As I was a young girl in the late nineties, it can hardly come as a surprise to you that Clueless is one of my favorite movies. I have lost count of the number of times I have watched that film. I checked it out for the twelftieth time yesterday, and while I was watching, my brain-cogs were turning. I truly believe that our favorite films say a lot about who we are. I also believe that the films we watched and loved as a child have an impact on the person that we will grow up to become. When I think about it, my serial-viewing of Clueless in my teen years has left a few imprints on my psyche (aside from my ability to quote huge chunks of dialogue from the film). Here are some of the many ways that Clueless has changed my life:
My obsession with matching ensembles.
I have an innate desire to match up every element of my outfits. I like my outfit to have an overall theme, and every article I wear, from my shoes to my handbag, need to match that theme. I occasionally break out of this pattern, but it’s rare. It’s not at all unusual to see me wearing a lipstick that perfectly matches the shade of the stone in my ring, or a skirt patterned with flowers that are mirrored by the floral garland in my hair. I blame Cher Horowitz for my love of matching ensembles. Cher’s outfits are planned by computer, so each and every element of her ensemble perfectly compliments everything she’s wearing. In one scene, we see her chewing bright-yellow gum which is the exact colour of her tartan mini-skirt. In another, she’s writing with a feather-topped pen that matches her backpack. I think this obsession with coordination seeped into my still-forming pre-teen brain and embedded itself deep in my outfit-planning centre, ready to rear it’s head when I was old enough to start buying my own clothes.
My love-affair with Paul Rudd.
I have a rather serious crush on Paul Rudd, which I believe blossomed when I first saw him as Josh in Clueless. There’s something about him that just turns me to mush. Perhaps it’s his dark, foppish hair and sideburns, as I seem to be attracted to guys with this look (David Tennant, Johnny Depp, Ross). Perhaps it’s his slightly nerdish quality, or the fact that he always plays the slightly-awkward-but-sweet guy. Whatever it is, Clueless was the catalyst for my love of Mr Rudd.
My unrealistic expectations of teen life.
As a twelve-year-old, I totally expected that life in high school would be exactly as it played out in Clueless. I thought that everyone would have a car, each girl would have a parade of guys beating their way to her door and that your grades mattered a lot less than what shade of lipstick you chose to wear. I expected to spend each lunchtime eating in a trendy cafeteria and every weekend to be filled with house-parties. I thought that I was about to enter a world where my parents would back off and not place any fetters on my social life. I was so incredibly wrong. For one, I should have taken into account that Clueless (and the plethora of teen movies that I gorged myself on during these years) was set in America, and that I lived in a tiny country town in Australia. My school didn’t even have a cafeteria. I don’t know what I could have been thinking of when I dreamed up this teen-paradise for myself.
My love of hats.
As you may have noticed, I adore hats of all kinds. They’re the perfect way to spice up an otherwise pedestrian outfit, and inject a bit of personality into your wardrobe. I always admired Dionne from Clueless, and her courageous use of headwear. I love the black, red and white graphic hat that she wears in the opening scenes of the film (‘Shopping with Dr Suess?”). I still have a black beret that I bought at the age of thirteen, in an attempt to rip off Cher’s stylish look. That beret is still on heavy rotation in my wardrobe to this day.
My (incorrect) belief that popularity is the key to happiness.
When I started high school, my number one goal was to join the popular group. I was convinced that if I won the favour of these trendy individuals, that I would be accepted into their ranks and would avoid all manner of embarrassment and trauma. I think it was my diet of teen movies that convinced me of this fact. Suffice to say, I wasn’t really what the popular group was looking for in a new chum. I was socially awkward, with terrible skin. I loved British comedy, op-shopping and music from the 60’s and 70’s and I had a tendency to ace every test I ever took. I was forever branded a ‘brain’ and a ‘weirdo’ and was banished to the far reaches of the social stratosphere. However, even though I wasn’t a part of the popular group, my teen years weren’t all bad. Sure, I did suffer at the hands of those fashionable individuals, who chose to bully me into a quivering mess. Aside from that though, I did have some really fantastic times during high school. I had a group of friends who were great fun to be around. I was popular with the boys and was rarely without a boyfriend. Some of my best memories of that time involve spending the weekend at my best friend’s house, making cookies and watching The Young Ones, making out with my boyfriend in the park, or reading awesome books on the sofa. Even though I wasn’t popular, my life wasn’t without happiness. If anything, it meant that I had a bit more freedom to discover who I was and just be myself, rather than trying to act and dress the way I was ‘supposed to’ to be able to fit in with a bunch of people who, quite frankly, weren’t all that nice.
My tendancy to talk in “Valley Speak” incessantly.
Like so many girls my age, I adopted the popular Valley Girl vernacular during my early teen years. My parent’s requests that I clean my room or help with the dishes were frequently met with a chorus of “Whatever” (usually with the thumb and forefinger of each hand held up to form a “W” to punctuate my point”. My sentences were peppered with the words, “like, totally” and I had a tendency to end every sentence with a raised inflection (so it sounded like every sentence was a question). Even though this habit was gradually weeded out as I got older, every now and then, I find these patterns creeping back into my speech. Perhaps one day I’ll stop talking this way forever. Pfft, as if!
Were you a fan of ‘Clueless’ in your teens? How has it influenced you? Are there any other films from your youth that have had an impact on the person that you are now?