Like a Virgin
Thanks to the stellar halftime show at the Super Bowl by the one-and-only Madonna, lots of ladies out there are talking. Talking about how great she looked, how well she moved, given she’s in her 50s, and whether or not she takes glucosamine.
But mainly we’re talking about how we were there when she broke out into Stardom with her “Like a Virgin” album in 1984. And more specifically, how we were there for the “Like a Virgin” tour in Dallas at the Convention Center in May of 1985. Yes, I still have my ticket stub. And even MORE specifically, what our mothers were thinking letting us go.
“Hey, Mom, can I go to the Madonna concert?” asks 15 year old high school girl. “Now, who is she, honey?” asks Mom. “You know, she’s that Catholic girl from New York, who’s rebelling against her faith by dressing in lace bustiers and writhing around on stage singing about having sex.” “Oh, sure, you can go, and I’ll even drive you and your friends downtown to see her!” Probably all she heard was that she was Catholic.
Thinking back, I’m not sure what effect Madonna had on my little brain, in terms of influencing me to participate in teenage debauchery or not. But I do remember that between me and the other two friends I went with to the concert, none of us had yet ventured into that unknown realm of Adult Intimacy to which Madonna referred. But maybe it gave us ideas. Who knows.
Especially since I knew practically nothing practical at all about sex. I think my entire sex education was a talk my mother gave me at age 10 in which she explained that one day I would go to the bathroom and blood would come out, and that meant that I’d be able to have babies. My take-away from that conversation was that if I did What Was Necessary to have a baby before marriage, I would probably go to hell. Or purgatory, with all the unbaptized babies and the people who committed suicide.
Yeah, I’m kind of fuzzy on the specifics of that conversation, but I do remember that it scared the hell out of me. Especially the part about purgatory. I believe I can trace my later defection to Protestantism back to that one conversation.
But back to Madonna…the ultimate naughty Catholic Girl Gone Wild. And I can’t help but wonder again, how were our mothers OK with this? I can tell you that about 90% of my Freshman class from my all-girls’ Catholic high school was at that concert. Would Sister Damian approve? Not likely.
My Mom just happens to be here visiting, so I asked her about it. “Mom, what were you thinking letting me go to Madonna’s Like a Virgin concert when I was 15? Huh? Mom? Hello?” She had fallen asleep in the recliner. This will be me someday when I am really old. Beaten down like a dog by life.
Anyway, I woke her up to get her answer, and she begrudgingly replied, “I guess I didn’t give it much thought.” WHAT?!?! Great parenting, Mom!!! I lie awake at night worrying about whether my daughter is picking up subliminal messages from Miley Cyrus. And you didn’t give much thought to me listening to Madonna, whose lyrics include, “Like a Virgin, touched for the very first time.” And, “Gonna give you all my love, boy. My fear is fading fast. “
And you sent me to the concert with a boy (just a friend, but still!) who was probably getting all tingly listening to that and watching Madonna on stage practically in her underwear? NOW, I’m thinking like a Mom.
And my answer to my daughter would have been, “Heck, no, you are not listening to that hooker or going to her concert.” But I guess Madonna slipped under all the Mommy-radars that year. Maybe it was just another part of the excess of the 80s. Maybe our Moms were just completely clueless. Or maybe they were just too tired or old to care.
Anyway, I’m glad she did let me go, because Madonna totally influenced me, whether that’s a good or bad thing. She was the real deal. Maybe she didn’t have the best singing voice ever, but she changed the world with her attitude, fashion sense (of course we should all wear black lace gloves with the finger tips cut off!) and irreverent and rebellious message. I’m sorry, but Lady Gaga pales in comparison.
And Madonna is still at it. She’s coming to Houston in October, and I fully intend to be there. I may even be persuaded to break out those black lace gloves.
And this time I don’t have to ask for permission.