"Let us not be ashamed to speak what we shame not to think."
-Michel de Montaigne

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What "Pretty in Pink" Taught Me About Love

While waiting for my rotini to boil, I plopped down on the couch and began to channel surf: Rachel Ray (maybe), Nascar (NO), "For the Love of Ray Jay" (definitely NOT), and then "Pretty in Pink (girly squeal, YES!).

I'd turned on the movie precisely during the iconic scene where Ducky glides into the record store and starts crooning "Try a Little Tenderness," by Otis Redding. John Cryor slides around the stacks of vinyl, his New-Wave-come-50's greaser-revisited hairdo bobbing in time with his pelvic-thrusting, lip-synching genius; he finishes his triumphant moment only to be crushed by the realization that his paramour is waiting for a date with someone else--a bland, uptight prepster named Blaine. It's cinema magic.

But for me, its more than just an iconic scene. For me it reveals a deep romantic flaw in myself, and in friends I've counseled disapprovingly saying "I told you so!"

By the end of the movie the ginger protagonist Andy chooses the granola Blaine over her eccentric friend Ducky. This never bothered me as a girl; but as an adult it made me scream at the television set, causing my toddler to drop her tea set and look at her mama, alarmed. She chooses Blaine?! Seriously? Seriously. ::sigh::

Andy doesn't even look amused when Ducky waltzes into the store; she being all too accustomed to his shenanigans. She doesn't crack a smile or even roll her eyes as he parambulates around the store singing a Motown golden-oldy that would be lost on most teenage boys. Instead she pines and waits for Blaine, who is late for their date, and shows up wearing Dockers and Ray-Bans like some bored, W.A.S.P.y demigod.

We are led to believe that Andy will live happily ever after her fateful prom date with Blaine. But we know the truth. We know that they will fade as quickly as the flowers of her hideously homemade corsage. She should've picked Ducky. Too often we cry and wait and pine for the ultimate dreamboat to come when we've got the DREAM singing in our faces. We've become too engulfed with pursuing the 'new' at the expense of really evaluating the 'now.' Or in some tragic cases, we live out the cliched "you don't know what you got til its gone" syndrome pursuing other pastures, other grasses that are never really greener.

The Blaines of the world have their place, but it is my hope for my daughter, and for my single friends, that they will not neglect to appreciate their very own Duckys waiting in the wings. It is my hope for my marriage that I will never forget to look at my husband like he is too familiar. I never want to take him for granted again because I let his personality become too common, forgetting why he is the ONLY person on the planet that I want to be married to.

So, ladies and gents, this is what "Pretty in Pink" has taught me about love: 1) when you find yourself waiting for a love to rescue you, look around you instead, and 2) when all else fails, try a little tenderness.


  1. Bridget Langley KapaMay 4, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    I agree with you about going for the Blaine's in our younger years. Stupid. But in defense of the movie, she and Ducky grew up together, and she had more of a brotherly love for him. Plus, funny and as awesome as Ducky was, he was still in the riding his bike past her house phase. She was beyond that. We are led ... See Moreto believe that Andy has changed Blaine. He told Steph to go to Hell, but let's face it. Youre right, Guys like that don't usually change. If you ask me, she should have "crawled under a rock" with one of those hot guys from the punk bar!

  2. Thank you for those beautiful words about me on your blog. That's one of the reasons I love you. Who couldn't fall in love with someone who writes like that. :)
    I don't mind being your Ducky so much, when you describe him.