Friday, July 20, 2012

Sixteen Candles is a Thing.

Earlier this week, I entered the Hookers and Hangers contest, posting some of the hookers (first lines of chapters) and hangers (last lines of chapters) from my novels. The most commented-upon line was:

I climb in, trying really hard not to worry about the fact that this guy has never even heard of Sixteen Candles

There's actually a funny story that goes with this line. It's one of the original lines from the first draft of this novel, but I loved it so much that it was kept all the way through the editing/rewriting process, even though it did move around in the chronology a bit.

So I put that line in my novel, just as it appears here. The female character doesn't expect the guy she's talking about to have the movie memorized or anything, but he has NEVER EVEN HEARD OF IT. Bonkers, right? How could a grown man not have any idea what she's talking about when she says "Sixteen Candles"?

(I know I shouldn't be this upset, since they are 1- Fictional characters and 2- Fictional characters of my own creation, but... there you have it.)

One of my beta readers commented that most men do NOT know what Sixteen Candles is about, and that this line was out of place, unrealistic, and just basically stupid.

I thought, "Oh, no. There's no way I have so completely misread the pop culture landscape of America! Men my age know what 'Sixteen Candles' is, right? Maybe not the whole thing, but they are AWARE of it, certainly?"

So I did what any red-blooded social-media-junkie would do: I crowd sourced it. I asked Twitter and Facebook the same question:

"Men- without the help of Google, tell me what you know about 'Sixteen Candles'"

You know what I got? About sixty responses, almost all from men in their twenties (this character is supposed to be twenty-three). Some admitted to loving it as much as their girlfriends/wives, some quoted lines back at me, some said something along the lines of "Molly Ringwold's underpants, right?" and a bunch cracked jokes about it being a girls' movie but they've been forced at to watch it at least once.

But the bottom line?

Men know what this movie is.

I win.

And this has been the single most commented on line among my Hooker/Hanger entries.


  1. Melbourne on my MindJuly 20, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    I saw Sixteen Candles for the first time about three weeks ago. I have no idea how I managed to avoid such a fantastic piece of cinematic gold for 28 years. AND YET...

    I now feel the need to purchase it on DVD as soon as I can.

  2. I actually have never seen it. I'm generally quite deprived when it comes to movies.

    But, on a related note, my husband recently was talking to a co-worker (also in his twenties) and discovered that he had never heard of Back to the Future. We were both floored.

  3. My husband (28) has never heard of 16 candles - in fact, when i just asked him now he said "wait, is that a book or a movie" - sigh. But this doesn't surprise me because he had also never seen star wars - I remedied this IMMEDIATELY. I literally could not handle falling in love with a man who did not know who Chewbacca was.

  4. I would definitely read a book that references Sixteen Candles. And I made my husband watch Sixteen Candles when we were first married. How can you go your whole life without giggling every time you say "Long Duck Dong"?

  5. Funny side story: this concept was based (very loosely) on an ex-boyfriend of mine. He didn't know who Goldie Hawn was. He was older than me, and would be about thirty six today, but had no idea who Goldie Hawn was.

    But not knowing Star Wars?


  6. What?! I could imagine not having seen it, but never even heard of it? Crazy.

    I fully understand that not everyone has seen all the same movies as me, but to never even hear of some of e most popular movies of all time is surprising.

  7. Oh, it is one of my all time favorites. The ultimate average-girl-gets-gets-the-hottie.