When Johnny Was Undeniable
Musicals aren’t really my thing. But every now and then, one strikes me. Hairspray. Wow, you had to be on board with Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad. She was such a confident, sexy force. I so wanted to be her. Especially after she ironed her hair. She was everything. Two years after Hairspray, Ms. Lake did a little movie called Cry Baby and OMFG. It was utterly ridiculous, which is exactly what made it super fun to watch. I didn’t know what to call it at the time, but apparently I was very attracted to John Waters films. He was a master of building a slightly extreme version of our world that still felt real. And there was always, ALWAYS some sort of subtle and/or overt message about the beauty of being yourself, of inclusion and diversity. That you don’t have to be “A Thing” to be accepted or good or ideal or loved. You just had to be you.
If there was a Cry Baby character I wanted to be the most, forget that square Allison Vernon-Williams, it was Wanda Woodward (Tracy Lords), the pouty drape with waves of blonde curls billowing down her back. She had the best fuck off attitude. And she was a pin-up goddess with a chest that could hold its own in a fist fight. Her hair, her makeup, the way she dressed.
She was everything I wanted to be.
Aaaaaaaaalllll of that being said… I wanted to kiss Johnny Depp. :|
Like rrruuuuurrll bad. You have to remember, I was just the tender age of 12. Johnny stirred something inside of me as Wade “Cry Baby” Walker. He was a deviant with a heart of gold who only had eyes for his girl. And there was leather and boots and pompadours and motorcycles. These things don’t impress me much (except for the hair… how do you do that?) but when I was 12, I totally bought into the fantasy. The idea that a guy like that could see a girl (like meeeee??) from across the quad and become so enamored that all he can do is look at her. And then find her later and sing to her from his car. And they would fall in love and obsess over each other until the end of their days. Ahhh, true love.
It was a silly fantasy. But still, I appreciated the opportunity to sink into that fantasy with my coke bottle glasses and frizzy hair every time I watched Cry Baby. It made me think there was a place for me somewhere. That I could find it eventually. I just had to keep looking. You know, it’s not much. It’s just a movie. But when I was 12, for those 92 minutes, just a little ray of light shined on an idea that I could transcend whatever box people had put me in.
This is a really long way of saying here I am, channeling my inner drape!