I have to give credit to an ex-boyfriend for introducing me to "Twin Peaks." One day he sat me in front of a computer screen in our Birmingham apartment and told me I had to watch this YouTube video, because it was “the creepiest thing” he’d ever heard or seen. It was a video of the little red man from Twin Peaks, talking backward and reversed. But I didn’t think it was creepy or weird. I was intrigued.
I’ve been in love with "Twin Peaks" for nearly four years. It’s the longest relationship I’ve had thus far in my late (late) twenties. I have a "Twin Peaks" tattoo. I would never get a boyfriend’s name tattooed on my body. But the Log Lady’s White Lodge scar shaped like mountains, permanently etched on my thigh? Done!
I’ve been to a "Twin Peaks" prom. I’ve been to North Bend, WA (the real Twin Peaks) and seen the “Great Northern” poised so elegantly above Snoqualmie Falls. And I’ve seen Ronnette’s bridge, which wasn’t easy to find, trust me. "Twin Peaks" and I have had a lot of adventures together. I might delete pictures of ex-boyfriends, but I will never delete my pictures of Twede’s (the “RR”) diner, or the pie that I ate there.
It’s a beautiful, there-for-you-after-a-hard-workday relationship. I can kick my feet up on the sofa at 6 p.m. wearing nothing but underwear, sip on a whiskey on the rocks, and settle down with an episode or two.
And like all the relationships I’ve had, I’ve learned a few lessons. Life lessons. Things that I never learned growing up in the Deep South, under the rule of my proper Southern Baptist mom touting fire-and-brimstone, burning my record collection and my Anne Rice novels. Fast forward about 15 years, and I’m picking up cues from David Lynch. Particularly, the beautiful and graceful women he cast as the ladies of "Twin Peaks."
It’s strange, but true. The women of "Twin Peaks" are mysterious and striking. They are fierce, intelligent, and they are (sometimes stupidly) loyal. Special Agent Dale Cooper might be the heartthrob, but the ladies of "Twin Peaks" are running the show. Here are a few things they’ve taught me about life:
1. It’s OK to randomly stand up and dance to a jazzy song, even if it’s only in your head and you’re in an elevator full of strangers. Especially if you’re in an elevator full of strangers.
I used to work in a public library, and I’d spend a large portion of my day riding up and down the elevator with carts of books to shelve. Once I realized that I wasn’t accomplishing anything in those 10 seconds between floors, I figured I might as well dance like Audrey Horne. Not only is it fun, it can be exhilarating and sexy!
2. If you feel like carrying around an inanimate object as though it were a baby or a small pet -- girl, go for it.
I mean, for most of my teenage years I carried around metal lunch boxes as though they were purses, who am I to judge? I used to tape pictures of cute guitar players on the insides, because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Is that so different than the log lady and her log? I think not. And she was never ashamed of it, so neither am I.
3. Never marry a guy that just wants a maid he doesn’t have to pay.
You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but I’ve been surprised before, and am sad to say I’ve almost made this mistake myself. If I learned anything from Shelley’s abusive and bizarrely codependent marriage to Leo Johnson, it’s that bad (and lazy!) boys aren’t worth their weight in spoiled milk. Move along.
4. Baggy sweaters over high-waist skirts might never go out of style.
It’s not something I would’ve ever tried before. Add to this mix a pair of boots and red fingernail polish, and I feel both comfortable and unstoppable. Also, I learned from Audrey Horne that I will never tire of knee-high socks paired with white oxfords. Never. My mom would’ve never let me get away with either of these looks, claiming a “hussy factor,” but I think both can be elegant if executed with poise.
5. If a job seems too good to be true, it probably is.
I mean, a job at a perfume counter in a "Twin Peaks" department store seems harmless, right? Who knew it could be a siphon into the world of prostitution and drug abuse? I once took a job in a used record store that made most of their money from “used” sales. It didn’t lead to a job in prostitution, but I did discover after working there for about a month that the manager made “title requests” to our “regulars,” who would sell us brand new DVDs and CDs that they had stolen from big box stores. Corruption!
I also acquired a couple of stalkers working this job. But working in a record store just seemed so cool.
6. If you suddenly find yourself waking from a coma feeling like an 18-year-old again, go with it.
Nadine woke from her post-suicide-attempt coma not only with superhuman strength, but also the belief that she was 18 again and headed to cheerleader tryouts. And boy, did she have a good time with the star football player after that!
Sometimes I, too, wake up feeling like a teenager. I take a cue from Nadine once and a while and run around the house, cheering and singing in my socks. Or I go to a diner, order pie, and spin around in the seat like I don’t even care.
7. Being in love with two guys is always a bad call.
Lucy spent the better part of season 2 torn between two guys, Dick and Andy. She dated both of them and was pregnant. They both fought for her attention, but she was regularly stumped as to which one to choose to be the “real dad.”
Now, this one is hard for me. I was never pregnant, but there was a time in my life where I loved two guys at the same time. It was years ago and I still feel bad about it, and can never be sorry enough to either of them. But Lucy made me realize something: Love is messy. It is fickle and tangible and reliant on the ooey-gooey parts of the universe that we can’t control. There is also a huge difference between lust and love, which was both my and Lucy’s problem. But what I learned most from this was that in the end, sometimes it’s better to just walk away with nothing than to have two halves of a whole. Lucy made the right decision in the end, and I forever salute her for that.
There you have it. My strange and peculiar obsession with "Twin Peaks" has taught me about fashion, relationships, and the essence of being a little weird sometimes. It excites me that every time I watch it, I notice something new. And there are cues that I think we can all take away from the charming women of "Twin Peaks." Except the ones that kill -- actually, those characters have their strong points, too.