Ever wonder why there are so many kids named Jake around? Jake’s our boy!
Last year I was sitting at home on a Sunday afternoon flipping through TV stations, when I landed on “Sixteen Candles.” Dudes may not get this, but a girl of the 80s is forbidden from continuing to flip channels any longer once you realize you have been lucky enough to happen upon a John Hughes film.
As I watched I made this post to Facebook: “Jake Ryan standing across the street from the church in front of his red Porsche and waving hi is still THE single hottest/most romantic moment in movie history. Fact.”
What followed was not only a long stream of the to-be-expected gushing responses from my female friends, but even some enthusiasm from my guy friends as well. In particular, there was a rousing cry from one 40-something man of “Jake?!? Jake’s my boy!!!”
Jake Ryan – driver of the red Porsche 944 and bearer of the most perfect birthday cake of all time, was played by actor Michael Schoeffling, who made just a few more and then vanished from our lives as quickly as the scene closed on Jake and Samantha’s Sweet Sixteen first kiss.
You may be asking why this little trip down memory lane matters to you. Well, I have a theory about Jake Ryan, you see.
Any of you have a son named Jacob or Jake? I do, and I am certainly not alone, given that Jacob held the title of most popular name for boys born in the U.S. over the 14 year period of 1999-2013.
I am no math whiz, but I did a little calculating. There are a wide variety of statistics related to the average age of mothers giving birth in the U.S. these days, but most studies site about 30 years old. Let’s imagine that most girls first saw Sixteen Candles, which was released in 1984, at the age of 16. If those women all gave birth at age 30, they would have gotten pregnant in 1998 and given birth in, you guessed it, 1999!
Get it???? If you have a son named Jacob or Jake who was born during the Jacob-making craze of the new millennium, chances are your son is somehow, consciously or unconsciously, named after Jake Ryan!
And why shouldn’t he be? Jake was—and I cannot emphasize this too strongly—AWESOME!
In the course of just one hour and 33 minutes running time, Jake managed to:
- respectfully take his girlfriend to the big school dance,
- graciously accept the tag-a-long assistance of two ridiculously inane freshmen,
- keep his cool despite a raging party that trashed his parents’ home,
- respectfully break up with the aforementioned girlfriend, and
- sweep the birthday celebration-deprived Samantha up and away for the most delicious cake ever. (I mean, it just had to be, right?)
What I now realize is so fantastic about this character’s inspiration of an entire generation of “Jakes” is that the kind of guy Jake Ryan was in that movie is absolutely a guy I would be proud of my son for emulating.
In my assessment, Jake Ryan is the answer to that ever-frustrating quandary running through all of the daily dating columns—does she want a nice guy or a bad boy? I cannot speak for all women, but I do believe that one particularly healthy answer would be that she wants neither.
She wants a man who is respectful, considerate, empathetic and kind.
A man who has the confidence to show up uninvited at a wedding, the manners to wait across the street instead of crashing, and the generosity of spirit to make sure that the woman he loves (OK, it was high school, so the women he crushes on, but still) has her birthday acknowledged in a way that makes her feel important and acknowledged. A man who would say, as Jake did, that he just wants “somebody I can love, that’s gonna love me back.”
The kind of guy we don’t have wonder where we stand with, because when we look him in the eyes and ask him, he simply looks directly back with an adoring smile and answers, “Yeah, you.”
I bet most of us would even happily forego the Porsche. That’s not such a tall order, is it?
Photo Credit: Sixteen Candles Movie/YouTube