Love Lessons We Learned from ’80s Movies

Eighties movies had their own special logic. You know, like, if your dance partner can’t perform, don’t pluck another trained professional from your troop. Instead, teach a shy teenager how to merengue.But ’80s movies were particularly wise on the subject of love. Even now, when embarking on a new relationship I ask myself, WWRAD? (What would Rosanna Arquette Do?) Note: the answer is usually: get amnesia and pile on the crucifixes and lace gloves.

Since my personal dependence on the examples provided by ’80s films has been so beneficial, I thought I’d share their secrets with you. So if you’re raring for romance, pull on a dress or a dress shirt, maybe some tall white socks and a pair of sunglasses, and slide into your amorous future.

What To Expect From A Relationship: The 80’s Movie Edition

First there’s you. You’re: 

A prudish redhead who doesn’t really belong in detention.

A babysitter whose boyfriend ditched her.

A nebbishy Jew who reads the last page of books first in case he dies.

Mary Stuart Masterson.


Then there’s your dream girl. She’s: 

A leather jacket-sporting dancer from the wrong side of the tracks.

The ex-girlfriend of your karate rival.

A popular cheerleader who can’t afford to replace her mother’s suede outfit which a baseball jock spilled red wine on at a party.

Mary Stuart Masterson.


You meet when: 

You fly to Columbia after your sister mails you a treasure map.

You invent her on a computer while wearing underwear on your head.

She hires you because her apartment is haunted by a demigod worshiped as a servant to Gozer the Gozerian, a shape-shifting god of destruction.

Mary Stuart Masterson.


She’s wearing: 

An off-the-shoulder sweatshirt and leg-warmers.

A flight jacket and a white T-shirt.

A fedora, khakis and a whip.

An oversize blue shirt which she trades for a taffeta dress while she lip-syncs “And Then He Kissed Me.”


But here’s the problem: 

The only thing you can think of to say is “I carried a watermelon.”

She doesn’t know you’re the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Waiter, there’s too much pepper on my paprikash.

She’s a mermaid.


Then there’s her boyfriend. He’s: 

A karate black-belt studying under a sadistic dojo master.

A sexist, womanizing soap opera director.

Usually blond, always wealthy, and often 40 when he’s supposed to be in high school.


However, you manage to prove yourself when: 

You win a game of chicken despite being a city transplant who’s never driven a tractor.

You talk her into giving you her polka-dot panties to show off to your friends.

You impress her wit your collection of spores, mold and fungus.

You borrow money from your dad to pay for a dancer’s abortion.


But you’re thwarted because: 

You defeat your Lieutenant Commander in combat but violate two rules of engagement in the process and therefore are reprimanded by your chief instructor.

Biff locks you in the trunk of your car.

Your friend can’t help but think of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.


Still, you begin to fall in love when: 

While falling into a gorge, you holler “As you wiiiiiiiiiiishhhhh…..”

You’re inexplicably aroused by graphic sexual harassment from a loser in fingerless gloves.

Everything hurts except your elbow, your forehead and your eyelid.


But you also find time to: 

Make art using your own dandruff.

Vent your emotions through a solo dance performance in an abandoned warehouse.

Work at a fast food establishment with Arsenio Hall.


Things get weird when: 

You plot to feel up your mother in the back of a car.

The mechanic turns out to be the god of thunder.

Your girlfriend is actually a mannequin from Ancient Egypt.


The ideal sexual experience will include:

Lip-syncing, air guitar, and crawling on the floor.

Rebecca De Mornay and an El train.

A bunk bed and a small child in the body of grown-up.


By the way, your main form of transportation is: 

The vintage sports car you guilted your friend into stealing from his dad, but it’s fine, you’ll roll back the miles.

Skateboarding while clinging to the back of a pick-up.

Fighter Jet.

Elaborate montage scenes.


Things are going well until you almost lose your dream girl: 

Because there is no Dana, only Zuul.

When you cross-dress for a television role and try to kiss her after her father asks you to marry him.

To government scientists after she is exposed as a mermaid.


But you emerge victorious when: 

The popular girl slaps a lace headband on you and suddenly you’re beautiful.

That African Anteater ritual dance you’ve been practicing is a hit with the cool kids.

You win the Karate match with your scissor leg technique (a tool worth applying to future climactic moments).

Racing your parents home by leaping over backyard fences.

You ace an audition by breakdancing.


And you live happily ever after because:

Mary Stuart Masterson.

You hold up a boombox outside her window.

When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.



Surely most of these applied to you and your real life. Maybe some still do today.

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