I remember the day Elvis Presley died. I was 8, and my mother was uncharacteristically beside herself. I didn’t get the drama – I didn’t like his music and I just thought it was weird that so many women found him attractive, fat guy in a white jumpsuit and all. Funny how that day has come back to me almost 40 years later, now that I have spent the last few days sorting my Prince songs into a special playlist and listening to it tonight over a bottle of wine. I even made a dessert in his honor. A fruit cobbler, with a raspberry puree. The kind you can’t find in a grocery store.
This week has actually been doubly nostalgic for me. I have been binge watching my favorite television series, Sex and the City, again. I don’t know too many people who actually binge watch all seasons of an entire series twice, but I happen to like the familiarity and comfort of things that withstand the passage of time. Which is why I’m here on my patio wearing my torn Levis, my mother’s cardigan, and my leopard slingbacks, listening to the dearly departed Prince Rogers Nelson sing of DMSR (dance, music, sex, and romance, of course.)
Not that the 80s and 90s were the best of times. Bad marriage and even worse hair were the overwhelming themes of the decades. But somewhere deep in my soul, Prince and Carrie Bradshaw spoke to me, made me who I am. The goodness or badness of this has yet to be clearly determined.
Both of their influences (on me and on society) made it powerful to be sexual. At some point in my adult life, I owned it, and began to respect it. In listening a little closer to Prince’s music this week, I discovered that his sexual lyrics were much different than that of today’s artists. Today’s artists meet with girls with big asses in clubs and have them bend over a lot. And that’s about it. Prince sang about women in a very sexual way, but it was in a way that was adoring. You can tell that he loved women and respected their beauty and power.
Both of their influences made it terrifically okay to be a little weird, a little quirky, and proved that not only can you wave your freak flag, you can brand it. Both of their influences encouraged the purchase of quality heels and make-up, neither of which I can currently afford, but I made a good run of it for a while.
Like Presley fans before me, I will carry my high school memories of Prince’s music forever. It’s likely that my oldest son was conceived to a Prince song, but that theory cannot be confirmed nor denied. And like 8 year old me, those in their 20s and 30s probably won’t understand why I feel as though a part of my past has died. And that’s okay. Their kids won’t understand their grief when they mourn the passing of Justin Beiber. (Try as I might, I just couldn’t write that with a straight face.)
So to Prince, to Carrie, and to the span of 10 years when I loved them both, thank you for the memories. Thanks for sparking the creativity inside of me and educating me on things the midwest could not. Thanks for still being here, in the music, in the re-runs, to remind me that there’s still a part of me that also in re-runs, is funny and sexy and smart.
“Follow where we go, And when the world’s compassion ceases still I know, 4 your every touch, I thank U so much, 4 your every kiss I…I wish U love. I wish U heaven.” -Prince