We can trace the formative moment in my dating career back to 1994, and the viewing of the “Boiler Room” episode of My So-Called Life. The actual name of the episode was “Self-Esteem,” but that’s a moot point, as any teenage girl watching the show ONLY remembers the boiler room scenes from the episode where Angela Chase finally rendezvous with Jordan Catalano.
The important piece isn’t that she makes out with her longtime crush, as that’s clearly happened to every girl who cornered her drunk crush in a closet during high school. Jordan being visibly embarrassed to be seen with her is also quite realistic; Angela’s best friend ripping Jordan a new one for being such a douchebag was a regular occurrence in my high school memories. (Thanks, high school BFF Shelby, those eight guys totally deserved it.) Yet the part that stood out like a blinding light, and left me forever warped, was watching Jordan and Angela walk down the school hallway at the end of the episode and having him take her hand, signifying his desire to be less of a jackhole.
The message 13-year-old me gleaned from that moment was that if you are madly obsessed with a super gorgeous loner, and you continue to bankrupt your self-respect in an effort to smell his hair while he kisses your neck in secret and ignores you in public, you will eventually win his love. This has been the lead contributing factor to my desire to tame the wild ones, continue making out with a spacey, flippant boy because he was gorgeous and his hair smelled good, and be immediately uninterested in/a little cruel to the men who fall in love by the second date.
Don’t get me started on the final episode, when Angela finds out that the love letter she receives from Jordan was actually written by her neighbor Brian, who has pined after her the entire 19 episode run, and she STILL chooses Jordan. I’ve posted said letter below, as it is the final reason Jordan Catalano (or in this case, Brian Krakow) has ruined me forever. I’m still waiting for the sexy loner who plays in a garage band to write me this dramatic cheeseball letter:
Dear Angela, I know in the past I’ve caused you pain, and I’m sorry. And I’ll always be sorry until the day I die. And I hate this pen I’m holding because I should be holding you. I hate this paper in my hand because it isn’t you. I even hate this letter because it’s not the whole truth. Because the whole truth is — so much more than a letter can even say. If you want to hate me, go ahead. If you want to burn this letter, do it. You could burn whole world down. You could tell me to go to Hell, if you wanted to. And I’d do it. And I’d send you a letter from there.