If you’re like me, the words “Molly Ringwald” come accompanied by a set of 1980’s based imagery and cultural association. Swatches, Levis stonewashed jeans, Reagan. You know, the big stuff. But there’s also much more specific imagery from the handful of iconic films Ringwald starred in during her brief stint as America’s girl next door. I’m speaking of The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink. And fine, even The Pick Up Artist. I see Molly learning sadly against a locker wondering why she gave her panties to a geek. I see her leaning across the table to kiss dreamboat Jake Ryan. I see her loudly admitting she’s a virgin while Judd Nelson goads her. I see her dancing horribly in a long leather skirt. I see her putting on lipstick with her cleavage. I see her breaking poor Jon Cryer’s tiny little heart so she can galavant with the “richie” Andrew McCarthy.
I like these images. I go to them often. They make me smile and laugh. And I like having Molly there in the frame, right where I need her.
Maybe when you think of Molly, if you think of her at all, you think of other things. But, regardless, you know what you don’t picture when you hear the words “Molly Ringwald?”
Yeah, that just happened.
I feel such a confluence of emotions when I see this that I honestly lack the words. Is she…singing jazz? She is, isn’t she? She’s not…terrible. Is she? I’m so distracted by all the other associations I have with her that I can’t even tell. I have vertigo. I need a place to lie down.
I bumped into Molly Ringwald the jazz singer the other day when looking over the new jazz selection on iTunes. Hence my whiplash. This is all new. I saw her name and image, thought “no fucking way,” and had to click. The samples aren’t half bad. If you didn’t know it was Molly Ringwald, you could almost sit down and listen to it. But…it is Molly Ringwald. I feel for Molly here. Clearly, she’s a more than capable singer and not just whistling dixie up there. And others must think so as well because she’s #4 on the iTunes jazz chart as of right now. Yep, #4. Just ahead of some guy named Miles Davis.
Of course, this isn’t exactly unchartered terrain. I mentioned Reagan above and we all know the journey from Hollywood hunk to the White House is far less likely than that from 80’s film sweetheart to jazz ingenue. Same for the journey from world champion body builder to the governor of California. We all survived that. Hell, maybe jazz is what Molly had her sights set on all along. Maybe she and John Hughes used to sit around and dig on Monk and Prez between takes. Honestly, I stopped paying attention to her around 1988. But I kind of figured she stopped too.
I guess what I’m saying is that Molly’s different somehow. I can’t explain it. She’s ours, isn’t she? All right fine, she’s mine. And these images of her are such a part of my past that they’re burned into my subconscious. I can’t help it. Even more so…I need them there. Need her there.
By the way, I’m well aware of how weird and unfair I’m being. I don’t care. I have needs people. Just please tell me Anthony Michael Hall isn’t running for Congress or I’m going to need medical attention.
As a final thought, if you’re reading this and you find yourself intrigued or wanting to pick up some Molly Ringwald to canoodle you and your lover on some upcoming candlelit journey, go for it. If you can forget who’s singing, you might even be able to enjoy it. Just pick up some Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday first.
I’ll sleep better.