Relationship Goals I learned from ‘My So-Called Life’

When I was 15, I dyed my bangs Manic Panic’s electric banana. It wasn’t because a slab of chartreuse was so flattering against my broken-out forehead, obviously, I just felt like it necessary in order to take control of my life. Needless to say I was totally Angela Chase in My So-Called Life as a teenager, and the hair follicle follies isn’t where it stops. In fact, the short-lived show paved the way for major #relationshipgoals I would have as a rebellious youth.

Let’s broach the obvious first: there is nothing more beautiful than early ’90s Jared Leto. The only strong competitor is 2015 Jared Leto (and really the choice is just based on how you feel about a sexy Jesus from there). My So-Called Life had us ALL writing “Mrs. Jordan Catalano” in our (mental) notebooks. But is it REALLY the endgame that works out in reality?

Hell, I don’t know, the show never made it past a season. Regardless, let’s go back to school and recount all the things we’ve learned about first relationships, “umming,” and making out from My So-Called Life.

Being in love means falling for the subtle nuances of a human being

“He’s always closing his eyes like it hurts to look at things.” That’s pretty much the basis of why Angela is “in love” with Jordan Catalano. She dreamily muses about this off the same tangent of, “He was left back twice.” I’m not going to undermine Angela’s feelings, I’m just going to say that when you’re really into someone, you sometimes tend to ascribe deeper meaning to the little things and sidestep the bigger picture. Unfortunately, you often still owe it to yourself to tepidly pursue those feels and see if there’s something there (spoiler: she does).

Clandestine boiler room hook-ups are TRES romantic

Actually, secret hook-ups on their own can be pretty cool, there was a solid chunk of my adolescence that was solely that because of the thrill. HOWEVER, the fun stops once the guy you’ve been macking it with flat out ignores you. It’s like, you had your tongue down my throat 12 hours ago, you can’t treat me like that.

There is nothing more relationship-affirming than hand-holding 

No snark, I stand by this vehemently. After Angela tells off Jordan for ignoring her at Buffalo Tom, he asks if they can go somewhere and talk, and then when they’re walking away he grabs her hand. You guys. Hand holding is totally big deal, more so than the kind of intimate acts done in a boiler room, or, say, the backseat of a car. Hand holding publicly denotes solidarity and togetherness in one tiny, swooping gesture. I WISH that someone as beautiful as Jordan Catalano would hold my hand one day. That would be dreamy

If you’re thinking about losing your virginity, consult a group of seasoned professionals, i.e. fellow 15-year-olds

Angela pretty much crowdsources the big question of, “Should I do it with Jordan or not?” and the results are understandably mixed. She doesn’t go through it, and obviously the choice to have sex or not is a personal decision that all of us have to make for ourselves, but it’s nice to get some outside perspective. Sometimes it helps you gauge if you’re really ready to boink your new boyfriend. Of course, our girl wasn’t ready, and that is totally fine, too.

One day you’ll wake up magically over the break-up of the century

You’ll obsess forever and then suddenly a weight will be lifted. Hopefully you’ll have the Violent Femmes queued up for your jubilant “I’m over it!” dance. Enjoy the moment, but expect fallout before your BFF unceremoniously stabs you in the back. Oh, teenagers.

The beautiful, mysterious ones are worth all of the pain they reap

Ok, but back to Jordan Catalano and ascribing deeper meaning to things that may not have the depth you crave. There may be layers to the Jordan, and there may even be pain (one of the few trivia pieces we know is that his father used to beat him, and that’s no joke). Overall, though, what we mostly get from his truncated interactions with Angela and co. is that he can’t read too good and his in-the-moment apathy causes him to do occasionally shady things.

Not that Brian Krakow is a great alternative, and we tackled this last week with “there’s no winner in a Duckie-Blane-Andie triangle.” Still, typically your teenage so-called relationship with a Jordan Catalano doesn’t go well at all. But making that fantasy a reality is a necessary experience that helps mold you from a wide eyed innocent to a wiser but sadder woman. Ultimately, all the relationships we encounter in high school, be it positive or negative, forever or fleeting, help mold us into the individual we are today.

Or something.


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[image courtesy ABC]

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