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Friday, April 22, 2016

I was

doing laundry earlier this week and found myself humming Darling Nikki while I did it. I was thinking about it, the lyrics, you know:

"I knew a girl named Nikki
I guess you could say she was a sex fiend
I met her in a hotel lobby
Masturbating with a magazine
She said how'd you like to waste some time
And I could not resist when I saw little Nikki grind.."


I was thinking about how much sex ed Prince had given me. I wondered who would do that for my kids? Darling Nikki and her devices (omg, what are those??) made us all blush, but it also made masturbation, specifically girl masturbation something that existed. Really. No one talked about girls touching themselves- it wasn't something my girlfriends and I confided- there was way too much associated shame. But here was Prince singing about how turned on he was watching this woman touch herself, and how completely she owned her sexuality.

The song implied that she was a prostitute with the "sign your name on the dotted line" line, but she was clearly having fun. Even that was eye-opening, could sex-workers enjoy themselves??

Prince died yesterday.

His impact on me was much more than Darling Nikki, the above is only to illustrate just how present he is in my psyche.

His words and sounds and images are parts of me, they're my touchstones and references. They're me at 13, seeing my first R rated movie in a theater, Purple Rain, (my step-brother was convinced to bring me), they're me cutting photos out of the newsprint pages of Rolling Stone and studying Prince's overt sexuality, his appreciation of all of it: the romance, the lust, the give and take and the pure sensuality of touch, and the color and the make up. His version of beauty declared itself always: this is gorgeous; I am gorgeous; look at this gorgeous creature. Don't be shy. But shy is hot too.

I taped them all over my walls, along with Pat Benatar (tiny like me!), and Boy George, and David Bowie.. I lived for the butterflies, the gender ambiguous, the ones who couldn't possibly be anything but what they were.

He's in me at 20 something, dancing. He's me feeling old but happy at a stadium concert about six years ago, in a sea of purple.

Prince's loss cuts deep, because he really is somehow, magically, part of who I am and how I define myself.

This morning I thought about how I believe that there is just energy, and an individual's death sends their energy back into the mass, some portion to be recycled into new beings. I thought about Prince's energy rejoining the mass, and how maybe we should be looking for him in a new child sometime soon, the way the lamas of Tibet seek out the new physical forms of their spiritual leaders.

I thought again about the "god particle" and what makes us different from one another, when we are really so much the same.

(I was in yoga)

Maybe I just don't want to believe that light has gone out, and I'm grasping.

Thank you for your gifts, Prince Rogers Nelson, I wouldn't be who I am without you.

This is a laterpost, but why not?

The last time was in Paris I was newly 18, and traveling with a backpack, and a girlfriend with a black-belt in karate.

We crashed with my dad and step-mother in an apartment they'd rented in Saint Germain des Pres. I remember high ceilings and a quiet courtyard we disrupted with our exuberance. My parents said they could hear us coming from blocks away.

I remember us rolling our eyes listening to them fucking in the other room.. My step-mother's soft chirping-gasping, and our snickering, squicked out blushes.

As a distraction, and also on long train rides, we read A Prayer For Owen Meany aloud to each other, swallowing gales of laughter.

We were admonished for using their toothpaste- pretty sure we were rationing ours.

I remember a party where a tall, slim, older man took a fancy to me, and I was intoxicated by his attention. He dropped me like a hot potato the moment he discovered who my father was.. Much to my father's satisfaction. There was some lasting animosity between them that was never explained to me.

It was hot in Paris, meltingly so.

The epitome of bliss was French butter and honey on a fresh baguette. We lived on that. And cheese, and Nutella, and cheap wine. And an endless supply of dumdum lollipops, which we liked to use to make friends... Greasing kids and train ticket collectors alike.

I remember: studying the hands and feet of the Rodin statues looking for evidence of Colette's contributions, and the smell of stargazer lilies, and the contrast of scarlet geraniums against exposed brick and blue sky glimpsed on a fire escape. And cigarettes, and smoky bars where people danced and I didn't know the steps.

And I remember eating ice cream after an evening stroll around St. Germain with my dad. He stopped me to ask, really ask, "what do you want to do next?"

The answer was just: New York.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Lucy Jordan

I find myself thinking about capacity to love, a thought launched by people's unabridged adoration of their pets, and the complications humans bring to their relationships with each other- how easy it is to pour your love onto a pet, how complicated a person.

(sitting in the Paris airport waiting to board a delayed flight home after a glass of wine and a slice of quiche.)

Lovely trip full of delights. Most especially a revelry in the male gaze. Whether we're conditioned to desire it or it's an innate human quality, it is divine to feel admired, desired, and found to be lovely, smart, and funny. (I *was* funny. And fun. And overall chic and attractive.. I don't always feel those things.) 

It wasn't only the men- I made friends, and I was embraced. I guess I gave myself license- in that way you can when time is fleeting and the possibility of meeting again is slim- but I truly had such fun being me.

And now just a little blue to be returning to my excellent life. My mind still flies down what-if passageways. What would that life feel like? Strolling arm in arm with a tall sweet man, drinking Armagnac at a small cafe on a cool spring night.

Letting a man's open admiration warm me, as his hand does on the small of my back.

Feeling a glance of appreciation and enjoying it.

And sighing just a little for what will never be.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Of tribes and regrets

I went to the memorial. I know that's maybe a little weird. A few hours on a bus 20+ years ago..
But I went. 

I reread the letters. I thought I'd give them to his mom. But I didn't, because really? They mean more to me. But maybe I'll send her copies :).

Seeing sixteen year old me through the lens of sixteen year old him is pretty great. I'm struck by how much US we already are. The Pogues? We both already loved them, and Peace + Love was just about to be released. Our mutual love of Elvis Costello is in full bloom. He'd already found the Coen brothers. 
I wonder how much he influenced my taste without my even realizing it. 

And platonic? on rereading, I think he was rather fond of me. But I was blind and distracted by my first reciprocated high-school crush. Oh well. Such a strange thing to get sentimental and all "what if" now. 
Always missing things as soon as they're gone or suddenly impossible. Human nature, right?

And his tribe? His people? They're kind, creative, cool, and full of love. 

They performed his Pogues songs, and referenced David Bowie's Heroes. They were irreverent and smart. And full of love.

And even though it was weird, I was so glad to have gone. 

RIP, dude. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

(A)musing

Spent the afternoon cleaning the kitchen and listening to Taylor Swift. Made me think about first kisses.
Now I'm happily sitting at the table typing this and eating artisanal rocky road ice cream.
I think this explains her popularity perfectly.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Loss

So. Facebook. I feel a little pathetic about how much time I spend there. 

When I first got on FB, I felt that it built a web of all the people I'd intersected with. I left home relatively early, and didn't look back. I lost touch with lots of people, and was fine with it. FB felt like a homecoming, without having to really engage with everyone. It fixed me into a center, gave me a context of my life in a way I'd never seen it. As I've gotten older the paths of my friends seem to cross and overlap in all sorts of interesting ways..

When I was sixteen I took a bus from Maine to Boston by myself. I can't remember the circumstances, but as I was waiting in line to board the bus the friend seeing me off said,"See that kid? Sit next to him". 

So I did. We talked for the next six hours, mostly about music, and how our lives were the same, and how they were different. He came from the tiny town my family had left ten years before. 
He wore a Joy Division tee shirt, and was slender with sandy blond hair.

It was one of the most pleasant encounters I'd had as an individual alone in the world. 

We became pen pals and wrote each other regularly for at least a year.. Then he went off to McGill, and I moved to NY, and we lost touch. 

Almost twenty years later we became friends again via FB. He was the same: smart, funny, obsessed with film and music. He ran marathons, had a girlfriend, and a beautiful bff dog. Our interactions, after the initial "so great to (virtually) see you!" were limited to appreciating each other's wit or taste, or remarking on paths that had crossed without our knowledge. 
I got a PM one day asking if I'd been in a Korean spa the afternoon before- he thought he'd seen me there with a group of girlfriends (he had!) but had been too shy to approach. I'd remembered watching him with his girlfriend, thinking they'ed ordered better food than me. 

He died last week of cancer, never having mentioned his illness on FB. 

From my removed distance I'm heartbroken. I hate that he's gone. I always figured I'd see him in real life again, felt his friendship genuinely, thought we'd laugh at our letters (I still have his). 

He last posted a pic of Jimmy Stewart from Rear Window, wheelchair bound, and a slightly cryptic "mirroring my life right now" caption. I figured he'd broken his leg...

So here we are. I'm sad. 

I forget how much people don't share, when they seem to be sharing all the time.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Sexy is

Your undivided attention
Your arms
Your wrists
Your muscles under cloth
Your jeans hugging your ass
Your hunger
Your calculation
But mostly
Sexy is your undivided attention