dobler. I contest that any woman who doesn't
get a little misty eyed when Peter Gabriel's "In Your
Eyes" comes on the radio, should have all of her
Victoria's Secret confiscated and her girl membership

Now, it wasn't just the sweet boys that I fell for
during my adventures in eighties VHS. There was one
particular bad boy that I had a soft spot for -- John
Bender, the criminal (Judd Nelson). He's so broken, and
battered and in need of a hug. He's filthy, but in a
really good way. He's rude, and crude, and seriously
sexy. When Molly Ringwald's Claire sneaks into the
closet and kisses him, I cheer. I cheer because, deep
down I once dreamed of turning a bad boy good. I know it
never happens in real life, and I've never even tried.
(I watched Oprah.) But the bad boy turning good is still
the dream. For whatever reason, a lot of women fantasize
about a guy with an edgy rough exterior, and a soft
gooey inside. Kind of like a Klondike Krunch bar. (I
sometimes fantasize about those, too.)

There is one truly unsung hero from my Eighties daze, a
boy who is often left out of the pantheon of romantic
high school hunks -- Keith Nelson. Who, you ask? Eric
Stoltz as the quietly cool, copper-top artist in Some
Kind of Wonderful. Much like Jake and Lloyd, Keith has a
crush. He sticks his neck out in a major way for the
girl of his dreams. Unlike Jake and Lloyd, however,
Keith comes to the realization that the popular,
beautiful girl he covets, isn't what he really wants. He
discovers that what he really wants is his best friend,
a lovable tomboy named Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson).
Actually, Keith makes a lot of discoveries. The thing I
love most about Keith, is that he never waivers. Not for
a minute. He knows what he wants, and he goes for it.
Also, it just so happens that Keith speaks one of the
best closing lines in a movie. . .ever. "You look good
wearing my future." Now really, how hard is it to fall
for a guy who says that?

All of these boys that I discovered with Sarah, sitting
on the floor of her downstairs den, had a huge impact on
the way I viewed all the fantasy men (and real men)
after. And I'll tell you the most important thing I've
realized about this period in my life--it's a good thing
I wasn't into slasher films.                    -- Emily

*Note: If, for some reason, you can't identify the films
I reference here, click on one of the links below and
download immediately.  You won't be sorry you did.
Sixteen Candles
Sixteen Candles (1984)
Say Anything (1989)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
The Breakfast Club
Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
2012 © Libby Street & Emily Morris  Web Design By: Emily S. Morris
Libby Street, Happiness Sold Separately, Accidental It Girl, In One Year and Out the Other, The Luckiest People, paparazzi, celebrity, fame, New York Times Bestseller,
novel, novelist, chick lit, women's fiction, womens fiction, Sarah Bushweller, Sarah Castellano, Emily S. Morris, Emily Servedio, New York, New York City, Hollywood, book,
good book, great book, fun read, book club selection, boy meets girl, famous, fun book, screenplay, script, read an excerpt, Simon and Schuster, Pocket Books, writer's
guide, advice for writers, good blog, great blog, writing, novel, novelist, two writers, pseudonym, friendship, bestseller, bestselling book, books, cool website, cool
author's website