(VIDEO) Glee, Virgins and The Power of Madonna: Time Traveling From Parent to Teen to Parent in One Hour
June 3, 1985: I was standing in the New Haven Coliseum waiting for the Beastie Boys to open for Madonna. I was sporting a ripped sweatshirt, Guess jeans and my mother's "merry widow." My hair was in a ponytail, tied up with a wide lace ribbon. Black rubber bracelets were stacked on both arms and rhinestone earrings hung from both of my earlobes. My best friend and I arrived at the concert in style -- well what passed for style in those days -- a red Subaru sedan. Given my history, it's no wonder I was completely glued to my television this week, along with 13 million other people, for the Glee episode aptly titled "The Power of Madonna."
For me, songs are like time machines. When I hear a beat, or even sometimes just the title of the tune, I am instantly transported. Such was the case with this week's episode of Glee . I must admit that for an hour last Wednesday, I was the quintessential time traveler. After all, Madonna's songs span easily from the mid-eighties and cover the next, gulp, 20 years. But my trip back in time distracted me somewhat from the plot of the episode. Somehow I missed the part where a triad of virgins formed, and I was completely unprepared for it. How did I miss the lead-up to this? I must have been lost in my own memories of practically shouting the words to "Borderline" with my friends as we zoomed down I-95 in a first-generation Honda Civic heading to the Showcase Cinema's in Orange, Connecticut. Or maybe it was because I was watching Sue Sylvester "Vogue."
I became distracted by my own recollection of my 1990 wedding reception, during which my friends and family were vogueing themselves silly on the dance floor. While I was lost in my memories, three of the main characters were on-screen preparing for what could be their "very first time." So it took me a few minutes to realize, "Oh hey, look at Rachel, Finn and Emma!" But as soon as I recognized what may be on the horizon, I was no longer lost in my past. I was seeing into the future. And it felt strange.
Suddenly, Glee was no longer Breakfast Club: The Musical. Suddenly, it became "Oh my gawd, my son might have sex in high school!" Don't get me wrong, it's not as though it hasn't crossed my mind before. It has; my husband and I have given our kids the 411 about sex -- commensurate with their age and stage in life. I am careful so as not to do wat my mother did to me -- give me information she thought I needed, only I did not need it when she gave it to me. Not sure what I mean? Please allow me give you an example.
Circa 1976. My mother is at the wheel of our Datsun F-10 station wagon. I've got the radio on as I listen to WABC-New York. Rod Stewart's "Tonight's The Night" is playing, and I'm singing along. My mother asks me a question, "Devra, do you know what it means to be a virgin?" Only I heard the question as "Do you know what it means to be a version?" I was in fourth grade. I thought the song was about a version child, evidently the sort of child who should stay away from windows and back doors. So when I told my mother, "I think so." She went on to explain, "A virgin is a woman who has never had sexual intercourse." Ummmm, okay, but what does this have to do with the song I'm singing in the car?
I wasn't ready for that particular nugget of song trivia, and for years I've made fun of her overthinking the song on my behalf. But now that I'm a parent myself, I have an additional perspective on that particular moment shared by mother and daughter. I totally get what Joni Mitchell was singing about; I look at life from both sides now. Sometimes I forget which side I'm on. This episode of Glee simultaneously gave me temporary amnesia and a date with destiny.
What I didn't see coming was the lightning bolt -- I could be Finn's mom! WHAM! I've just been picked up and dropped onto The Other Side. My 14-year-old son begins high school next year. Am I prepared for him to become sexually active? It seems like just yesterday he became textually active.
Eventually we all grow up, but this week Glee unexpectedly rocketed me about 20 years back and forth in just about an hour. Not an easy trip to make by any means, and I think I was emotionally spent far more than I ever expected to be during prime time.
It's your turn to express yourself. Did you find this episode brought back memories or brought forth worries?
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