Monday Morning Quarterbacks of the 80s, Strike a Pose

5 years ago

Judging from my Facebook Newsfeed, you're either in one camp or the other this post-Super Bowl Monday morning.

You either loved Madonna's halftime performance show during last night's Patriots-Giants game, or you're among those expressing yourself that she of Like a Virgin fame would be better off endorsing Geritol than gymnastics. Personally, I kind of liked seeing Madonna last night, and her show. It was downright refreshing to actually a) know the performer and b) understand the lyrics of the songs he/she/they were singing. Can't say that has always been the case.

That being said, I did spend the majority of the halftime performance explaining to my 10 year old twins that the woman on the stage was, in fact, NOT Lady Gaga.  Betty and Boo refused to believe me, and they were even more bewildered at the notion that said woman was quite popular back in the ancient times when The Husband and I were teenagers.  (They don't believe that the woman they watched cavort with gladiators is really 53; Betty believes Madonna is "around 30," a statement which instantly aged me about 30 years.) 

Still, I'm finding these Madonna-naysayers fascinating this morning.  (And, I gotta admit, the naysayers are mostly female.) Yeah, she seemed to be moving a little slower than she did back in 1985, but as I'm eating my daily heart-healthy, fiber-laden breakfast of oatmeal and yet again procrastinating on calling my doctor about the insurance snafu with my cholesterol-lowering statin medication, I'm thinking ... aren't all of us children of the '80s moving a little bit slower these days? 

I mean, I'm wearing trifocals as I type this post. A friend my age (42) has already had a hip replacement. A high school friend just finished a round of chemotherapy.  The other day, I went to a breakfast meeting and took the stairs to the conference room; after three very small flights, I was so out of breath I thought I would need to be resuscitated via the defibrillator hanging on the wall.

So is this "what a drag it is getting old" agita what's really behind all the backlash against Madonna this morning?  I think it might be. Because if Madonna's the icon of a Breakfast Club generation that now finds itself ordering Egg Beaters off the menu and adding statins to one's pharmacological lineup, then doesn't it make sense that we become grumpy as hell when we see our teenage years on display and it looks a little off-kilter than the image that we have of ourselves in our minds?

The Material Girl then becomes an easy target for us Children of the '80s Now in Our 40s. Rather than us collectively saying, hot damn, how awesome is it that Madonna has kept herself up and can actually keep up that pace during a halftime show at 53 years old, and would that we all had that kind of stamina and energy at her age (hell, at this age) ... instead we're chastising her for being too slow and robotic during her performance, saying she doesn't have it anymore, that she's washed up, a has-been, has hit the wall. 

Isn't that what we're all afraid of becoming?  Isn't that what we're afraid we have become?

So whether you liked Madonna's performance last night or not,  I give Madonna credit for doing last night what she has always done, for decades now. Putting herself out there. Not giving a damn what anyone thinks. Expressing herself. 

And showing us apprehensive Gen Xers that while we might be getting old, if we take care of ourselves, chances are the coffin's not going to be nailed shut at 53. (Although, sadly, we know that's not always the case.)

Quite the contrary. Sometimes, at 53, you can even still make a hell of a memorable entrance.

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