9.24.2012

There are no more Lloyd Dobblers.

We've spent our lives looking for him. Haven't we? And you know who I'm talking about: that troubled bad boy you think you can reform, that jock with one pair of tennis shoes, that tall, handsome, directionless nomad that will love you unconditionally and without consequence.

But there are no more Lloyd Dobblers.

We tell ourselves it's because they've all been snatched up! We're in our thirties and forties now, and we eat tapas with our girlfriends and bitch about how all the women who are smarter and prettier than us have already stolen the last few leaving us to wade through a pool of Ferris Beulers and Zach Morrisons. But the truth is far more devastating: we don't recognize them when we encounter them because we don't actually want them.

Think about it. Who would Lloyd Dobbler really have grown to become? Let me ask this question another way: how many successful professional kick boxers do you know? Have you ever met even one? I mean, if you need another reason to end this fruitless search for a fictional character, it's right there in the movie: it wont work because you'll be "off in an international think tank, and he'll be kicking punching bags."

There are Lloyd Dobblers all over the place. You can easily have your pick of them. They're bagging your groceries at Trader Joe's and typing on their Macbooks at the coffee shop and they're lounging around your girlfriends' kitchens because all their friends are still girls. They're those pale-faced bartenders with a dog-eared paperback in their pocket. They're watering your plants when you're out of town. Fuck, they're even laying in your fucking bed with you watching Say Anything on your projector. Or laptop. Or...I mean, this is hypothetical.

What I mean is that they line the streets waiting for our approval, but as we've aged we've grown tired of these indecisive jocks, and we say we want them to follow us all over the country and the world and then we belittle them when they do, wondering why they have nothing better to do than to board planes for us. There are, for us, no more Lloyd Dobblers because we refuse to take them seriously, and yet we seriously refuse to let go of this unrealistic fictional ideal.

And it's not just Lloyd Dobbler, there are more. Chuck Klosterman mused that any woman born between 1964 and 1979 would never be as in love with him as she was with the very fictional Lloyd, so where does that leave women like me born just a hair past Klostermans [arbitrary] deadline?

We want A.J. We want the slight cardigan wearing illustrator who kept his love for Liv Tyler a secret for years while punching the clock at a New Jersey independent record store.

We want Troy Dyer, guitar wielding, bedroom-eyed texan who will fuck us and leave us only to return to apologize.

We want Sam Anders! We want that black leather jacket wearing best friend who climbs in our bedroom window rather than utilizing the front door. And hey, maybe we could get a pet caiman, too.

But don't you think it's weird that we don't spend any time at all wanting to emulate Diane Court or Clarissa Darling, rather just co-opt their love interests?

What happened to to the girls born and bred in the 80's who wanted to be Punky Brewster and Mary Lou Retton rather than fuck Andy Clark?

Real men come in all shapes and sizes. They are tall and short and whimsical and complicated and everything in the spectrum in between those. They are men, not characters, and if they're smart they will leave us in a speed relative to which we put them in boxes. They deserve better than these checklists that we've created from years of watching fake men and boys on TV and in movies, they need our gentle hearts just as much as we want them to be careful with our feelings. Some days they are driven and some days they are defeated, but it's time we re-evaluate who we deem worthy of our love, and time to start honestly deciding who it is we want.

The least we can do, I suppose, is make sure that they're real.
--M

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