I recently found my old Ipod from years ago. Its amazing what a difference it makes to have good music playing while you go about the day. My brother is always talking about how he would like to either be on The Hills or to have a similar loosely scripted reality show about his life. He wants it for one reason. He wants his life to have a soundtrack. He is always telling what song would be playing in which scenario and how awesome it would be. I agree. We should all have a life soundtrack. Everything is more dramatic when set to great music.
This morning I had the device set to shuffle all the songs (which can be irritating when you get Mormon Tabernacle Choir followed by Naughty By Nature followed by US Army running cadences followed by Hall and Oates) I was making French toast for breakfast (the least actually French thing I can think of) and grooving to the music and Ray of Light came on by Madonna and I was grooving in my robe and and slippers and I reminisced. "This is a great album."
Jack looked at me strangely and said "Who is this? I have never heard this singer."
Who raised this kid? "Of course you have heard this before. You used to beg for this very song from your car seat in the van as a baby. You know who this is."
Emma happened to be there waiting for the French Toast and she is a little pop music savant so I knew she would back me up. She was totally stumped. "Common, Em. You can do this. Tell me who this is. "
More Blank Stares. "The Material Girl… Evita…Desperately Seeking Susan….Like a Virgin? MAN you guys are Killing Me! Who raised you? Who provided your music education?
To make a long story short, the next hour was spent educating the kids on why the Immaculate Collection is one of the greatest albums ever made even though Madonna Is a dirty tramp who most likely sold her soul to the devil.
I was raised by a Madonna hater. Every time my mom would hear a Madonna song she would rant about how talentless she was and how sad it is when girls turn slutty to get attention. Madonna was always a cautionary tale in the Haws home.
"Did you know that La Isla Bonita means the Beautiful Island?" and Papa Don't Preach Is about a pregnant teen who doesn't want to give in to her father's demand to put her baby up for adoption. She has had number 1 hits in 4 consecutive decades, people! Love her or hate her, you gotta respect.
Then a Vivid memory flashed back to me. It was the end of August of 2001 and I was living in my little house in Tempe with Tommy my best gay friend (I was a fabulous Fag Hag back in the day). He was bummed out and when I asked him what was wrong he told me a tale of woe about how he had dreamed about going to a Madonna concert since he was a small child and Madonna was coming in concert in September but she was not coming to Phoenix, only to Los Angeles and all of the shows were sold out. His dreams of attending a Madonna concert were crushed.
After I mocked him mercilessly for having such a ridiculously shallow life ambition I went into pep-talk mode "If this is so important to you then we will do whatever it takes to make it happen! I will personally see to it that you dance your tiny gay ass off at that Madonna concert."
The next day I bought a pair of tickets from a scalper for a few hundred bucks. A tiny price to see my best friend happy. This was of course back in the day when I had almost unlimited disposable income, zero expenses, and a totally flexible schedule. I booked us two round trip tickets to L.A., reserved a rental car and booked a fancy hotel room at the W in Beverly Hills. Tommy and I would turn the stereo up so loud that the windows in the house would rattle and we watched Madonna's music video with the hot cowboy line dancers so many times we knew the whole dance exactly. Nothing was going to stop us. NOTHING.
The next day four airliners were hijacked, the twin towers fell, the pentagon burned and Tommy and I cried and sat watching the news for days on end. It was surreal. Nothing could cheer us up. The entire nation reeled and mourned. All flights were grounded and all concerts were cancelled. Every person reading this can recall exactly where they were and how they felt when they saw America brought to its knees. The economy went into a tailspin, commerce instantly froze up, everyone took inventory of their loved ones and we braced for war. I just wanted some kind of distraction. Something happy to look forward to. It felt wrong to turn up fun music and dance in the living room. Then we found out that Madonna rescheduled the show. Our tickets were good for the new date but all flights were still cancelled. Fulfilling Tommy's shallow dream became a symbol of overcoming so much other darkness. I was more hellbent on showing up to that stupid concert than anything else. After all, if we missed this event, then the terrorists win. No way, Osama. So we got into my BMW and drove all night long.
I had been to a lot of concerts before then and I have been to a lot since, but I have never had such a wonderful time in my life. Tommy went out to the Hollywood gay bars with some other friends after the show and I lounged by the pool and mingled with celebrities in the W hotel bar and enjoyed in-room spa treatments. It was the most luxurious experience of my life. We drove home the next day and bragged to all of our envious friends about our insanely indulgent weekend. If there was an award for Fag Hag of The Year, I would have owned that trophy in 2001.