In Search of Jake Ryan

A poster for John Hughes' 1984 romantic comedy 'Sixteen Candles' starring (L-R) Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, and Mic
A poster for John Hughes' 1984 romantic comedy 'Sixteen Candles' starring (L-R) Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, and Michael Schoeffling. (Photo by Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images)

I blame Jake Ryan, not Prince Charming.

Ever since I was 11 and watched the movie Sixteen Candles I've been hopelessly waiting for my Sixteen Candles moment.

It's near the end when Molly Ringwald's Samantha goes into the church to retrieve her sister's veil. On her way out she bumps into the short lady with squeaky shoes. There is an awkward moment when Molly tries to explain why she's getting the veil and how important it is to her sister, the bride.

The woman looks at her sideways, probably already aware that everyone has left for the reception.
Upon exiting the church, Sam realizes her family left; that no one noticed she was missing.

Her face is full of sadness, like, "Why do I bother trying with these people?"

The cars pull away and the music cues; there he is, her secret crush.

Jake Ryan.

Samantha looks around, dumbfounded.

"Me?"

"Yah, you!"

Swoon.

At 11, I remember thinking, "I want."

Brown eyes, tall, handsome, somewhat serious and able to rise above the silly societal rules that start in high school and unfortunately carry over into adulthood. Jake had the busty popular blonde but showed some depth in going for the sensitive, lonely and flat-chested redhead.

Jake brings light to a girl who is treated like absolute garbage by her family. Seriously, the whole movie is about how they forgot her birthday and her father, upon realizing this, tries to make up for it by saying he doesn't ever worry about her, that she is the "smart" one in the family.

Baloney. You don't forget to celebrate those you love on the day of their birth.

The movie closes with Jake sitting on a glass table, a giant birthday cake sitting between the couple. The pastry is ablaze and the two share a kiss above the candles' glow after Samantha declares she need not make a wish for her wish already came true.

Cue the music.

Sigh.

It wasn't Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty or Snow White that ruined me. I can't blame Disney. Nope. John Hughes gets all the credit for his love story about a girl who is mistreated by her family and saved by Mr. tall dark, rich, and handsome who happens to drive a sweet red sports car.

The guy who isn't just looking for a booty call, who actually seeks substance. A guy who is romantic enough to get a cake and load it with candles, who shows up when the stakes are down. Who turns his back on the superficial, opting instead for depth. A guy who takes one for the team when attacked by a Long Duck Dong jumping from a tree.

Who isn't scared off despite being subjected to crazy relatives. A guy who returns your underpants. A guy who can make you feel like you matter, especially on the day of your birth, that he grateful and thankful you were born.

So no, I don't want a glass slipper, or to be awakened by true love's kiss. Nope. I want the cars to clear, to look up from my hopelessness and find my Jake Ryan standing there.

Even after all these years, I still want my cake. It might burn a bit brighter now, I mean I am 40; but I refuse to give up hope and still naively believe my Sixteen Candles moment awaits.