Love is Vegas.
Not the party city itself but the decision to fly there impromptu, a decision made in a hasty chat conversation with one of your best girlfriends while you’re still sitting alone in the office at 8 p.m. eating noodles out of tupperware.
Love is being a grown-up with the good fortune of having a job and enough savings and independence that you can take off and go to Vegas whenever you want.
But even if you don’t have enough savings, being a grown-up still rocks because you can stay out all night if you want, eat pie for dinner and put off chores for a week. You can wear ballet shoes and dance in your room till morning with no one walking in. You can even photograph the aforementioned pie after a few bites, then spend an hour on a Tuesday night editing the photos while listening to Madonna. Come on, giiiiirls … do you beliiiieve in loooove? Cuz I got smm to say about it.
Love is being grown-up enough to understand what someone like Madonna has given your generation. She’s done the work for you, and you just sit back and enjoy the fruits of her labor. Like so many others in the past have brought you here, woven a bridge out of love so you can step on it and get across. They built the foundations, they grunted and withstood the load on their way up the ladders so that you can sit here, now, and enjoy the view.
I honor those people too, our shared ancestors, but tonight I pick Madonna. Dooooon’t go for second best, baaaby. Don’t. Express yourself. Respect yourself. I love the song. Love her. Girl power was born thanks to her. Nobody likes Britney but she’s able to do what she does best because of Madonna.
I can’t imagine what a hurricane she was wherever she went in the DOB (aka Decade of Brilliance — none other than the ’80s, of course). She changed people’s notions about women, showed the truth about the female body, put herself out there and used her own body as a vehicle to liberate the women of future generations.
She showed everyone that we’re not just Barbie dolls, content to smile and look cute, but we’re women — with yes, sweetness, yes, tenderness, but also more sensuality than you can handle, buddy, and plenty of excitement. And filled with desires too.
In truth, we’re just as fiendish as men. And that’s that.
My knees were pulled together tight, the bag of tupperware laid on my lap. I sat on the train at 9 p.m., and looked around absentmindedly, thinking about what to write tonight.
I was on top of the world, feeling the kind of high you get after a crazy-stressful day that has seen the end of a long project — the happiness that springs from the comforting thought that tomorrow life will be back on its track, and you’ll be able to do your regular work at the pace you love.
I noted the feeling as I felt it and relished it more. It was a simple emotion, a sheer joy of sharing a train with others, a celebration of life as it is. I thought of what a wise friend said today, about thinking of the people in your life as their essence, not as the history you have with them or the degree of influence they have on your self-esteem.
And so I thought of them, the people in my life, excluded the facts surrounding them and pictured them as they are, with the traits that make them them. I thought of the strangers on the train like that too. And suddenly I wanted to write about the whole world. I wanted to write about the silent old Chinese woman that stepped off at 49th. Or the couple in their 40s sitting across from me, his beard greying and her hair starting to look dowd — yet how beautiful they were, how engaged and connected as they leaned in toward each other and shared a laugh.
At 59th, a girl walked in wearing shorts and workout gear. Her legs weren’t sexy, but they were bare, and out there. Yet nobody cares, because this is America. It’s all free. I tried to picture myself watching her from an Afghan’s perspective. I would want her stoned. I tried to imagine I was from the ’50s. I’d call her a slut.
That’s when I knew I had to write about Madonna. She’s freed our minds! She’s allowed us to wear shorts, and choose to make love or have sex or plenty of both and write about it unashamed. You know, you know, you know, you got to!
Love is the here and now and being grateful. Love is freedom, and freedom of expression.
Love is pie: