Everyone wants to be Lloyd Dobler.
Okay, maybe not everyone wants to stand in a suburban driveway holding an 18-pound mid-1980s boombox over their heads (although I would kind of really like one of those boomboxes for my house), but everyone wants to find a perfect song and deliver it in a perfect way, so that even in the future, whenever whomever you played that song for is talking about their ex (and that would be you), they can say all the bad things they want but that one part of your relationship will be either a) kept quiet so as to preserve its sanctity, or b) bragged about because it was so awesome.
Lloyd Dobler played “In Your Eyes” for Diane Court, which was apparently perfect for their relationship but never made it onto any of the mixtapes I ever made. Even back in 4th grade when I first started to notice boys and had absolutely zero understanding that Bryan Adams was cheese, “In Your Eyes” was not on my playlist.
But even if it had been, it wouldn’t have mattered. I made mixtapes for the boys I had crushes on, but those mixtapes were never delivered.
Oh please. Like anyone delivered those mixtapes, ever. By the time those of us who were still making mixtapes got around to giving them (which for anyone who is roughly my age was sometime around 1999), the entire process of making a mixtape could be marketed as a musical superiority challenge so as to avoid rejection. We weren’t trying to emotionally expose ourselves, we were trying to be cleverer than everyone else. Yes, these songs reminded us of them and/or contained lyrics we wanted them to hear, but it was so much easier to pretend that all of our music was that meaningful/cool and we were just doing the other person a favor by sharing it with them.
At least, that’s what I did. I suppose I was terrified of rejection from the outset. It wasn’t my fault; no one had invented flatirons yet.
The only mixtapes I ever delivered were to the people I was already actually dating, but I was still careful enough within a certain timeframe to leave out any song that would seem too revelatory or nakedly emotive. I barely feel that kind of emotion anyways, there’s no need to create an assumption when nothing really exists.
That makes sense. No guy was like Lloyd Dobler, anyway. Lloyd Dobler was John Cusack, and I mean, he was back then, too, but back then he was weird and offbeat and got minor supporting roles in John Hughes movies. Now he’s JOHN CUSACK, and he’s in movies like 2012.
And to anyone who wants to tell me just how accurate 2012 could hypothetically be, because of the Mayan calendar and all, possibly we should all remember that the Mayans practiced human sacrifice and genital mutilation? So, you know. Maybe they didn’t really know everything.
PS – new fiction here (plus the old fiction if you never read it before).