“My first love”

For a few weeks now, songs from one of my favorite childhood movies have been running through my head. I couldn’t find my copy of it until Sunday. So I sat and watched it, but this time I watched it with the mind of a romance writer.

“The Pirate Movie”. A perfect example of 80’s cheese and sexual innuendo. Yeah, my parents worked and I probably watched more HBO than I should have. This was a favorite. It was a favorite of my mother also. We would watch it together as I memorized the songs and I’m sure I laughed at the double entendres simply because she did. I certainly didn’t understand them back then.

Underneath all the irreverent humor and general mayhem is a sweet love story between Mabel and Frederic “without a K”.

They meet and instantly fall in love. Mabel is the youngest of 13 and cannot get married until all of her older sisters have wed. Frederic has been at sea for 20 years. The pirates killed his family, but his mother thrust her infant son into the arms of the Pirate King before dying.

Mabel and Frederic meet after Frederic decides to leave behind the life of piracy on his 21st birthday. His second family doesn’t take the news very well and after they give him a fitting send off, they look for their chance to get him back.

This is their first meeting after Frederic comes ashore.

It is typical eighties, but the depth of feeling the two get with this song amazed me. That strong first attachment. Feeling that strong pull of love at first sight, not quite understanding how it happened or why it’s making such an impact. Sometimes it happens with strangers, sometimes when reacquainting with a figure from the past. It’s that instinctual pull toward our soul mate.

Frederic has survived his encounter with the Pirate King and now must make the decision to either follow his heart or fulfill his duty to the pirates who raised him. His anguish is palpable. He’s found his one true love and now must leave her.

Frederic has informed Mabel that his duty to his Pirate brethren must come before love. He made the promise long before he met he and he is duty-bound to fulfill that obligation no matter what it costs him.

Truthfully, the fact that Frederic chooses to fulfill his duty makes him more endearing. Duty and responsibility are becoming the things of romance novels. Would I want to be Mabel? Not when Frederic decides to leave, but Frederic’s leaving forces Mabel to be strong and stand up for herself and her family in the threat of a pirate attack.

It’s the story I look for. I read something similar today. The man almost loses the love of his life because he is fulfilling his promise to his dying father. In order to do so, he must ignore the love growing between them to keep her safe. In the process, he hides his feelings from her and she believes he doesn’t care for her. Mabel thinks Frederic doesn’t love her because he’s choosing duty over love. The two can work together, if you find the balance. And if it is meant to be, a balance will be found. You may even discover a partner for all of life’s difficulties.

So not only do I love this movie for the memories it evokes, but also for the love story within. This was probably the first movie I remember being drawn in by the love story. If you love cheesy, irreverent comedies with a little love and some singing thrown in, this might be your movie. I’ll watch as long as I can. Even if I lose my eyesight, just hearing it will be enough. I could easily picture it in my head.


Thanks to an enterprising viewer, here’s the entire movie if you’re so inclined.


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