Friday, October 7, 2011


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As a child of the 80s perhaps the most valuable life lessons were learned thanks to the weekly section of our local video store. The combination of the “five weeklies for five dollars” deal and a truly lacklustre ratings system provided some memorable entertainment during the school holidays. My rather sheltered existence in the eastern suburbs was irrevocably shaken with visions of a much raunchier reality than life in Clayton ever offered.

Under the guise of family comedies, films such as Weird Science, Breakfast Club and Teen Wolf

My prepubescent brain understood one key ideal of the coming years, everyone over 14 wants to get laid, big time. This will be my main aim in life and how to achieve this seemed clearly laid out in these films with seemingly foolproof simplicity. Unfortunately reality proved otherwise.

The following are the most valuable sex lessons I learnt from '80s films. In hindsight they presented a confused and irrelevant reality where dancing was a guaranteed way of getting laid and being weird was just a special form of individual expression. The practical application of these guiding principles resulted in my early teenage years becoming a very lonely and awkward existence.

I blame Kevin Bacon.

Lesson #1: Dancing is the only way to pick up the ladies.
The escapades of Kevin Bacon in Footloose clearly demonstrate that the only way to be cool is to dance. Novice dancers take note, it’s not just any dancing but the angry variety that yields best results. For further evidence proving the veracity of this lesson I present Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing.
began to shape my notions of sex and sexuality. Admittedly John Hughes is perhaps not the most knowledgeable source on the matter but he painted a somewhat confusing and alluring landscape of the teenage years to come.

Lesson #2: Body hair will not get you laid if it covers your entire body.
As Michael J Fox demonstrates, it’s not just enough to have the best hair of the eighties but only through excessive amounts of body hair will you all but be guaranteed of getting it on with the school hottie. Anything less will be ridiculed and if you are ever in the vicinity of a school shower watch out for Emilio Estevez and his butt taping antics. Following on from the previous lesson, if you are wolf like and can dance not only will all your sexual desires come true but you’ll earn the respect of your classmates.

Lesson #3: Beware the false comfort of cybersex.
In Weird Science, Wyatt and Gary use their Commodore 64 to create a woman that will fulfil their sexual desires and lose that pesky virginity. The end result is a series of embarrassing antics that keeps their virginity well intact. The lesson, as relevant then as it is today, whether doing it through a computer or to a computer cybersex doesn’t count as sex.

Lesson #4: Lock the door. For God’s sake, lock the door.
As Judge Reinhold learned in Fast Times at Ridgemont High before any contemplation of self pleasure make sure the doors are locked. There’s no getting over trauma of that variety.

Lesson #5: To fall in love, you don’t need to have a single thing in common.
As was proven beyond all doubt by Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles, true love doesn’t require conversation or even common interests. The only thing that matters is that you can share longing looks, this is the bedrock of everlasting love.

Lesson #6: Open hostility wins the prettiest girl at school every time.
A strange one even at the time but Judd Nelson is a wise role model as his constant verbal abuse towards Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club seems to bear fruit. After tear inducing insults covering everything from looks, sexual experience and social class during Saturday detention, they end the day with a passionate smooch.

Lesson #7: When you’re a teenager, virginity is a disease that must be eradicated like German measles.
Perhaps the most important lesson of them all. It seems whether you are Anthony Michael Hall, John Cusack, Molly Ringwald or Ally Sheedy being a virgin was presented as something to be ashamed of. If '80s film have taught us anything it is that teenage life will be a seemingly never ending journey to remove this scarlet letter. Oh how right they were.


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