Portraits and ponderings from the writing desk of Jill Foote-Hutton.

Pretty in Pink Revisited

Isn't us hating them because they have money, just as bad as them hating us because we don't?

You told me you couldn’t believe in somebody who didn’t believe in you. I always believed in you. I just didn't believe in me.

Blow me butwad, coming from you I consider that a compliment.

You missed my eye by an inch!
Half an inch

I hope they shrivel up and fall off.
You hope what shrivels up and falls off?
Her breasts.

Listen, I want you to know, despite my appearance at this function, I remain now, and will always be a Duck Man.

Andie, if you put out signals that you don't want to belong, people are going to make sure that you don't.

May I admire you again today?

If I like a girl, I'll ride past her house. Maybe 100 times a day.
Do you ever park?
I'm really more a drive-by kind of guy.

All of the above are great and memorable lines from the John Hughes film Pretty in Pink. When I prepared to revisit the film, I fully expected to experience something akin to the surprise one encounters upon seeing the huge fountain they remember from their youth and find, in adulthood, the fountain is only actual size. As the film unfolded for me, more than twenty years later, I was reminded of notions and conscious decisions I made as a young woman. Notions I encountered watching films like Pretty in Pink or High Fidelity. Today, I still don't understand why friends shy away from living in abandoned, run down neighborhoods—neighborhoods I perceive to have character. I didn't understand why the richies in the film wouldn't see the excitement of a record store like Wax Trax. I didn't understand why they wouldn't want to create their own unique clothing like Andie. The richie world seemed too safe, too sterile.

The other side of the coin is: Maybe I made the most of what was available to me because I lacked the resources to achieve the financial status required to fully participate in the richie world. Rather than linger on the outskirts wanting to be inside, I pulled away and found a world I could enter. I could afford thrift store clothing. I too wanted to tell some people off, like Duckie did, like Andie did in the film. I wanted to be brash like Iona. Hell! I wanted to be named Iona--way more interesting than Jill. Even now at 37 years of age, I long for the time of my life when I find the courage to embrace the rebellious spirit of youth again. Perhaps I misspeak. It is wrong to say, “I long for the time of life when I will be able to embrace the rebellion,” because I believe I could embrace it at any time. A Friday night is well spent playing dress up, drinking a bottle of wine and pretending to be Aretha Franklin just as Duckie pretended to be Otis Redding in the greatest lip-synch ever to land on film. For now, I have chosen to embrace some more stable choices and I think therein lies another reason for liking the film so much. Andie wanted to go to the prom. Iona believed it was important to go to the prom and in the end Hughes indicates she was headed toward a stable relationship, if not marriage. Love crosses all boundaries. His message wasn't so far out that he abandoned societal norms. The are archetypal truths bustling about next to one another throughout the film.

Mr. Donnelly tells Andie if she puts out signals suggesting she doesn't belong, people will make sure she doesn’t-- the statement rings true for me every time. It is a cautionary tale. Beware you don't shut yourself down as a protection device, you may not realize what gifts you are losing in doing so. If you risk nothing, you gain nothing--but hey you lose nothing either. Still, on the odd day, I find Mr. Donnelly shows a lack of understanding about the fear involved in day-to-day life for someone who is used to fighting to survive. Andie and Ducky aren’t the only ones to struggle, a sympathetic eye toward Blaine reveals everyone fights to survive in life’s hierarchy—although, I always tend to side with Andie.

The only scene of the film to give me pause was when Andie waited for Blaine on Friday night. In another version, Blaine would not win Andie's heart. I don't know…She should have been angrier with him for not valuing her enough to show up on time. I would have liked to see such behavior modeled as an example when I was a young woman. We, females, seem to make so many concessions sometimes. But I guess at the end we are meant to see the flawed human nature. We are meant to see how we all struggle with societal pressure, with the development of our moral values, etc. We have to get up, move forward, push ahead, it's not too late…

And by the way, I also revisited the Breakfast Club.

What a whiney bunch of brats.