Ode to Jake Ryan

25 Dec

A few months ago, I caught one of my all-time favorite 80s movies on television – “Sixteen Candles.”  Even though I’d seen the movie a thousand times, something was different this go-round. I became obsessed with Jake Ryan…not the character or the man (OK, maybe the man. Let’s face it, Michael Schoeffling is HOT!), but with the idea of Jake Ryan. Where was he? Why hadn’t I met him? Does he even exist?  So, I did what any good natured, All-American, 30-something girl would do; I Googled him. To my surprise, there were blogs and articles and websites devoted to this man. His name is even in the dictionary! – albeit the Urban Dictionary, but still – whose name elicits a definition?? Apparently, THIS guy. According to the web based word interpreter, “Jake Ryan,” is a term used by women to describe the “perfect boyfriend.” 

How could I have been so naïve to think that out of billions of 30-something women in this world, I was the only one still pining over the elusive Jake Ryan? The mere mention of his name produces emotions I thought were long buried and boxed away with the hit cult-classic film. You know that feeling – sweaty palms…racing heart…tied tongue…weak knees. And while I hate to admit it, it’s been a loooonnng time since I’ve experienced those sensations and quite frankly, had a legitimate “crush”. I miss that feeling. Perhaps that explains why I latched on to the idea of Jake Ryan so ferociously a few months back. And then it happened. My idealistic world came crashing down when I read this breaking news:

“Listen to all the Thompson Twins songs you want,

but let’s finally admit that Jake Ryan from “Sixteen Candles”

is never coming to get you.”[1]Reflections on Jake Ryan..

What?! Had I been duped all of these years? Was I waiting on someone who was never going to appear? Did Jake Ryan ruin my perception of how men should act, look, think and feel? No. I think not!

 While I agree the “Jerry Maguire” line, “You complete me” has “messed some women up[2]”, according to Oprah You complete me farce; however, I would not go so far as to say that’s what I’ve been waiting on – for someone to “complete me.” However, I have been waiting on that feeling…the look that 16-year old Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald) gets when she spots Jake Ryan and girlfriend Caroline slow dancing at the school function (cue “True” by Spandau Ballet )…

…the excitement she feels after “the geek” (Anthony Michael Hall) says that Jake asked about her in the gymnasium turned dance floor…that nervous/anxious feeling she gets when she thinks she’s mustered up the courage to talk to him and tries to figure out a conversation starter in the school’s hallway…and of course, the look of awe she expresses when Jake appears at her sister’s wedding and when she asks what he’s doing there, he says, “I heard you were here.” Ah! Couldn’t you just die?!

Now call me an idealist, a dreamer or just a plain ole’ wacko, but I will not subscribe to the idea that Jake Ryan does not exist. He needn’t be tall, dark and handsome, or drive a red Porsche 944 or be rich and popular, but he’s out there. Don’t give up hope, and neither will I. Even though there may be a few heartaches along the way, just know: “when it happens to you, it will be forever.”

[1] Stuever, H. (2004, February 14). Real Men Can’t Hold a Match to Jake Ryan of ‘Sixteen Candles’. Retrieved from The Washington Post online archives.


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