What Whitney meant to meGaywatch Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
There are some recording artists that are intertwined with the coming out process and beyond, forever encased in a piece of memory amber to be looked at under the light of remembrance, intrinsically using the spotlight of said musician to illuminate what they meant on a personal level over the years.
For me, during the ’80s it was Madonna, Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson, all on heavy rotation on MTV. You know when they actually played music videos by people with actual talent, and not a bunch of drunk, belligerent and horny Jersey Shore vacationers that make obscene amounts of money to be, well, drunk, belligerent and horny.
But I digress.
Our relationship fluctuated more than Jennifer Hudson’s weight over the years – by the by, she did a very good rendition of “I Will Always Love You” at The Grammys, but Amber Riley’s on Glee two days later blew that out of the water.
How will I know about the greatest love of all
I first became aware of the awe-inspiring vocals of Whit Whit on her 1985 single, “Saving All My Love For You,” a song that perfectly encapsulated what passed as my first “relationship” with a fella who was 10 years my senior, but was not a senior citizen, as I was just 16. I was easy, but not cheap, OK?
He was what you might call another ’80s song, one “Part Time Lover” by Stevie Wonder, since we had weekend rendezvous and those few stolen moments were all that we shared, as he had a girlfriend and when she wasn’t there, I was more than happy to take up a musical instrument. No, not the skin flute, well that’s not entirely true, but I became adept at playing second fiddle.
After our 9 months of being on the sly were said and done, I would wonder if I’d ever meet anyone who I could give good love to, in essence how would I know if he really loved me.
Adding confusion to my teenage mind, and according to her liner notes, that “love can be deceiving” and “don’t trust your feelings” in the chorus really threw me for a huge loop. As I did not have anyone who I could turn to that would “know about these things,” I reconciled myself to just enjoy the music bleeding through the orange sponged headphones of my Walkman.
But, she got me again with “Greatest Love of All,” as there was this thing I’d heard about called “self esteem,” which proved more elusive than the pair of parachute pants I wanted at Chess King that my mom wouldn’t buy me.
For you youngins reading this, please turn to pages 40 and 69 (nudge, wink) in your Present-Day-To-1980s-Reference-Book to look up definitions for both Chess King and parachute pants.
I wanna dance with somebody and get so emotional when love will save the day
Suffice it to say that by 1987, I hadn’t come out to my four older, and very straight, brothers, although my mom and dad were privy to that bit of information … hello, they had met me! So upon purchasing the aptly titled album Whitney, I immediately received an unsolicited ration of you-know-what from one sibling, who was incredulous that I was listening to, and enjoying the hell out of, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).”
Oh, did the obvious attempt to conform by having a Christie Brinkley calendar in my bedroom not have the desired affect? My brother essentially got so emotional over my musical tastes that for a nano second he made me not enjoy listening to her on my ghetto blaster.
The storm of sibling disapproval passed and I found somebody to dance with at 18, but my first boyfriend shared my brother’s disdain for Whitney’s music. I soon said, “Curb, meet Scott.”
Cut. Print. That’s a wrap!
Contrary to popular belief, I did not have my tear ducts removed because I never use them; I am still tearing up almost a week since the passing of a truly great star. Especially as I write this. Yes, I know in the past I have made my fair share of jokes at her expense, but her untimely death has made me focus on the positives of what she brought to my life.
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