The bell rings, you exit the classroom, and, like the other hundreds of students, you crowd the hallway, squeezing past everyone to get to your next class. You jog down the stairs, and on the last step you trip and fall into the arms of a cute guy. He doesn’t seem familiar, but you’ll often remember him because he saved your life; and, his sincere smile and dreamy eyes will make the butterflies in your stomach dance. You have just fallen in love. Or, maybe you didn’t actually fall into his arms, but you noticed him across the cafeteria or in gym class.
The only thing standing in your way is — no, not a popular girl trying to date him — your fear to let the love toward your crush be known even though you have both exchanged smiles in the hallway since the encounter. That fear may exist because you have been disappointed with love before, you are scared to give love a try, or you don’t know how your friends may react. So, before you daydream about him and write each other’s initials on your binder, you may want to learn that love does not necessarily have to be something to fear.
For this lesson, we will venture into the world of film. Like many teenage films, Pretty in Pink is about love. It revolves around Andie, a high school student that lives in a poor neighborhood (played by Molly Ringwald), who falls in love with Andrew McCarthy’s character, Blane, a rich high school senior. After their initial meet-cute, Blane often visits the record store where Andie works just to see her because he likes her almost as much as she likes him. However, Andie is afraid to date and fall in love with Blane due to his family’s economic status. She also worries about what people would think about them being together. She tells her dad after her first date with Blane that she’s not sure if they were going to accept her. Despite her dad’s reassurance that what Blane’s friends thought shouldn’t make a difference, Andie replies “Yeah, but it’s not just his friends. It’s my friends, too. It’s everybody!”
True to dramatic, teen-movie form, Blane’s best friend Steff tries to convince Blane to stop dating Andie, which causes him to cancel the prom date with her. Andie seems to regret falling in love, but she comes to realize that she still has strong feelings for him. In the final scene, both Andie and Blane no longer feel threatened by the opinions of others and overcome their mutual fear of falling in love.
Now, the affection you feel toward someone might not necessarily be similar to the characters’ in Pretty in Pink. Maybe you’re a freshman while he’s a senior, or maybe he’s the cute guy who works at the local grocery store. Nevertheless, no matter the situation, it can be hard to let your crush know how you feel. The worry of what others might think can haunt you, and the fear of falling for someone — maybe because your heart’s been broken before — can keep you away from love. However, I believe the ultimate lesson to be taken from movies like Pretty in Pink is that you shouldn’t let anyone or anything stand in the way of your feelings. Don’t let ultimately unimportant obstacles prevent you from being with that person for whom your heart pace quickens and your butterflies dance.
The key to all this is cliche sounding, but true nonetheless: Be Yourself. Whether or not your crush reciprocates your feelings, at least you didn’t pretend to be someone you’re not. And if said crush doesn’t reciprocate, then know (no matter how cheesy it sounds) that they weren’t the one for you, and there’s definitely someone out there for you. You may not find them today, next week, or within two years, but they’re out there.
Now, if you’ve already found the person you love, remember that a relationship requires communication, connection, and understanding for each other. It’s something you’ve got to work at, and it may not come easy, but it is worth it. As the famed and fabulous 80’s rocker Pat Benatar said, “Love is a battlefield.” When it comes to love, don’t be afraid to experience it and fight for it.