Guy culture operates on a variety of rules and regulations, much like a bureaucracy but with more wedgies. I could say this is for some elaborate reason like guys are really just dogs who wear pants, or that guys are all secret Nazis like Indiana Jones’s girlfriend in the third movie, but it’s really just that we have a lot of free time when we aren’t being actively distracted by boobs to worry about dumb shit. I have made one contribution to the guy culture in my local group, and it’s high time I shared it with the world: The J-Conn Rule.
When I first advanced it, I had bundled it into the farther-reaching Grandfather Clause, which might just be the greatest thing ever invented. Essentially, this clause allows someone to keep doing whatever insane thing he has been doing simply because he has always been doing it. When the NHL mandated that all players wear face masks, players who came up without them were allowed to keep playing without as they always had. Who cares if they ate a hundred MPH slap shot? They had always played with the danger of having a chunk of frozen rubber obliterating the bridge of their nose, and goddamn it, they couldn’t play hockey without that fear. However, calling it the Grandfather Clause was misleading, and Erik eventually mandated that I change it to reflect the true purpose, which was sixteen-year-old Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth.
Nathan Rabin once described twenty-year-old Jennifer Connelly as, “perhaps the most divine creature in the history of film.” While the most divine creature in the history of film is actually twenty-four-year old Audrey Hepburn (this is not up for debate), his use of “perhaps” does make him technically correct. Before wasting away into a hollow-eyed revenant suffering for all of our sins, Jennifer Connelly was without question one of the most beautiful women in history. I still find her heartbreakingly lovely in Labyrinth, and on the face of it, this is not okay, since I am now twenty years older than she was during the making of the film, and she is definitely not legal. And since I am not a vampire celebrating his centennial by breaking into her bedroom, I can’t even get the okay from the Twi-moms.
I was nine when Labyrinth came out in 1986. It’s impossible to truly explain what it was like seeing Jennifer Connelly onscreen back in the mid-‘80s. The standard of beauty back then was a little… off. Ellen Barkin, Kelly McGillis, and Brigitte Nielsen were sex symbols. Try to comprehend a world where that statement isn’t grounds for immediate incarceration in a mental hospital. It was almost as though beauty hadn’t been invented yet, but that’s not true. There was cocaine literally everywhere, so you’ll have to forgive us if we were too busy having pastel shootouts. Even Michelle Pfeiffer who really was gorgeous, was gorgeous in a funny way. Then, bam. Jennifer Connelly, a woman whose perfection transcends petty notions like “time,” “style,” and “eyebrow management.” I was smitten. I was also nine, so a big part of the attraction was hoping she might consent to babysit me.
Here’s where things start getting a little weird. When I watch Labyrinth now, I’m transported right back to when I was nine. The attraction returns as well. I can forget the emaciated J-Conn of today pining for a good man and probably a pizza, and go back to the fresh-faced goddess of the late-‘80s. My desperate attempt to justify this is the crux of the J-Conn Rule, which states that as long as the attraction was formed at an age-appropriate time, it is allowed to linger beyond that point. I mean, it’s not like I can go back in time and stalk teenaged J-Conn.
The converse of the J-Conn Rule is this: If you didn’t see Labyrinth when you were under eighteen and you like J-Conn in that movie, you’re a creep. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules. Actually, wait, I totally made this one. But it’s part of my local guy culture and it’s high time it reached a few more people.