For many millennial women, there are some rituals with which we are painfully familiar: Over-plucking the hell out of our eyebrows, kissing our Tiger Beat teen heartthrob posters goodnight, making up dance routines to Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be,” and—as beautifully illustrated by Mel Magazine—obsessively pausing our worn-out VHS copies of Now And Then in a futile attempt to see Devon Sawa’s wiener. In the hearts of millennial women, the 1995 coming-of-age film is a bona fide classic thanks in large part to its achingly empathetic depiction of tween girl life: Christina Ricci taping down her boobs, Thora Birch fashioning fake boobs out of pudding-filled balloons, (extreme Stefon voice) ghosts. Actually, come to think of it, Now And Then has more in common with Casper than any of us probably realized at the time.
But ask any female Now And Then fan what she remembers most about the film, and her answer will inevitably refer to the moment when the Wormer brothers—led by mega teen heartthrob Devon Sawa—go for a swim in the lake, only to have the girls steal their clothing, resulting in a blink-and-you’ll-miss it scene in which you might be able to see Sawa’s wang. Maybe. Probably? No, sorry. As someone who watched Now And Then with a religious fervor and engaged in the pause-rewind-pause ritual in an attempt to sneak a peek at said wiener, I can sadly confirm that there is no wiener to behold. Still, for many 10-to-12-year-old girls at the time, it was such a thrill to try and catch a glimpse of that dong. And while Sawa himself confirmed there was no peen on screen, it hasn’t diminished our collective nostalgia for this very specific coming-of-age experience. Mel Magazine interviewed a handful of millennial women about their obsession with Now And Then and Devon Sawa’s contribution to their own coming-of-age, and the responses—like this one, from a woman named Emma—are pure relatable gold:
I can say with 100 percent confidence that Devon Sawa is responsible for the sexual awakening, coming of age, or ushering into puberty for any heterosexual woman or homosexual man. Dare I say everyone in their 30s regardless of sexuality. It was the combination of Casper and then Now and Then. The ol’ one-two puberty punch (gross).
The ladies go on to recount the excitement of realizing they may or may not have seen a dick, and the obsession that ensued. Says Amanda:
But THEN, they steal all of the boys clothes and Devon runs after them and bends down in front of the camera while wearing a towel and you get a little glimpse of something that might be his wiener. It is a very quick scene but I definitely remember being like, “OMG DID YOU SEE THAT?! Wait, rewind it. Pause… I think you can see his dick!!”
If you, a millennial woman who loves Now And Then, believed you were the only one who engaged in this weird horn-dog ritual with your VHS copy of the film, take comfort in knowing you are not alone.