In July of 1985, I had been seeing John for about a year. He was cute, very nerdy (majoring in computer programming), very possessive, and usually got his own way about stuff. For instance, movies. I don’t remember seeing many movies I wanted to see while we were dating; they were usually John’s choice.
I was dragged against my will to see Revenge of the Nerds and Dune, just to name a couple. Even though I resented seeing Revenge of the Nerds instead of one of my horror movies or Brat Pack movies, I ended up liking it a lot. Not that I let John know. And Dune – well, that’s two hours of my life I’ll always regret losing.
I wanted to see Valley Girl ever since it came out in 1983, but missed it in the theater. Back then, it took a long time for a movie to come out on Beta, so I finally got the chance when I saw it at the video store in the summer of 1985. But my choice was always vetoed, and I usually didn’t rent movies for myself; I was rarely home, plus I lived with my parents who were strict about what movies I brought home. Valley Girl was rated “R,” so no-go.
But it wasn’t just the movie thing that bothered me. I had to let John know where I was and who I was with. He really didn’t approve of Marybeth, citing her a “bad influence.” As a result of all the fighting, it was easier if I didn’t hang out with her as much. I tell my girls now to never choose a guy over their friends.
Everything finally came to a head when he and I joined my parents and brother in Virginia Beach for the weekend. They were staying for a week, but I couldn’t go with them because I had to work. The weekend sounded like a wonderful compromise. However. John and I constantly fought over nothing, making everyone around us uncomfortable. I wanted to smack his hand every time he touched my shoulder or put his arm around me. The entire weekend was miserable.
On the drive home, he grabbed my hand and insisted on knowing what the hell was up with me. I couldn’t take it one. minute. longer. I broke up with him right then and there. With a four-hour drive ahead of us. It would’ve been an extremely awkward ride, except I fell asleep from stress and exhaustion. He dropped me at home and that was pretty much that.
The next day, feeling both the exhilaration of sudden freedom and the sadness of breaking up with someone I used to love, I went to the video store to find something to take my mind off things. And there it was, sitting on the shelf – Valley Girl. You can bet I took that home right away!
God, what an awesome movie. Julie was so cool and her boyfriend Randy so hot. I always had a soft spot for the punk guy/rocker guy look (Duran Duran rocked that eyeliner), so Nicolas Cage really did it for me. And who wouldn’t want to be one of the Valley Girls – charging cool clothes and jewelry to their parents‘ accounts, going to rad parties, living close to the beach? They even talked cool, although I had already gone through my Valley speak phase in 1982.
I could relate to Julie, whose friends thought Randy was creepy and a bad influence because of how he looked, wanted her to break up with him and get back with her jerky ex-boyfriend. Some of my friends didn’t like John because of the tight leash he tried to keep on me, but I ignored them. But where Randy was good for Julie, John was NOT good for me. Thankfully, I finally listened to my friends and my gut. Julie ended up with the good guy, and even though I ended up alone, it was a good place to be at the time.
Valley Girl still thrills my heart every time I watch it; I still feel awful when Julie tearfully breaks up with Randy and gets back with Braaaaaad. And when Randy rescues Julie at her prom, it’s a thing of beauty that brings tears of happiness to my eyes.
And you all thought I watched nothing but horror movies.
I swore my next boyfriend was going to have colored hair and wear eye makeup. I was DYING to date a guy like that; they were so cool and so hot at the same time.
I ended up dating and then too quickly marrying a Marine. Go figure.
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