Monday, October 4, 2010

The Breakfast Club

There's been a goodish amount of attention given to the 25th anniversary of the movie 'The Breakfast Club".  

When this movie came out I was deep in the throes of adolescent misery.  My hormones were raging.  I was convinced that I was the only one who didn't have it all together, felt fat and ugly all the time, had no idea what to do with my hands and was terrified of sex.   

And this movie came out.  Containing every single high school archetype.  Each and every person in high school could be assigned to one of these symbolic characters.  

Oh, how I ached to be Claire.  Molly Ringwald.  Pretty, rich, popular, thin. So many of us wanted to be Molly Ringwald with her red curls and her fantastic wardrobe.  I was so far removed from that clique of popular, pretty girls and jocks I still don't have any idea what they are like.  

Life seemed so easy for them.  Good looking, well dressed, allowed to go on unchaperoned ski trips with eight friends, the hotel room paid for by one of the parents.  They drove up the mountain in a 1967 Mustang and a Blazer, 16th birthday gifts.

How do I know about this?  They took a video camera and filmed the whole thing.  The tape was dubbed and passed around, even reaching me and my morbid crew.  

They went to senior prom in a huge group on a party bus complete with bar and bartender, again paid for by parents.  They had those nice cars and enough money to buy cocaine. 

Why wouldn't I long to be in their good graces?  Not that I would have been allowed to go skiing at a resort six hours away.  The road trip required one item to be shoplifted from each gas station they visited.  There was a huge amount of alcohol and I would have been expected to have sex.  I'm pretty sure I would have been rejected on the grounds I was too uptight.  

They didn't like me, well! I didn't like them either!  They could just keep their keg parties, their Mustang convertibles and their size six Guess jeans.  I'd keep my poetry journals, my beat up Toyota and my combat boots.  They could strut around knowing they had the world on a string and parents rich enough to pay for it.  I'd keep pretending I had nothing but contempt for them.  Stupid people who weren't smart enough to have fun without a Coors party ball.  

I may not have consciously realized it at the time, but The Breakfast Club told us that we were actually all the same.  They were just as insecure and sad as I was.  They wanted to say no, they didn't want to go skiing but then they'd be ousted. They wanted to write poetry but their friends made fun of them.

Maybe they listened to X and the Violent Femmes when they were alone in their car the same way I listened to Whitney Houston and  Bon Jovi.  How many of them wanted to put on a black dress and come sit with us in the shade where we'd stay pale?  Did they want to  go with us to this new thing they'd heard of called a 'coffehouse' to drink something called a 'cappuccino' and smoke cloves?  

They were, according to this film,  just a bunch of miserable kids in the middle of a miserable time trying to figure out ways to not be miserable.  

Small comfort during that transitional time, but comfort none-the-less.  Now that I'm staring down the barrel at forty, I want to hug Claire when she says she hates doing whatever her friends say and tell her they hate it too.  That it's going to be okay, high school ends.  It ends and when you run into people who go on and on about how high school was the best time of their life, you feel sorry for them.  It's just....... high school.  

And, this film taught me how to apply lipstick with my cleavage.  Next time you see me at a party ask me to show you.  

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If your elbows have gotten so dry they've cracked, put a big blob of Vaseline in a  plastic bag and heat it in the microwave.  Stick your elbow in it for a little while.  Repeat until you feel a difference.  This will work on your heels too.

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