Tuesday, April 26, 2016

RIP Prince, RIP my adolescence and more Crepe Hanging

So just to remind you, this is a blog about being over 40. So you should expect some crepe-hanging about aging.  Because despite my grandmother's admonishment : "don't get old", sometimes moments happen and you realize, wow, I'm not young anymore.

Prince's passage was a just one of those for me. Not that I was a particular fan of the "Artist" as a performer per se, but his music decorates my adolescence like ubiquitous purple wallpaper. Yes, "Let's Go Crazy" and "1999" are songs that are perennial New Year's Eve favorites, but so many of his songs color my youth. Memories that are actually framed with his songs in them. Not just the songs he sang, but also the songs he wrote.

"I guess I should of known
By the way you parked your car sideways
That it wouldn't last"
I mean I can remember sitting in Missy's Dark Green Ford El Camino, drinking wine coolers on our way back from seeing Purple Rain. I can remember the music, the vinyl seats and listening to "When Doves Cry" and knowing every word, but not really getting the lyrics.(still don't) I just remember it feeling "sexy" and wanting to make out with someone, anyone, including Missy, even though we both became really gay. (Well I did anyway, she's not as gay as me, being lesbian and all.)

His androgyny was unapologetic and he had the ability to define his manhood on his own terms. Purple cat suits, high heeled boots, and stylized hair he still gave off a sexual charisma when compared to other gender benders like Boy George and RuPaul.  They came across as asexual or as pretty eunuchs. Which gave hope to us "less than butch" types who struggled to compensate our masculinity with our gay inner selves and realize that in the end, what's sexy, is confidence.

My personal gay theme song: "Do you think I'm a nasty girl?"
And the coterie of women who translated the gift of his music, fierce, good girls gone bad, like Sheena Easton's "Sugar Walls" and Sheila E's "Glamourous Life".  He brought color into music, not just purple, but a parade of Lesbians, Latinas and African American artists who exuded his confidence, pride and sexiness without apology.

Finally, he gave a soundtrack to my first heartbreak.. Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U " written by Prince. Every line punctuated my 20 year old heart. The song actually made me want to wallow even more because it was just too good of a breakup song.  Listening to it again makes me realize, nothing compares to Prince.