Stolen Love by Bo Abeille

September 5th, 2014|Categories: Writing|Tags: , , |

I could tell a story about my unique and beautiful relationship with each of these cover boys, but I’ll tell just one.

When I was 11, the fantastically white trash neighbours who lived next door moved out and a new family moved in. We adored the family that lived there because our family was also WT, but just a little less trash, so our bonkers front yard filled with broken cars, a barely functioning above-ground pool and cats (so many cats!) was largely ignored by the neighbourhood while the boy next door pulled shenanigans.

Luckily, when he and his dreamy brother moved away, an even more fantastically dysfunctional family moved in. They were glorious! The family consisted of two cranky smoking parents, twin blonde daughters whose names began with the same letter and three boys whose names began with a different same letter. The youngest boy was rambunctious and everyone said he looked like a real-life Bart Simpson, because it was the late-80s, you see. The middle boy was quiet and polite. I wrote my first poem about him. Its title was Love. The eldest boy was a half-brother, the result of some teenage romp the smoking mother had before she settled down with the smoking father. This boy was magnificent: slim and tall and plump lipped. A blonde, cruelly beautiful girlfriend had shaved one side of his head; the unshaved side covered one eye that I never saw. Maybe it didn’t exist!

I was obsessed with this boy from the moment I got over my brief crush on middle-brother until I discovered the Internet when I was 16 and also discovered it was totally cool to love ladies. He did not care for my bod, but was always very sweet to me, which actually led to more humiliation than would have resulted if he had simply ignored me. During my obsession I wrote my tender mono-eyed love many poems, one titled True Love, because my feelings had deepened. I also composed a many-paged love letter that I foolishly asked my brother to deliver. Instead of the confession being passed along, it was instantly opened, read, and laughed at by our siblings. When I peeked out my bedroom window like an awkward princess in a tower and witnessed my shame, my brothers and his youngest brother huddled around my painstaking verse, guffawing with wicked joy, my Gallant Knight’s eye caught mine and he silently snatched the letter out of the giggling boys’ hands and returned to his house alone, while I slid down the wall of my bedroom and pushed play on my Paula Abdul cassette. I can’t remember one word contained in that precious document, but a part of me still hopes he read it, and still remembers that at one time, a sweet eager girl adored him.

Sometimes the mother of my Sweet Love would visit with my mother. They would sit at our kitchen table to smoke and gossip. During one visit, they moved their cigarettes and sweet tea outdoors, and Smoking Mom left her purse hanging from a kitchen chair. I was a tremendously well behaved child, but suddenly overcome by my irrational desire, I dove into her wallet, released My Tender True Heart’s school photo from its plastic confines & scurried to my bedroom with my stolen treasure clutched in my palm. I couldn’t look at it though! I couldn’t have such intimate eye contact with my Darling Man-child. He never looked away, just stared at me soulfully, slouched impatiently in his grey flannel. “What was he thinking?” I wondered. Even though I couldn’t interact with the photo, I also couldn’t bring myself to toss it; the thrill of committing a crime in the name of (true) love was too delicious, the evidence must remain. So I hid it carefully behind a pin-up photo I had hanging on my wall, above my light switch, of Tommy Puett. I don’t even remember what show Tommy Puett was on (Life Goes On, maybe? I dunno.) He was just a space filler, surrounded by more important faces: Saved By the Bell cast members; Johnny Depp; New Kids on the Block; Mariah Carey; Winona Ryder, but behind Puett’s stupid face hid my True Love, and now that mullet-clad boy is a part of my heart’s history.

The Fandom Monster by Bo Abeille

September 4th, 2014|Categories: TV, Writing|Tags: , , , , |

I learned at a very young age that collecting soothes and sorts a scattered mind. In the chaos of my childhood home I built a sanctuary within the space allotted to me for sleep and solitude. I started with books – series like The Babysitters Club; Sweet Valley High; Fear Street – inexpensive little treats that added up quickly so that the pleasure of seeing their uniform spines lined up along a wall equalled the pleasure of immersing myself inside the stories. I also collected cassette tapes, VHS tapes and, most reverently and expansively: magazines.

Musicians, young actors and actresses, and models were usually my drug of choice. However, when Beverly Hills, 90210 premiered in 1990, I had the opportunity to collect on many levels. Young actors, both boys and girls, sold me fashion, beauty, music, trends and sex. Not only was I able to align my teen frustrations into organized well labelled stacks of VHS tapes but, because 90210 was a teen culture phenomenon, I was able to become an insane fully immersed collector. What were once simply shiny magazine pages from Teen Beat and Bop became buttons; stickers; collector cards; games; clothing; pillows; sheets; curtains; jewellery; dolls. My bedroom was a shrine with only space for me and my obsession.

With nothing but the knowledge of the fantasy world they have stepped inside, fandom that complete creates a fan mutant of a person. No longer a simple fan, the Fandom Monster will listen quietly and leap awkwardly on any opportunity to reveal their massive cache of knowledge.

Which is why, on the day the season two episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 was to air where “one of the gang” was going to tragically meet their end; I could not keep myself quiet when a girl on the bus said, with complete assurance: “Dylan is going to die, probably of an overdose.”

“First of all,” I interrupted, speaking with an authoritative tone that startled my usually reserved self, “Dylan is in recovery.” After getting that point out of the way, I explained that the week’s TV Guide ad (which I clipped each week and pasted into a photo album) featured David’s geeky friend Scott Scanlon in the cast photo and that Scott hadn’t been in ads all season.

“Obviously it’s going to be Scott,” I calmly observed. “He’s expendable.”

Never mind the fact that, at the tender age of 13, I had figured out how to discover TV tropes, I just needed everyone on that bus to understand that I knew what I was talking about, and they needed to listen.

The girl I was so patiently schooling shrugged and turned away, but I felt pretty great setting her and her friends straight. Felt even better that night when Scott shot himself in the face.

“I knew it!” I shouted into the empty room, my voice echoing off the glossy papered walls, the silent smiles of the 90210 cast gazing back, congratulating me for being their Biggest Fan.

Sixteen Candles (1984)

August 1st, 2014|Categories: Film, Writing|Tags: , , , , , , |

Sixteen Candles is a pretty accurate depiction of my high school experience, except getting to make out with the popular senior. I was in love with a beautiful senior boy when I was 15 and the closest I got to making out with him was when I was doing a make-up exam while he was visiting with the young, pretty social studies teacher and telling her about a nightmare he had where he woke up shirtless, soaked in sweat. I used that vision as masturbation material for MONTHS! God that guy was beautiful. Seriously like, the only beautiful boy that existed in my entire school. I had to spend 4 years pretending to not love my cheerleader friends while being rejected by harsh nerds who I only asked out because my stupid cheerleader friends told me we would make a cute couple. Dammit, high school!

Other than the blatant wish fulfillment hookup story lines that run through every Molly Ringwald featured John Hughes movie, Sixteen Candles is still a delightfully nostalgic romp through 1980s sweet sixteen birthday woes and massive lust crushes existing with no place to put them. Maybe that’s the problem I have with everyone ending up with a partner at the end of the movie. That is not what it feels like to lust when you’re a teenager! You want and you want and you want and maybe you end up making out with the weird foreign exchange student or the awkward king of the nerds, but you never ever get who you’re lusting after, not ever. That happens in your 20s!

The film is Molly’s first collaboration with John Hughes and also stars Anthony Michael Hall, who was in The Breakfast Club with Molly. Michael Schoeffling stars as Molly’s love interest. I adored Michael Schoeffling! He was my slightly fumbling, less dangerous Matt Dillon. He was the sweet sensitive boy who deflowered Winona Ryder in the lighthouse in Mermaids. So romantic! The overall message in The Breakfast Club seems to resonate stronger in teenagers, but Sixteen Candles stands the test of time as a perfect exploration of intense, but relatable awkwardness.

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman

July 4th, 2014|Categories: Classic Celebrities, TV, Writing|Tags: , , , , |

Whenever anyone asks me who was my first love, I always reply, “Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.” Oh, there were other brunettes that stole my heart at an early age: Alyssa Milano; Shannen Doherty; Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins (I didn’t even know Julie was a blonde until I saw The Sound of Music when I was 12), but no one overwhelmed my senses like Wonder Woman. I was obsessed with her. Not the comic-her, though my obsession bled into the comics a bit, but it mostly stayed focused on the real life walking, talking Wonder Woman smiling at me all buxom and strong from my TV screen, eyes as pale as an icy sea, crimson lips parted in a mischievous smile. She became my idea of a perfect beauty, mixed with the mother I worshipped who also had dark hair and red lips.

I did everything I could to bring Wonder Woman into my life – I wore the underoos and effortlessly defeated my Superman and Batman clad brothers. I turned my Barbies into victims that Wonder Woman saved, or villains that she lassoed and triumphed over. When I was 4 I was Wonder Woman for Halloween. My Dad sewed a felt chest plate onto a red leotard, made me a headband with a star, and made me a lasso out of real rope. When my Wonder Woman mask broke, my Mom came to the rescue with her own Revlon Red lipstick, the same brand and shade Lynda sold in the commercials that I studied carefully, committing to memory the woman I wanted to become. She sold me beauty, but also strength, silly sweetness, and an affection for giant lensed glasses and buns. When I recall all the signs that I was destined to love women passionately and without abandon for the rest of my life, I count Wonder Woman as its inception. The little girl gazing at the woman that beautiful knew that there was someone deserving of a deep and abiding adoration.

Boogie Nights (1997)

June 28th, 2014|Categories: Film, Writing|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The first time I saw Philip Seymour Hoffman was in the epically thrilling movie Boogie Nights. The entire movie beautifully introduces each character, and PSH’s character Scotty J. has the best.

 

He arrives at the pool party where Mark Wahlberg’s modest but gorgeous Eddie, looking like one of Liberace’s boys, becomes Dirk Diggler, and he zeroes in on him like a sly predator spotting its prey. Dirk is Scotty’s delicious meal that he’s going to ensnare, and watching him work his game is heartbreaking! Because Scotty is also a disaster. Sweet little tummy pooching out between a too-tight top & too-tight shorts, blonde hair that makes him look like an oversized child falling messily into his eyes, and a disastrous delivery of all the suave lines he’s working in his head.

It’s so realistic though, isn’t it? Doesn’t it hurt to watch because you remember exactly how that felt – being the chubby awkward nerd madly in love with the beautiful sweet little creature that absolutely refuses to be cruel to you, thereby breaking your heart just a little bit deeper and more efficiently than he would if he would just ignore you, or be mean to you. But oh no. Dirk is going to tell Scotty he’s great, Dirk is going to encourage SJ to work his wardrobe, be social. He’s going to congratulate Scotty on every small improvement Scotty makes to seduce Dirk, because Dirk is so stunning, so sure, that there isn’t even a part of him that believes Scotty would ever be so bold as to think they might belong together.

But Scotty is bold! Scotty tries to kiss Dirk, awkwardly and hamfistedly, and even then that evil darling man gently turns SJ down. And it hurts that much more. So Scotty berates himself in the beautiful twin vehicle he thought would impress Dirk into loving him, wearing exactly what Dirk told him he looked good in, so full of desire and affection that he can’t understand why he shouldn’t be loved, except that there must be something wrong with him. He must be an idiot. He must be so stupid. But you’re not an idiot Scotty J! You’re brave! You’re worthy! You are the picture of us all! The Dirks in the world exist so we can all become fuller, so our angst can mean more, so sad songs can cut that much deeper. Everyone has their part to play, Scotty J.

Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again right now. This scene is one of the most important scenes in cinema.

 

When Wahlberg checks out there while Rick Springfield is crooning his nonsense, filling the room with ridiculous pop, and Cosmo is just casually popping those firecrackers and startling the scene, while Alfred Molina really gets into the groove of his Awesome Mix, and Reilly is just in the corner of the frame, nervously looking from person to person: FUCK! It’s perfect cinema! It’s perfect acting! It’s full of suspense and expectation and it’s less than a minute, but it feels like forever. Every time I watch it I wonder, “WHAT’S HE THINKING?” Something is going on inside his head. Something is snapping, or about to snap. The drugs and the surreal experience he’s fully caught inside, it’s all swirling together and it is magic to behold.