Dear Nascent Gentlemen,
You are doomed. You have my sympathies.
I thought we had it bad coming of age back in the 20th Century. See, back then we had moving picture shows directed by fellows like John Hughes and Cameron Crowe. These “movies” featured somewhat awkward, yet cool male leads. They did things like wear trenchcoats, hit lockers with their fists, sport skinny ties, and dance in small towns where the prevailing wisdom had it that dancing was Satan’s work.
In one iconic scene, one of these romantic heroes held a boombox (like an iPod, but bigger and without earphones) above his head. As it blasted the tuneful sounds of “In Your Eyes,” he wooed his lady-love with a mixture of sweetness and intensity that no girl could resist. That kind of rocked.
Anyway, girls would watch these movies and the characters would serve as the template for What They Wanted in a Boyfriend. So, like any male doing a ritual mating dance when under the influence of hormonal swells, we rushed to comply. We bought skinny ties, we wore trenchcoats, we danced like the devil had taken up residence in our heels.
Disclaimer: Maybe “we” didn’t do these things. Maybe it was just “me.”
The point here is that we actually could emulate these men that the girls wanted. It was not outside the realm of possibility that I could be a somewhat angsty, yet ultimately sweet, guy with questionable fashion sense and a yen for kickboxing. And that possibility gave me something to strive for, gave me hope as the Dating Years commenced.
You, my acne stricken friends, have it much, much worse. Because you have to live up to Edward Cullen. You have to live up to the impossible task of filling a vampire’s shoes. And you are doomed.
Edward swoons with lust (sure, it’s blood lust… but lust is lust) at the faintest whiff of his beloved’s hair.
Edward doesn’t just hold a radio over his head to woo, he scoops up his girl and flies (FLIES!) through the treetops.
His skin turns into diamonds in the sun. He runs, like, realllllly fast. He plays baseball. He can stop trucks with his hand.
Edward has limitless self-control—he can kiss his half-naked girlfriend in bed, get all riled up, and then hurl himself back against the wall to flagellate himself for almost losing control.
Oh, and that flagellation: Edward. Is. So. Tortured. Just to speak takes a heroic effort of will. His face contorts and words issue forth slowly. Haltingly. With infinite pain.
Then, of course, he can totally kick butt when his lady is in danger.
So you put all of those elements together and you have an unattainable ideal that has been indelibly imprinted on the brain of every pre-adolescent and adolescent girl out there. It’s the zeitgeist. And it has doomed you. No matter how good you are, you will never be a 200-year-old adolescent pretty boy.
(Sidebar — has anyone considered the pedophilic implications of a 200 year old man wooing a 16/17 year old girl? I mean…ick.)
Here’s my suggestion: Don’t even try. Be a throwback. Retro is in. Go on eBay and search for a “boombox.” Do some research — watch coming of age stories from the 20th Century. Emulate the heroes from that time. A time when men were actually human and women loved them anyway.
Good luck and Godspeed, my friends.
Wannabe Lloyd Dobler