If visiting Key Largo is on your bucket list, go fetch that Sharpie pen and cross it off, because watching this video is just. Like. Being. There. You will have no need of travel; this video will transport you, not only with Bertie Higgins’ smooth soft rock stylings, but with its scrumtrulescent fashion choices (a white blazer a solid TWO YEARS before Don Johnson would affect the style on Miami Vice), rich, dark locks like a swarthier Kenny Rogers (with a dash of Grizzly Adams), and a gold necklace that so intrigues me.
It takes a certain kind of man to wear a gold parrot necklace, and Bertie is that man.
Look at him, propped against a pole, his lion’s mane blowing in the breeze, his face to the sun like he is a jungle king. He takes a drag and exhales his alpha male breath while his lapel laps against his
sun-damaged brown skin. Suddenly, he turns and looks seductively at me. ME! (Swoon). I am weak in the knees. He is whispering to me. Is that a pineapple on his shirt? The way he says “watching” blows my mind. It’s like the lyrics are the breeze, soft and sultry upon my grateful ears. How can that lamp pole against which he is leaning possibly support all that rugged manliness? It must be made of steel.
Just prior to the the minute mark, we witness Higgins in profile, as the sun dances on the rippling sea. Glistening. Then he reaches out to his daughter, a cardigan casually draped about her shoulders like she stepped right out of The Official Preppy Handbook, and she flashes her Aquafresh smile.
What the freak? Suddenly I realize this is not his daughter. This is not my beautiful house! This is his love interest. This big-banged thing, barely past adolescence? She’s the Bacall to his Bogie? Are you kidding me? And then it hits me.
Lauren Bacall was only 19 when she met Humphrey Bogart, 25 disgusting years her senior. Now it all makes sense. They are just like Bogie and Bacall. The truthiness of the song overwhelms me.
Bertie and Courtney Cox’s little sister (let’s call her Ainsley) jaunt up a hill, as he holds steadfastly to his jacket at his shoulder like a mack daddy. Uh-oh. Slow down. There is no chemistry here. How awkwardly they embrace. Like he’s her uncle. And then I see–it wasn’t pineapples on his blouse. It was never pineapples. It’s starfish or poinsettias or some Hawaiian flower that’s not indigenous to my native land, but whatever–I feel deceived. Manipulated. Betrayed.
Soon, they are on a boat together, gazing into each other’s eyes, assessing each other’s caterpillar Brooke Shields’ eyebrows, and giggling. He’s not so bad after all, she thinks. He has a boat. Preppies love boats. He’s wearing another non-pineapple Hawaiian shirt, this time in navy. First it was the innocence of white, but now it’s navy, a harbinger of the thunderstorm brewing not so far away. Can this love last?
At 1:49, suddenly they are traveling down a palm tree-lined boulevard, presumably in a convertible. But where is the driver? Are they on a float in a parade? Are they in Key Largo or Santa Monica? Bertie does his “shrug and cock the head to the side” move to emote his romantical feelings, and she looks away like she doesn’t exactly understand English, like an Italian exchange student, silently cursing herself for not buying Rosetta Stone, or like she just saw an ugly dress in the window of Macy’s and has to turn away before she vomits.
But Bertie soldiers on. He makes more Bogart classic movie references: “Please say you will play it again” (Play it again, Sam), which is lost on her, as she is just out of her Saturday morning cartoon phase. And yet, something attracts her.
At the 2:27 mark, Ainsley moves her teeth to her bottom lip to make the “F” sound. She’s considering forsaking all the feathered-hair frat boys at college and actually getting it on with this dude who is like totally her dad’s age. Gag me. And yet…that gold necklace…is so…reflective of light. And I can nearly smell the Sex Panther wafting off his virile body.
As the song nears the end, he croons, “Here’s lookin’ at you, Kid,” which makes sense because it was only a year ago that she was a kid. But wait. Bogie didn’t even say that line to Bacall in the movie, Key Largo. He said it to Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca. Is he cheating on her? Is this his subtle hint?
The video ends with the couple walking along the shoreline at dusk. I sense the sun has also set on their relationship. As much as she likes his boat, she’s begun to spy little grey hairs in his beard, and he’s been complaining of arthritis in his knuckles. After all, he was born in the middle of WWII. She cannot fathom a life of administering Geritol each morning and separating his white blazers from his colors in the laundry.
But the best evidence are the lyrics themselves. “We had it all.” Had. Past tense. And like Bacall, she will move on to other men and star in a new “late late show.” Yes, it’s bittersweet. But was she really enough woman for all that man? I think not.