By Alexa Day
Celebrating Isabelle Drake’s new release, a young adult novel called Best Friends Never, has put me in mind of high school. High school is now in my distant past, and I’m surprised by how little of it I remember. For one thing, I think my mind is trying to protect me from it. High school wasn’t all that gentle with me.
I have only shadowy recollections of prom season, football games, and the inimitable pain-pleasure of wanting the cutest boy in school to talk to me mixed with the horrifying certainty that I would say or do something ridiculous if this encounter actually took place. Good times, good times, right?
But two special friends made high school in the 80s easier to survive. Their names? Tiger Beat and Bop.
Let’s be honest. Tiger Beat and Bop were basically a version of Playboy, marketed toward the teenage girl. Sure, there was some incredibly hard-hitting journalism buried in their interior pages. If you wanted to know how if John Stamos was going to choose his family over you or what really happened with Scott Baio’s breakup or if George Michael was just going to walk away from Wham!, Tiger Beat had you covered.
I wasn’t reading Tiger Beat and Bop for the interviews. I’m not sure I remember reading it at all. I was more about the pin-ups. Thanks to them, I always had someone super cute waiting in my locker between classes. Today, I’m learning to appreciate staying power at least as much as good looks, and my vacation down Memory Lane into the 1980s showed me that quite a few of my favorite pin-up boys have become fine pin-up men.
Check out these timeless beauties.
Robert Downey, Jr. See that guy on the cover of Sassy? Hard to imagine that he’d eventually become the mighty RDJ we know and love today. First, of course, we must consider the obvious — he’s aging splendidly. Robert Downey, Jr. Is every lick as hot as he was almost 30 years ago, if not hotter. But what makes the man so very tempting is the knowledge that he has been through Some Shit and emerged a better, wiser, stronger man. That smooth, unlined face is a thing of the past, but in his place, we’ve got someone with perspective, wisdom, and a brilliant sense of humor. And did I mention that he’s still hot? Even hotter than before? I said that, right?
Johnny Depp. The big difference between RDJ and Johnny Depp? I’m not so sure Johnny is aging. Even as Captain Jack Sparrow, he looks like he’s been around, but he doesn’t really look any older than he did in the 80s. Put that pinup next to something a little more recent, like this shot from Sleepy Hollow. Does it look like time is passing for Johnny at all? The best thing about Johnny is that he’s unpredictable. There’s something weighty and serious behind those dark eyes, and I sometimes wonder if he even knows what he’ll do next. But one thing’s for certain: almost 30 years after 21 Jump Street, he can still put a smile on a teenage girl’s face. (He’ll make a grown woman cry, too, if you’re not careful. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
Kiefer Sutherland. I’m going to cheat a little here, since I can’t put my hand on an actual pin up of Kiefer. I know I had one, though. Of all the super cute hotties of high school, he stayed in my locker the
longest. What can I say? Gentlemen aren’t the only ones who prefer blonds. I supplied a little something from Young Guns, which I’m ashamed to say I have never seen in its entirety. I was more about The Lost Boys, where Kiefer was at his angular, platinum blond best. Hey, if blonds are good, blond bad boys are better. And then, just to hit the hot trifecta, can we talk about that voice? This was a while after the pin-up era, but listening to Kiefer’s super sexy voice giving orders to poor Colin Farrell in Phone Booth — just the thought of that is making me fluttery. Still smoking hot in the present day, Kiefer is right now involved in HeForShe, a gender equality initiative for men and boys standing up for the rights of women and girls. Hot blond bad boy with a sexy voice becomes a hot blond feminist with a sexy voice. I will not be heard to say no to that.
So who kept your locker nice and warm back in the day? Rob Lowe? The estimable Marky Mark? Did you get caught up in the Second Coming of the Monkees, like I did? Tell all in the comments.
Be sure to get yourself a copy of Isabelle Drake’s Best Friends Never, for all that delightful teenage drama.
And make sure you’re following Lady Smut.