Diane, 48, Santa Monica, CA
(“Jack & Diane,” 1982)
Jack? From Bloomington? Five seven, buck-forty-five soaking wet, always yammering about how he’s gonna be a football star? Yeah. I don’t think he even played in one game. Mostly he just hung around the locker room doing this squinty James Dean pose and smoking Virginia Slims. True, I spent most of junior year in the backseat of Jackie’s car letting him do whatever he pleased. Sometimes that meant practicing his Pippen lines and sometimes it meant braiding my hair while I studied for AP biology. The latter paid off; I got a full ride to IU, got a B.S. in nutrition, and now I operate a fleet of vegan food trucks in Santa Monica. Jack actually Facebook messaged me last year, it was so random. He was running an avant-garde theatre in the Bible Belt, doing a one-man-show called “Hold onto Sixteen” which was like, some post-modern-type deconstruction of 1980s Midwestern youth. Anyhow, he wanted to know if I still had this one pair of jeans from high school. So I poked around my closet and dug up my old Bobbie Brooks (Tastee Freez receipt in the pocket!) and FedExed them to Jack. Two weeks later he sends me a YouTube from opening night and wouldn’t you know it, they fit him like a glove. Size 26! The play? Okay, please don’t say anything, but I only watched like five minutes. It was a bit self-aware for my taste.
Gina, 46, Fort Lee, NJ
(“Livin’ on a Prayer,” 1986)
The answer is no. Tommy and I did not make it. Not even close. I know, I know. EVERYONE was pulling for us. Everyone believed in us. But guess what? Everyone wasn’t working two shifts seven-days-a-week, for a rapey manager down at the Sayreville IHOP to support their boyfriend’s Miller High Life habit. People always ask if the union strike really made Tommy hock his six-string—please. Try THE CHAMPAGNE OF BEERS. If I could go back in time I’d straight-up bitchslap myself for saying no to Carl Pizzolotti when he asked me to senior prom. Instead I said yes to Tommy and we didn’t even go to the dance. We just drove around all night listening to Creedence and drinking stolen Zima. I definitely should have said no when Tommy asked to crash on my couch for “a few weeks” while he “figured stuff out.” Little did I know that “figuring stuff out” was code for getting blotto by noon and punching my Super in the throat. But then again, Tommy was gorgeous. And—hot mess that he was—Tommy had faith. He honestly believed we’d end up happily ever after, like in Teen Wolf. And his whole scrappy, live-for-the-fight attitude was kinda contagious. In fact, when the previously-mentioned handsy manager got extra-aggro one night by the dumpster, I tore a page outta Tommy’s book and kicked that creep in the nads, Chun-Li-style. Word got out, and I was able to parlay the incident into my own little side-biz selling self-defense VHS tapes by mail. You know, one time when Tommy was in rehab over in Paramus, I actually got in the car to go see him. I drove halfway there—but they were repaving the parkway and traffic was crazy, so I had to turn around.
Bobby Sue, 56, Austin, TX
(“Take the Money and Run,” 1976)
You wanna know how we did it? How we got away? Basically, we headed down south. That’s about it. Remember, this is 1976. No GPS, no FastPass, no Patriot Act. The FBI wasn’t even involved. Just this one dude Billy Mack trailing us around Texas in a Pontiac Firebird. Once we crossed the border, Private B.M. just farted back home to his wife or his mom or whatever, ate some soup, and snuggled up in his cotton-poly blend sheets from Sears. NOT US. We were huddled in the back of my mom’s stolen minivan in the middle of Chihuahua, scared shitless. Neither of us had ever been camping. I mean, I’d been to Jewish sleep-away camp, but that doesn’t exactly prepare you for life on the lam. Sure, we had fifteen G’s in a Happy Meal box, but Billy had just SHOT A MAN. WHILE ROBBING HIM. It’s not like we could go home, buy a yacht and invite all our friends. We didn’t have a home or friends anymore. What we (see: not me) did have was a severe bee allergy. And wouldn’t you know it, Johnny Dillinger forgot to stash his EpiPen in the glove compartment. Legally, I can’t disclose the specifics of the deal that the-only-English-speaking-extradition-lawyer-in-Juarez ultimately brokered with Uncle Sam, but I can assure you that no part of it involved getting away. In fact, the only positive that came out of this whole hassle was that I wrote a book about it that got turned into a hit TV show about lesbians in prison. Billy (Joe, not Mack) and I haven’t spoken in ages. Last I heard, he was a commodities trader up in Chicago. Sounds pretty square, but as long as he takes the money and stays put, he’s got my blessing.