John is in Connecticut and I've been home alone, which seems to trigger cravings for "comfort media" rather than comfort food. Accordingly, I can't stop reliving my teen years. This weekend, I noticed The Man in the Moon is on Netflix Instant. Remember this movie? It was Reese Witherspoon's first role, and I hadn't seen it since junior high. It's an okay little flick about two sisters competing for the attention of the same guy, "first love" and all that. I'm thinking, due to recent life stressors of one type or another, that my body just wants to cry, because I started basically sobbing during the scene where Sam Waterston walks around the truck and hugs Dani. Earlier the same day, I was crying uncontrollably at the end of the lunch lady episode of Chopped, so clearly I'm just looking for any excuse to emote.
Anyway: The love interest in The Man in the Moon is played by Jason London, and that made me want to rewatch some of those Aerosmith videos from the '90s, the era when music video budgets were growing exponentially and MTV even told you who directed them. The first one I watched was "Crazy," which was weird because the imagery at the end of the tractor going around the field with no driver, and the splashing in the pond, echoes TMITM so closely that for a second I couldn't remember what had made me think of the video. But it wasn't the tractor, it was Jason London, who is not in this video, but in "Amazing" (the one with the virtual reality theme).
The main point of all these videos was pretty much "Alicia Silverstone is hot" (with a side, in the above case, of "My daughter is hot, too"). Watching this and "Cryin'," I remembered how intensely, at the age of 14 or 15, I wanted to be pretty – but really, not just pretty, desirable.
I wasn't savvy enough back then to break this shit down on a feminist level; all I knew about the male gaze was that it was important. The crap you watch after school when you're 14 indoctrinates you: GIRLS MUST BE HOT.
Relatedly, check out these excerpts from the diary of a 15-year-old girl obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio in the mid-90s; on November 2, 1996 (my 17th birthday!) she writes:
I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a Romeo. I’m still crying. There is no guy that beautiful who will come and declare me his love the moment he sees me. There is no guy that beautiful who would die for me. I don’t think there is a guy that gorgeous who will ever kiss me. I hate William Shakespeare.And the next day:
Today I was in an awful mood. I cried sporadically (alone) and blamed my mood on tiredness when my parents bugged me. But the truth is: I’m obsessed with Romeo and Juliet.
I keep rethinking scenes from the movie like when they first meet. Romeo is looking into a huge fish tank from one side when his eyes meet Juliet’s through a coral reef. Romeo follows her head with his—nose pressed against the glass. It is so totally believable that they had fallen in love. I’m miserable.Which reminds me, I rewatched Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet last summer, and that scene is quite amazing (in no small part due to the love theme performed by Des'ree):
Lara Ehrlich's diaries really capture the poignancy of the pre-boyfriend years. (See also My So-Called Life.) I remember feeling unwanted so exactly that it's somewhat difficult to believe I was going around being wanted like two years later. At 15, it feels like your life will NEVER HAPPEN. Then suddenly you're 17 and sexually assaulted the first time you get drunk.
Ladies, talk to me about your '90s feelings. Who were your celebrity crushes? Is there a word for that particular adolescent desire to be desired, not even by anyone in particular?