Everyone loves the timeless love story between the awkward nerd and the popular kid — whether it’s a geeky boy who wins over the prettiest girl in school, or the shy, introverted girl who ends up with the captain of the football team. Why do we love these stories so much? Maybe it’s because we were all there once — stuck in high school, desperate to fit in, and desperate to be noticed. And each of us has our favorite movie or TV show from those years that brings us back to the pains (and joys) of high school. For writer and mom of two Christine Burke, that movie is Can’t Buy Me Love.
“From the time the movie hit the theaters in the late 1980s, I was obsessed with main character Cindy Mancini, played by Amanda Petersen, and the unlikely teen romance that develops between her and Ronald Miller, the geeky nerd who mows her lawn,” Burke writes in a recent post on Grown & Flown.
She goes on to share that the iconic move taught her a few things about life, including that no one ever feels like they fit in growing up, and that sometimes the geeky guy does get the girl.
Oh, and then there’s this: “Can’t Buy Me Love reminds me that good things come to those who live authentically, regardless of the mean moms at the PTA meetings,” she writes.
A few years ago, Burke confided in her husband that she has always dreamed of driving a white VW Cabriolet convertible, just like the one Cindy drove in the movie. Unbeknownst to her, Christine’s husband began looking for one to surprise his wife with, though it wasn’t easy.
With a passion for cars and love for his wife, her husband Jon made finding this car his mission.
“Cars are his love language,” Burke explains in her post. “He may not swoon when Patrick Dempsey is on the screen but a classic car makes his heart go pitter patter.”
Well, mission accomplished.
Last year on a cold day in February, that teenage girl who is now a grown-up mom of two teens herself climbed into her very own white VW Cabriolet convertible, right there in her driveway.
Once summer came around and she could roll the top down, Burke was able to truly feel like a cool kid while running errands around town. Because although she had always wanted Cindy’s car, the character Burke really identified with from Can’t Buy Me Love was Ronald, the nerdy boy who mowed Cindy’s lawn. When driving that car, she says she feels young again — and nothing like the awkward teen girl she once was, who was so desperately trying to fit in.
And honestly, it feels pretty damn good.
Burke tells Babble that the best part of driving her dream car is when she sees other moms who were CBML fans, too.
“They often want to look inside or even take a picture,” she shares. “It’s fun to reminisce with other people who love the movie like I do.”
We all remember how hard adolescence was, and wish we could go back and tell our younger selves that they’ll be okay; that high school is just a tiny blip on the radar of life; and that the geeks usually grow up to be pretty cool (just ask Patrick Dempsey himself).
Burke tells Babble that if she could go back and talk to that high school girl she once was, she’d have this to say: “Eventually, that cheerleader in the popular high school crowd becomes a mom just like you, and you will commiserate over stretch marks on Facebook 20 years later.” And, just as importantly, she adds, “I would also tell her that hair care products for curly hair get drastically better, so just hang on.”
Christine may have missed out on being the coolest kid in high school, but 25 years later, she’s got the coolest mom car around, complete with a “BuyMeLv” license plate. BOOM.