I was born in 1984, Grease came out in 1978 but takes place in the 1950’s. I probably saw it for the first time when I was 9 or 10 , so in 1993 or 1994. That makes this movie very confusing! This was a movie that I saw a lot as a kid and then sprinklings of times here and there while in high school and college. I probably hadn’t seen it in its entirety in about 10 years … until I went to the Grease sing-a-long at Hollywood Bowl the other week. (I did obsessively watch the Grease competition show, “You’re the One That I Want” though!)
Guys, Didi Conn was there which prompted me to freak out, then my friend asked why I was so excited and I said, “Have you ever even SEEN Shining Time Station?!”
Obviously I had a great time at the sing-a-long because, Grease is fun to sing along to, they gave us props and, let’s face it, we were able to bring in drinks. But the weirdest thing about watching all of Grease (and having the lyrics printed on screen throughout the movie) again was that it is dirty! And crazy! You know how you think about liking Dirty Dancing and then you think about it, I mean really think about it, and you realize the whole movie is pretty disturbing and upsetting and aside from the finale, any dance practice and “I carried a watermelon” you probably never need to see it again? That’s sort of how I walked away from Grease.
The other thing I realized when chatting to my friend Jessie before the movie was that I thought I hated Marty. I was like, “she’s the boring one, right? Whatever.” But then I watched the movie and LOVED Marty. My grandmother also went by Marty (her name was Maureen) so I did have a soft spot for the name but I thought I remembered her storyline was boring but oh boy is it not! Maraschino, like the cherry.
Here are five ways Grease, I’ve realized, has ruined my life:
1. Forever Realized I Have Major Sandy Tendencies
I was the Sandy of my group of friends growing up. I moved back into a school district I hadn’t been in since kindergarten when I was in 4th grade and it felt…dramatic. I knew some of the kids, but I hadn’t been there for three grades and when you’re only 9 that is an eternity. So poor Sandy arriving to Rydell High, not knowing many people (tho at least she had Frenchy) really spoke to me. Sure, I didn’t have an Australian accent and I hadn’t been having an innocent fling with a popular guy but I still felt what she was going through.
Any sleepover where girls wanted to talk about boys, I didn’t even know what to do. “He’s cute” was about the end of it. If any chat went to kissing I immediately turned bright red (something that still happens to me today), and if anyone wanted to do ANYTHING bad, I was terrified and against it. There was a very innocent sleepover in 5thgrade where all the girls started mooning each other and I didn’t want to and started crying because of all the anxiety. So like, 10-year-old Erin is what I assume 10-year-old Sandy would have been.
Do I think having Sandy tendencies is the worst thing? Well, no, not exactly. But she does succumb to the peer pressure in the end and then drive off in a flying car so I mean, she’s not a super great role model either.
2. Thought High School Was Going to Involve A Lot More Dancing and Singing
Obviously, as a child, I thought any movie about high school was essentially a documentary. (Also, as someone who has always looked younger than they are, the casting of older-than-high-school-aged-actors really messed with me growing up!) So basically, I assumed that I’d spend a lot of time breaking out into song and suddenly being an excellent dancer (I also assume kids who grow up with High School Musical will have a similar problem.)
The hilarious part about this is I used to be in choirs, I even was in musicals and I’ve had to dance on stage many times. But I never wanted a solo. You know what I mean? I was very content being in choirs or being in the chorus of a musical or dancing in a group but being offered the chance to sing alone basically made me want to break out in hives. Senior year, in one of the choirs, the seniors were all supposed to have solos and I respectfully declined mine. I loved singing and singing in a group but please don’t make me sing alone.
Of course that all changed now because if “Lucky” is playing at karaoke and it’s my turn, you need to get out of my way.
3. Wondered Why My Friends and I Never Wore Matching Outfits
It’s really not fair I was never a part of a girl gang, you guys. I would have loved those jackets.
This kind of goes back to my desire in high school to have school uniforms. I just like the idea of wearing the same thing as my classmates, I guess. It’s weird to think about now since I have a wardrobe that would never be a uniform but as a pre-teen and teen I just felt like a uniform would make everything so easy. (And probably would have prevented me from ever rocking huge jeans and an oversized Nike tee shirt in middle school.)
But I just really like the idea of a jacket. It’s less of a commitment than a uniform but it lets people know you mean business.
I guess what I’m trying to say is if anyone wants to start a girl gang with me, let me know, I’ll draft up some jackets.
4. Desperately Wanted to Hang Out at Drive-Ins, Have a Make Out Spot
I guess this is more indicative of a larger “movies from the 50’s” problem but my first introduction to this was Grease so that’s what I think of.
I think I’ve been to a drive-in maybe once when I was really young but I don’t remember it so it doesn’t count. And like, there was a drive-in theater by where I grew up! I’m from Upstate New York for crying out loud! But I never went! What was I doing in high school wasting time going to regular theaters? Ugh!
The other thing is where are all these high schools where people have make out spots? Do you think there were make out spots for my high school that I just wasn’t aware of? I mean, it’s not like I didn’t make out with people in high school. Or like, go to places to make out. But where are these insane places where a whole line of cars of high school students go to make out?
Actually that’s sounds creepy. I don’t wanna know. But I hope it exists. I think.
5. Gave Me a Really Warped Outlook on…Life, In General
I mean, this a movie where Stockard Channing is supposed to be in high school. I don’t think Stockard Channing was ever in high school. She just seems so mature, all the time.
Sandy is immediately ridiculed for not being able to smoke and not wanting to drink, Rizzo gets pregnant but then isn’t pregnant. Everyone rejoices. Sandy and Danny are too dissimilar to date in the rules of high school but then they both change each other for the other person and are happy. Frenchy drops out of high school for beauty school and then drops out of beauty school.
Everything is bonkers in Grease and I mean, I do love it. But it’s also insane. And if you aren’t acutely aware of the specific lyrics of “Greased Lightning” please look them up because even at 28 I was SHOCKED.