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Category Archives: 80s

Sometimes, I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.

They keep sending me friend requests on Facebook. I got another one last night.

Every time they do, my stomach tightens. I have trouble breathing. My heart speeds up. I start to shake.

Block friend request. Block friend request. Block friend request.

Why the hell would I accept a friend request from them now? When twenty years ago, they blocked each and every attempt I made?

This post has been a long time coming. I knew it had to be written. But it’s a lot easier to be a clown than it it to be serious. It’s a lot easier to leave the mask on than it is to drop it and show what’s behind it. I was raised to not show your weakness; to hide your pain. This is like standing naked on a streetcorner for me.

I don’t even know how to begin. Or to end. Or, hell, what to put in the middle. I’m a wreck just thinking about it, to be honest. But I thought, if even one person who’s going through what I went through reads it, it’ll be worth it, right? If even one person reads it and can relate, or reads it and sees someone else struggling with it, and can help them, then it’s good that you relived it, for one night. It’s good that you dwelt back there, back where things were so dark. And I promised someone I’d write this, to explain myself. I like to keep my promises, when I can.

I told someone on Twitter recently that the people that are the funniest often have a really dark backstory, and they’ve learned humor as a coping mechanism. I think that’s true, for the most part. Are there people who are just funny, without having that well of private pain to mine from? Sure. I’m sure there are. But the ones that make me laugh the hardest seem to be the ones who understand that laughing keeps the demons at bay for a little while.

I’ve mentioned this before, here and there. But not in detail. Because it’s painful, and I try not to think about it. My parents are all for forgiving and forgetting. “Move on!” they encourage me. “They all have!”

Can’t. Not who I am. Would love to. Not capable.

I went to a very small school. Sixty people in my graduating class. We knew each other from kindergarten to senior year, with only a few new kids coming and going here and there. What got stuck to you stayed with you. Nothing disappeared. Everyone still picked on the girl who threw up in her desk in fourth grade. Everyone knew the teacher whose wife killed him when she found out he was a pedophile. Everyone talked. Everyone knew everything.

I was bullied, to the point of almost taking my own life twice, from third grade to senior year. That’s nine years, in case anyone’s counting. Nine years doesn’t seem like that long, now. I’ve lived here for nine years, and it’s flown by, for example.

But when every single day of attending school is complete and utter torture, nine years can seem like an eternity. I know this, because I lived it.

I’m not even sure, looking back, what my most heinous offense was. Being intelligent? Not having stellar social skills? Not being as attractive as the popular kids? There were other kids who fit all of these roles, but they weren’t singled out. Like I said, it’s a small school. Once the kids start, they don’t stop. They were sharks and there was blood in the water. You don’t ever have to tell me that children can be cruel. I know they can. I’ve seen it. I was there.

I was shoved into lockers on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. My books were knocked onto the floor if I dared carry them in my arms; I had to wear a backpack everywhere I went. My locker was blocked by sneering classmates if I attempted to go to it before school, between classes, or after school, so I had to either carry a full day’s books with me at all times, or get a hall pass to go to it during classes. I got gum smashed into my hair. I was invited to parties to be the brunt of elaborate pranks. I was called up at home for the same reason. I was tricked into answering questions like “who do you have a crush on?” and then the answer would be spread around the school and the boy would come up to me and laugh in my face. I was shoved down so many times that my glasses got broken and I sprained ankles and wrists from falling down stairs. I was attacked in gym class by whatever sports equipment we were using that day. I was shoved down and stood on in the aisle on the bus. There’s more. Do you need more? Because I have more.

And, wherever I went, no matter what time of day, no matter where I was going, they’d constantly catcall. “GEEEEEEEEK.”

Which is ironic, as it’s one of the things in my life I’m most proud of now.

Now, you’re wondering, why wasn’t anything done about this? How did this happen for nine years without anything being done?

It was a small town. Everyone knew everyone. The kids in charge of the harrassment? Their moms worked at the school. Their dads taught there. Their parents were well-known.

Plus – I never said a word.

My parents told me to turn the other cheek, at first. But then they got tired of me complaining about it, so they told me to be friendlier. That it was my fault; that, if I had a better attitude, it would stop, and the other kids would all want to be my friend. Because of this, I didn’t think it was ok to speak up. I thought it was shameful. I thought I was an embarrassment to them.

Years later, my father asked me why I didn’t fight back. I could only look at him in shock. I wanted to scream, “YOU NEVER GAVE ME PERMISSION!”

I love them. They were doing their best. I’ve forgiven them. They had no idea what this was doing to me, or even the extent of it all. It must be a very hard thing, to be a parent. You must often feel very helpless.

I did fight back, once. Not on purpose. I kind of lost my mind, is what happened. One of the worst kids – the one that, if I think back, I’d like to go back in time and murder, cheerfully, with my bare hands, while little Amy looks on and laughs – called my name in gym class. I reflexively looked up, and he was about three steps away from me. He threw a basketball square into my face. This smashed my glasses into my face, making them fly off onto the floor and shattering them, and also causing major cuts and bruising (because listen, glasses used to be made of GLASS.)

They were new glasses. They were, for the time period, somewhat cool. I was FURIOUS. He walked away, high-fiving his friends. I LAUNCHED myself at him, screaming. I was the kid from A Christmas Story. Nothing I said made any sense. It was just a stream of profanity laced with hysterical crying. I clawed at his face. He just stood there, half in shock, half laughing.

I ended up getting transferred out of gym class not long after that, to another gym class for the rest of high school. As far as I know, nothing happened to him. He just said it was an accident. His mom worked at the school, and he was very good at acting innocent. He’d had years of practice at that point.

Did I have friends? Yes, a couple. One of them is actually still a good friend now. Did they know it was going on? Yes. But they didn’t dare do anything about it. Because if they did, the collective eye of the popular group would turn on them, and they’d be in the crosshairs. It wasn’t worth it. I didn’t blame them then. I try not to now, either. I know how hard it was, going through what I was going through. How could I ask another person to potentially bear that cross for me? How could I ask the boy I was in love with all through high school to risk dating me, knowing he was courting social suicide? I couldn’t. We were children. We were just children, and our reputations were very important to us.

Did I function? Yes. I did. I was in clubs, I acted in shows, I went on dates, I went to church. I lived my life. I just knew, the whole time, that someone could be waiting around the corner for me, so I was very, very cautious where I stepped. I jumped at my own shadow. I was walking around shell-shocked before I even knew what the term meant.

I spiraled into a depression so deep I couldn’t see my way out of it. I don’t see how anyone couldn’t, going into a war zone, day after day after day. I had a plan to kill myself early on in high school; I chickened out at the last minute. I had a more well-thought-out plan at the beginning of senior year, and, were it not for an occurrence that I still can’t explain, one that smacks of some sort of – divine intervention? cosmic coincidence? grand plan? – I would not be here writing this today. It was minutes away. I can’t talk about that. Sorry. That one’s mine.

A way out might have been to downplay my intelligence. That seemed to be what offended them most. However, strangely enough, that never crossed my mind. Everything else under the sun did – getting a boyfriend, changing the way I looked, talked, dressed, acted, everything – but suddenly acting less intelligent never even popped up on my radar. Thankfully. Because I probably would have done it, in order to make it all stop. In order to conform. And then I wouldn’t have had my escape hatch.

College was the light at the end of the tunnel. A big college. Where I could reinvent myself. Where I could escape everyone who’d ever known me, and where no one would know me as “Geek.” Where I could be whoever I wanted, because I was starting fresh.

No one told me that even when you start fresh, your demons come with you. I was a child, still. I didn’t know.

I graduated valedictorian. And in my speech, I actually addressed them, as far as I was able, by telling them their glory days were behind them and it was all downhill from there, for the majority of them. They laughed at me. As they’d been doing for most of my life.

So I squished that lonely, lost, afraid girl down as far as she’d go and I went far, far away. I didn’t talk about high school. I was a new person.

And, much to my surprise? I made friends. ACTUAL friends. Who wanted to spend time with me. Who did kind things for me without expecting anything in return. I didn’t know what to make of this. I wasn’t mentally capable of wrapping my mind around anything like this. I stopped going to classes because my lessons were in making friends. The lessons everyone else learned in elementary and junior high and high school? I had to learn them in college. I was playing catch up. I almost flunked out because I wasn’t doing what I was there to do. But this seemed important, too. This seemed like an important job, one that I was behind on.

It took me a while to realize that most of the time, when people laugh, they are laughing WITH you, not AT you. I started craving that like an addict. I honed humor like a knife. I wielded it like the same. It became my thing. I was the funny one. I liked that; it gave me a purpose, it gave me an identity. I didn’t realize until years later I was funny because it was helping me deal with the fact that there was still a very injured little girl inside of me and I’d never dealt with her. I’d just hidden her away, like a dirty secret. I didn’t tell anyone about her. I closed her in a very dark room and told her to be very quiet, in case anyone were to notice her.

I also thought I made these new friends because I was someone else. Because that girl wasn’t good enough. Because I was very young, and because I didn’t know better, and because I didn’t hear her screaming, even though I told her to be still.

It took almost twenty years for me to look in the mirror and not number the flaws and hate what I saw there; almost twenty years for me to look in a mirror and not see myself through the children’s eyes who tormented me. I can finally see myself through my own eyes, and while I don’t always like what I see, at least I see it clearly.

I’ve not forgiven them for what they did to me. Will I? I don’t know. I find it ironic they keep sending me friend requests on Facebook. Maybe they’re sending them ironically and want to see what I’m up to so they can gossip. Maybe they’re honestly wanting to be friends. Maybe – and, somehow, this is the most painful option of all? – maybe they’ve forgotten what they did altogether. Maybe those nine years of torture to me were nothing to them. Maybe they meant nothing. Maybe I meant nothing. Maybe they saw it as childish pranksterism, nothing more than a good laugh.

I don’t go to class reunions. When I go home to visit, I don’t like to leave the house, since most of them still live in town and I don’t want to risk running into them. I keep in touch with a handful of people from my graduating class, a very select few who have grown into adults that I want in my life. I try to remember that the children that tormented that sad, lonely little girl then are adults now; that they’ve lived a long lifetime, and they’ve probably changed. I try to tell myself I could benefit from forgiving. That this would be a burden best left at the roadside. That I’d be lighter, were I to leave it behind.

I can’t do that. I don’t know if I will ever be able to.

I identify so deeply with children who commit suicide due to bullying that I find myself weeping over the news reports. I hear about a school shooting and I immediately think, “What did the other children do to the shooter?” rather than, as a normal person might, “what was wrong with the shooter?”

What’s the solution? Well, bullying is taken much more seriously now than it was back when I was experiencing it. It’s not ignored anymore. Officials can’t afford to ignore it; school shootings and suicide rates are up and it’s also just plain bad PR. I don’t know if the programs to stop bullying are helping. They probably aren’t hurting, put it that way.

I know others out there had it as bad as I did. I know others had it worse. I know what I went through probably seems small and petty, maybe even to some of you reading this. And, that’s fine. Because the last thing I want – the absolute last thing – is your pity. That’s not why I’m writing this.

I’m writing this because it needs to be written. I’m writing this because someone I respect a great deal mentioned that I was being a bully toward someone a while ago, possibly halfway in jest, and I immediately froze up, thinking, has it come to this? Have I become those children? Have I done to someone else what they did to me? And when I reacted strongly, and he was surprised, I couldn’t imagine why he was surprised. Then I thought, oh. Because you haven’t told anyone this. Because, for all of your oversharing, this isn’t something you’ve told. Because you’re still ashamed of it. Of course he’s surprised. I promised him I’d write this, and like I said, I like to be the kind of person who keeps promises, when she can. I’m writing this to get it off my chest. I’m writing this because maybe a parent has a child who’s going through this and is at a loss as to what to do. I’m writing this because it’s my way, like Jenny in Forrest Gump, of throwing rocks at the house where my tormentors lived – futile, but a move toward healing, nonetheless. I’m writing this because, as I mentioned, maybe someone going through a similar thing will read it and recognize themselves.

If that’s the case: it does get better. I know, what a cliche, right? But it does. It doesn’t seem like it will, but it does. You can cast off who you are like an ill-fitting suit of clothes, if you like, and step into a new skin. Or, even better, you can find your people. They’re out there. They’re waiting for you to find them. You just have to get through the storm in order to do so. And the storm is bad. I’m not going to lie to you about that. But don’t end things completely. Don’t do that. Please. Whatever you do. There’s help, and there’s hope, and your people are waiting, and there’s going to be a you-sized absence, if you’re gone. One that they don’t even know about, but one that they feel. Please know that little tiny thing you see way off in the distance is the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s being held by the future-you and your people, and keep working as hard as you can, and do anything you need to, to get there.

Most of all, I’m writing this to give a voice to that little girl I had to keep locked in a dark room for so long. I let her out, finally, about a year ago. I could finally let her out. And you’ve can’t imagine anything so freeing. I’m not all the way there. I don’t know if I ever will be. I hear locker doors slam and I have a PTSD reaction. I hear people laughing when I enter a room and my first, immediate thought is that they’re laughing at me behind my back. I still suffer from depression. It’s crippling, at times. I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want to move. Yes. I’ll always be damaged.

But I’m not broken. I take pride in that. I came through the fire and I got burned and I carry the scars, but what really matters is, I came through the damn fire. And I did it all on my own. I’ve found my people along the way, but the person who made it through those flames is the person writing this.

So yes: I have poor social skills and hate large social situations where I am expected to socialize as I am always, in the back of my mind, expecting there to be another shoe to drop, the joke to be on me, no escape route. I cry easily. I wake up on a regular basis from high-school nightmares. I am sometimes so filled with misplaced anger it spills over onto those I love the most. I try to get as much joy as I can out of every single minute of my life, because I know how fleeting and ephemeral joy can be, and I have lost years of it to make up for. I am so shocked when someone wants to be friends with me that I immediately mistrust them. I hide behind a variety of masks, almost all of the time; I only really drop them when I trust you completely, and since I almost never trust anyone completely, I’m almost always wearing some sort of mask. When someone does something nice for me I’m moved beyond what’s rational because it doesn’t happen often and I don’t know how to react when it does. I have made some colossally bad judgment calls over the years, some of which have screwed me over so royally I’m still reeling from them. I’m damaged. I’m banged up and bruised up and my corners are all bent and spindled and I’m missing some pages and there are some things I just won’t talk about and there are some things I just won’t do. Yes. I’m damaged. But we all are, in our own ways, aren’t we? It’s what makes us unique. It’s what makes us.

I didn’t write this for your pity, because I don’t need it. As damaged as I am, I’m not broken.

And even if I am?

Sometimes things that have been broken come back stronger than you’ll ever imagine.

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The radio crapped all over my innocence today.

About a year ago, a retro station started in my area. And that’s nice! Because sometimes, you want to drive home to the music of your formative years. And I’d be rocking out to New Kids, or Guns n’ Roses, and I’d think, listen, ALL IS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD.

But really, you can’t go home again, you know? And you’re listening to the music of your childhood, and you’re reminiscing, like, “Hey, I remember dancing really awkwardly to this in the gym and hoping that cute boy would ask me to dance and he never did I hope he’s dead now, wait, that’s mean, just fat, fat and bald, or maybe in jail,” and then YOU LISTEN TO THE LYRICS. Because you are a grownup. And grownups listen to the lyrics. And you’re a different person now! And you’re bringing baggage – NAY!  A whole matching set of LUGGAGE to the high school dance this time around!

And you realize, holy SHIT but I was dancing to age-inappropriate songs when I was a kid.

Here. I have examples. What, you thought I was just going to drop this on you and leave? That would have been rude.

“Living on a Prayer”  – Bon Jovi
Year Released – 1986
Grade in junior high – sixth
Bases rounded: I’m really bad at sports. And metaphors. Boys are icky.
What I thought it was about: ZOMG TRUE LOVE
What it is really about: poor people who have given up their dreams and are so goddamn depressed

I remember when Slippery When Wet came out in sixth grade and all the cool kids went to see Bon Jovi in concert and came back with posters and tee shirts and they were all “DUDE that was the COOLEST” and I was kind of jealous but mostly I was totally busy reading my Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books and making sure I didn’t get eaten by a grue so it wasn’t too bad.

Listen, I was just the biggest “TRUE LOVE WIIINNNSSS” person until life kicked me in the head, I can’t even tell you. Now I think it’s mostly a crock of shit but if someone wants to prove me wrong, that’s awesome, too. Don’t rule anything out, you know? Anyway, this song was just the best. Because Tommy! And Gina! And their love! And listen, they didn’t need MONEY, man. They had LOVE. That’s all that MATTERS, bro. LOVE IS THE ANSWER.

This song still kind of makes me rock out. I’m not going to lie. But if you look at it from an adult’s point of view, it’s not so much “romantic” as “oh my God listen YOU NEED TO GET BETTER JOBS THIS IS TOTALLY THE WORST.”

Listen, Gina is “working for her man” because Tommy “used to work on the docks” but apparently that’s no longer the case because “union’s been on strike.” So I guess he can’t work, because when you’re on strike you don’t work? I remember my dad went on strike once and we ate a lot of government cheese. Which, listen, I know that sounds super-sad, but government cheese makes the best, hands-totally-down, grilled cheese sandwiches you have ever eaten in your LIFE. So smooth and melty. Like HEAVEN, that stuff was. Also it was kind of awesome because he was home more and my dad is the most fun EVER. So I know, my parents were probably really upset about being poor? But my brother and I were kind of digging the whole “we’re totally getting government CHEESE! It comes in black and white generic wrappers like it’s a state SECRET!” thing. Can’t lie about that.

Anyway, Gina “brings home her pay for love.” OK, well, that’s nice and not at all subservient, Gina. She also works in a “diner all day.” That sucks. I would hate waiting tables and also would be the worst at it. In college, I worked in the dining hall for a while? (DICKINSON DINING HALL REPRESENT!) And it was the WORST. You came home all crusted with food goo and people were SO MAD when you ran out of Chicken Cordon Bleu, it was like the end of the WORLD for those people. Although I met my friend R there, and she made it tolerable, because we used to get these insane giggle-fits when something nutty would happen. Or when I would sing Meatloaf lyrics very loud and off-key in the kitchen for no reason. (In case you’re wondering, it was “Would you hose me down with holy water, if I get too hot? HOT!”)

This is getting totally off track.

Then Gina says a confusing thing, which is: “We’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got/’Cause it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not./We’ve got each other and that’s a lot.”

Um, so she wants them to hold on, but then she says it doesn’t matter if they make it? Does she mean if they don’t make it monetarily? Or romantically? Because if you don’t make it monetarily, babe, you’re going to starve to death on the streets, and if you don’t make it romantically, what was it all about, Alfie?

Then it says they’re “halfway there – livin’ on a prayer” which sounds AWFUL. I mean, nothing against praying, but also I like a good turkey sub once and a while, yo.

Then Tommy’s whining about his six string, which he had to hock, I assume to eat, and then Gina “dreams of running away/when she cries in the night/Tommy whispers: Baby/it’s okay/someday.”

THIS RELATIONSHIP IS THE SUCK.

Listen, you both need DINNER. And also to move somewhere ELSE. With more JOBS. I am SO DEPRESSED RIGHT NOW. Gina’s got the right answer! And Tommy’s all, “Yeah, yeah, someday, whatever, DID I TELL YOU ABOUT MY SIX STRING.”

I’m so over Tommy. I want to adopt Gina and make her some soup, though.

The line “you live for the fight when that’s all that you’ve got” makes me seat-dance every goddamn time, though. So that’s something.

Mony Mony – Billy Idol
Year Released – 1987
Grade in junior high – seventh
Bases rounded: All my bases are belong to me. And at this point it feels like they probably always will.
What I thought it was about: money
What it is really about: the Mutual of New York building. But probably also sex.

I’m really only including this because this reminds me of a funny story. I went to a dance with my cousin S when I was in seventh grade at her school. And S was COOL, yo. Like so cool you could REFRIGERATE things on her. But what was awesome about her was that she was also one of my favorite people in the world (and still is, I’d gladly arm-wrestle a bear for her) and didn’t care that I was the biggest nerd in nerddom, and was willing to hang out with me. And when she went places with me, people thought I was cool. So S, thank you for that. It always made me feel a little better about my life when you were proud to be seen with me, even in 1987 when I had a spiral perm and blue glasses frames bigger than my whole face.

Anyway, S brought me to a dance. And just as this song started, she said, “listen, we do something kind of bad during this song.” And I said, “What?” and she said, “We…um…swear.” And I said, “WHAT?” because listen, I TOTALLY DIDN’T EVER USED TO SWEAR. Because of JESUS. I know. Your mind is blown. Take a minute to collect yourselves. Anyway, she said, “Just watch me for when to do it, but at certain points in the song, we yell out ‘hey motherfucker, get laid, get fucked.’” And I was SO SHOCKED. But also SO AWED. Because could S be any cooler, seriously? DIRTY DIRTY CUSSES. And when it came time, I watched S, and I SCREAMED OUT THE TOTALLY DIRTY CUSSES. And so did the entire room of junior high kids. And listen. It was AWESOME.

I thought this was just a weird regional thing but Wikipedia tells me today THIS WAS TOTALLY A THING THAT PEOPLE DID IN THE 80s. Who knew?

Billy Idol’s version of the song gave rise to an interesting custom in the 1980s. When the song was performed live in concert or played at a club or dance, people would shout a certain formulaic (and usually obscene) sentence in the two bars following each line. One example is: “Hey motherfucker, get laid, get fucked.” This custom led to the song being banned at high school dances across North America, although it continues at Idol concerts today.

Ha. I love that this still happens. You go, youth of America. You go.

Anyway, apparently when Tommy James and the Shondells wrote this they just wanted a cute song with a repetitive thing in it and they saw the MONY building in New York City and thought “SCORE.” And maybe their version wasn’t about sex. But LISTEN. Did Billy Idol ever do anything – including, I’m sure, hailing a cab, getting a colonoscopy, and eating a bowl of oatmeal, without it being ALL ABOUT THE SEX? No. The answer is no. “Ride your pony, ride your pony, ride your pony come on, come on.” Yep. Billy Idol + talk about pony riding = THE SEX.

I'll take some. Yes, please. Thank you.

Funky Cold Medina – Tone Loc
Year Released – 1989
Grade in high school – Freshman
Bases rounded: Zero (I was VERY BUSY. With…um…OTHER THINGS. Listen, I don’t have to tell you everything I do. Why are you interrogating me.)
What I thought it was about: wacky foibles in the adult dating world
What it is really about: unexpected results when you roofie someone

This is distressing. This song isn’t even ABOUT funny wacky stuff like I used to think it was. THIS WAS SECRETLY WARPING CHILDREN. I’m going to go right ahead and blame this on the roofie craze. What? This had nothing to do with the roofie craze and there’s not really so much of a roofie craze, anyway? FINE. I might have been EXAGGERATING.

So Tone Loc was “cold coolin at a bar, and I’m lookin for some action” but no dice. NO DICE. No chicks want the Loc. So Tone Loc goes up to some other dude who’s getting all the chicks and he asks, “Why you so fly?” And the guy says “I totally roofied the chicks. Want some?” OK FINE he says “Funky Cold Medina.”

Then the guy tells Tone Loc how to roofie people with this oddly-named drug, and apparently gives some to Tone Loc. Who then GOES HOME AND GIVES IT TO HIS DOG WHAT THE HELL. “So I gave some to my dog when he began to beg.” WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS. What happens? The dog “licked his bowl and he looked at me and did the wild thing on my leg.” What the hell, Tone Loc? You are a weirdo. But it all ended well, his dog ended up getting all the sex because “now all the poodles run to my house for the Funky Cold Medina.”

I am confused. So if you drink it, does it make YOU horny? Or does it make everyone AROUND you horny? This drug is not very precise. The side effect list must be really long when you pick it up from your pharmacy and the pharmacist must be all, “You should really opt into the optional counseling” and you’re all “No m’man places to go and people to do I mean see” and he’s all “It’s your funeral my friend” while shaking his head sadly.

Well! This worked well, so then Tone Loc decides, “I WANT TO BE LIKE MY DOG” so he goes to the bar and finds a victim I MEAN A GIRLFRIEND. And he roofies her, and all is totally going well, until he brings her home and finds out that “Sheena was a man.” WELL. Isn’t THAT unexpected. You totally gave some stranger a date-rape drug and then she ended up not being what was promised you. I feel really, really bad, seriously.

Then he says this, which is odd: “You know, ain’t no plans with a man. This is the 80s, and I’m down with the ladies.” So if it was the 70s you’d have been ok with it? Or the 90s? What does this mean?

Then (why is this song SO LONG) he goes on The Love Connection (I don’t know either) and roofies the winner. And the winner was awesome until she said she wanted to marry him ON THEIR FIRST DATE and he was all “SEE YA!” and left.

You CAN NOT PLEASE TONE LOC. He doesn’t want to have sex with: a dog, a man, or a woman who likes him. WHO THE HELL DO YOU WANT TO BONE TONE LOC.

I find this song to be a cautionary tale for dogs, transsexuals, and women.

Humpty Dance – Digital Underground
Year Released – 1990
Grade in high school – Sophomore
Bases rounded: One (barely, and kind of by default)
What I thought it was about: dancing
What it is really about: humping (I mean, it’s not like he was trying to fool anyone or anything, IT SAYS IT IN THE TITLE)

In 1990, I had my first boyfriend. In case somehow he stumbles into my den of iniquity, I don’t want to be too mean. Oh, wait, stop, I totally do, because he told everyone he fucked me after he dumped me on Valentine’s Day! So let’s just say the following: he didn’t know that kissing could involve tongue. Kissing, for him, meant putting his lips on mine and staying there, for lengths of time up to three minutes, WITHOUT MOVING. I don’t know. It was off-putting. It also started my obsession with lip gloss because there was no moisture and SO GODDAMN DRY AND CLINICAL.  The fact that he told people we’d had sex after we broke up was so laughable that it was almost Benny Hill-worthy. The furthest we got was one time he let me rest my head on his shoulder in his mom’s van. And then she noticed and said “NO TOUCHING” and then we had to stop. Oh, and the desert-dry kisses. I think if we’d have disrobed, he would have gotten in the fetal position and begun rocking and crying and possibly self-flagellating.

ANYWAY.

This was my sexual experience when this song came out. So I thought it was about making out?

Selected lyrics from this that prove otherwise:

“Yo ladies, oh how I like to hump thee.”
“I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom.”
“I’m still gettin’ in the girls’ pants.”
“’Cause in a 69 my humpty nose will tickle ya rear.”
“I get laid by the ladies.”

WHY WAS THIS BEING PLAYED AT HIGH SCHOOL DANCES.

Also, a Burger King bathroom? I don’t think that’s what “have it your way” means. And, ew.

I like that I thought this was about dancing. I like my innocent self. She’s cute. I want to put her in a blender and see what happens. I’M NOT BITTER NO NOT ME.

Also, I don’t think I had any idea what a 69 entailed until freshman year of college. Um. I mean. When I read about it. In a book. Of course. Anyway. Moving on.

Do Me  – Bell Biv DeVoe
Year Released – 1990
Grade in high school – sophomore
Bases rounded: Still one. And seriously, it was totally an accident, I think. He didn’t mean to put his lips there.
What I thought it was about: I think making out?
What it is really about: Fucking. Let’s be completely honest. Dirty, dirty fucking.

What the hell? Songs in the early 90s were AWFUL.

“Girl, let your hair down
Take off your clothes and leave on your shoes
Would you mind if I looked at you for a moment
Before I make sweet love”

Um, why are we leaving on our shoes? That seems…pointy. Are we expecting to make a quick getaway?

“Backstage, under age, adolescent
How ya doin’, ‘Fine,’ she replied
I sighed, ‘I like to do the wild thing’
Action took place
Kinda wet, don’t forget
The J, the I, the M, the M, the Y, y’all
I need a body bag”

STATUTORY RAPE IS TOTALLY CLASSY Y’ALL! This is why he wants you to leave your shoes on. So you can run when the cops come. Also, thank you for spelling Jimmy. The child you’re with probably needs it spelled because she’s UNDERAGE. Also, you’re GONNA need a body bag, Bell, Biv, or DeVoe, because if her dad finds out, WHOO MOMMA are you gonna be in a world of hurtin’.

“The time was 6 o’clock on the Swatch watch
No time to chill, got a date, can’t be late
Hey, the girl is gonna do me”

Swatch Watch! Aw! I had a peach colored one with a phoenix in the middle. It was AWESOME. I like the last line in here. It’s like he’s just remembering. “HEY! The girl is gonna do me! Awesome! How could I have forgotten?”

I had a single of this? And I listened to it over and over and over and my mom was all, “Amy! I think this might be inappropriate?” and I was all, “MOM, you are so OUT OF TOUCH I can’t even, IT IS ABOUT MAKING OUT GAAAHHH.”

Nope. Fucking. Sorry, mom.

Bell Biv DeVoe? Really? That’s…quite a band name?

So listen. If you are a parent or know someone who is a parent of children who are the age to listen to things like this DO NOT FRET. Yes, the songs they listen to are probably WILDLY INAPPROPRIATE. But, all will probably be well, and they will grow up to be normal, self-assured, and cheery. Or they might grow up to blog about nonsense while eating chicken fingers in the dark. THERE IS ROOM FOR US ALL HERE IN GOD’S KINGDOM.

You can do me in the morning, you can do me in the night, you can do me when you want to do me.

Ugh. SO GODDAMN GROSS BELL BIV DEVOE.


Reety Skanks and Chafy Sandy Sexytimes. It was the 80s. STANDARDS WERE LOW, DAMN.

So this morning, on the way to work, the song Brass in Pocket was on the radio.  And I don’t have anything in particular against Chrissie Hynde or The Pretenders, per se? But I was listening to some of the lyrics, and they’re kind of worrisome. Even for an 80s song. 

From what I can tell (and I might be wrong, and it might have some sort of deep meaning, I don’t know) the song seems to be about the singer trying to convince the person she’s singing to that she’s “special.”  

The way she’s going about this would, most definitely, convince the person that she is, indeed, “special” – but not the kind of special I think she’s going for. 

The way she goes about making the person notice her special-ness: 

“Gonna use my arms, gonna use my legs, gonna use my style, gonna use my sidestep, gonna use my fingers, gonna use my imagination.” 

Um. OK, so is she dancing? Dancing to get his attention? Get yourself a good mental picture of this woman. The guy isn’t paying her any heed. All of a sudden, she starts flailing her arms around. Then her legs. Then using her “style” somehow – I don’tknow, catwalking, maybe? Then her SIDESTEP. This is my favorite. Her sidestep. I just think of this guy sitting on a couch at a party, chatting with a normal girl or something, and a girl (who, in my mind, looks like Dawn Weiner from Welcome to the Dollhouse) starting to sidestep back and forth in front of him like you’re taught in elementary-school gym class. Then fingers –I guess snapping? Snapping while sidestepping? Then it gets even better, because she starts using her imagination. Because doing all of those other things wasn’t imaginative enough! No, no. Now it’s time to do something IMAGINATIVE. Like maybe come out dressed as a fairy princess, or start talking in tongues, or stand on a table and do backflips. 

This all has the stench of desperation to me. 

But don’t worry! We’re not done. After repeating over and over and OVER “I’m special! I’m special! SO SPECIAL! There’s NO ONE HERE LIKE ME!” (um, yeah, well, we can thank our lucky stars for that, I think, because there’s only so much room for crazies in this particular crazytown) and just BEGGING him for a minute of his time – “I gotta have some of your attention! GIVE IT TO ME!”, she comes out with this: 

“I got rhythm, I can’t miss a beat, I gotta new skank so reet, got something, I’m winking at you, I’m gonna MAKE YOU NOTICE.” 

WHAT THE HELL IS A REET. 

Is it supposed to be “right” but that didn’t rhyme with “beat” so she went with “reet” or is reet really a thing that crazy attention-whores have? What the hell? And she’s got a new skank so reet? Is this code? Is this insane crazy 80s code? Because I was 6 when this song came out so the only code I knew was slang words for the toilet and whatever they were currently teaching me on The Electric Company. Are there any people reading this who were old enough in 1980 that would understand what the hell a reety skank is? Someone explain, please. I am at a loss, here. I think it’s important I know. 

Then I watched the above video. Now, I can’t watch videos at work with the sound on, because there is no sound at my computer. There is video, but no audio. So it’s like a dumbshow, and I have to guess what’s going on from context and mummery. 

What I guessed from the context of this video but not the sound because I HAVE NO SOUND: 

  • Chrissie Hynde had rockin’ eyeliner and was a total fox. I am not being sarcastic. She was gorgeous.
  • I’m glad I wasn’t old enough in 1980 to deal with the men with teased and hairsprayed hair situation. How could you take that seriously? That is not sexy.
  • I enjoyed that during the “special” part the men in the diner pointed at “special” on the menu. Smart! Also, kind of like closed-captioning for me!
  • She was not sidestepping at all. I think that was a missed opportunity. Although she was kind of badass so I bet if they asked her to sidestep she might have shivved them.
  • The scene where the high-haired men’s girlfriends came in was kind of distressing, because the making out was gross. Who does that in a diner in the middle of the day? Put that tongue away.
  • Chrissie Hynde could have done better than any of those men in the video.
  • After watching the video, I’m kind of having a disconnect between Chrissie Hynde and the person that would be singing this song. Because listen, Chrissie Hynde would NOT be singing this song. Chrissie Hynde would be singing a song about kicking asses and taking names and leaving in the middle of the night after she’d finished with you and you’d wake up in the morning and she would have stolen your wallet but you’d be too scared to go to the cops about it because she would come back and bite you and look fabulous while she did it. I have a crush on 1980 Chrissie Hynde right now. 

Now, I know you’re going to say, “It’s an 80s song, we didn’t expect much from 80s songs, lyrically, because it was the 80s and music was awful back then.” But NO! There were a lot of good things happening at the same time. For example: Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen! Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd! Call Me by Blondie! Funkytown by Lipps, Inc.! (That’s a band? Lipps, Inc. was a band? I mean, of course I’ve heard the song, but seriously? Lipps, Inc.? Upsetting. That’s like a Saturday Night Live joke-type band. Really? Who took them seriously?) Do That to Me One More Time by Captain and Tennille! Whoa, wait a minute, I can’t back that play. You people in the 80s allowed that to get to #1? HOW DID THIS COME TO PASS. Listening to Captain and Tennille is like aural Novocain. I am a little embarrassed for you. Oh, wait. Right before that was #1, we find that Pina Colada song. I see where this is going. It is taking a very embarrassing turn, is where. 

Has anyone ever listened to the lyrics of that Pina Colada song? Fine, I know, I know it has a name. The real name of that song is Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes. The reason I know this song so well is because once I worked on a show where the song was one of the five songs in the pre-show music, which we had in a loop, and the show ran for three weeks, and I’d have to listen to it on average 3-5 times a night. I think I know every single lyric to this song. This song and that awful, horrible, sappy, maudlin Seasons in the Sun bullshit thing. It was a nightmare, the music in that show. 

In case you’re not aware, let me give you Cliff’s Notes version of the Pina Colada song. 

A man gets bored with his wife (no, seriously, the song starts with “I was tired of my lady” so that’s totally sensitive), so behind her back, he answers a personal ad. The personal ad reads thusly: “If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain, if you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain, if you’d like making love at midnight in the dunes on the Cape, then I’m the love that you’ve looked for, write to me and escape.” So hey, he thinks, I’m totally bored of my old ball and chain, I will answer this! And he does. Guess who the special lady is? BAM IT’S HIS OWN WIFE. Bet you never saw THAT coming, sucka! Then the spice is back in their life because I guess they’re going to have drunken non-flexible sandy sex or whatever, I don’t know.

This song is upsetting! It is about cheaters! But no one is mad because EVERYONE is a cheater. So it all works out well! If I was a Cheaty McCheaterson, and I answered an ad (ok, but I wouldn’t answer THIS ad, because this person sounds like a WEIRDO, “half” a brain? Way to sell yourself short, lady-friend) and it was the person I was trying to “escape” from, probably I’d take the opportunity to say, hey, special friend, let’s take this as a sign we should break it off, no hard feelings, ok bye then? No sandy sex and frozen beverages for me. 

Also, Seasons in the Sun is about someone who’s dead and singing to the people he left behind on earth and it is SAPPY and it makes you want to stick KNITTING NEEDLES through your EARDRUMS and it keeps going up a chord in a weird, jarring, funhouse way, and it repeats, over and over, “We had JOY, we had FUN, we had SEASONS! In the SUN!” and after that play was over I was like one of Pavlov’s dogs when I heard that song, I wanted to yell “places” and sit backstage and cover my ears and rock and beat my head against a flat while wearing a headset. 

So, what have we learned today? In the 80s, you apparently got people to notice you by SIDESTEPPING. If you were female. If you were male, you wore a lot of hairspray. And Chrissie Hynde was a total babe. Also, and this is important, and if you remember nothing else, remember this, please: sandy sex is painful, yo. CHAFING. At least bring a towel or something. Damn.


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