Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Crashing Champers Across My Sweaty B(r)ow

I will just come out and ask--am I the only person who, when faced with the retinue of perfectly NICE-N-NORMAL-looking eHarmony couples and the slightly fredrogersesque and plummy-toned Dr. Earl Jackie Haley Berger Warren whatever his name is who founded eHarmony in the commercials for said product, and thus having listened to their repetitive bleat about "deep compatibility on so many levels"--wants to go shag totally mismatched strangers? Commit one's life to Just the Wrong Person? Marry someone and spend the rest of your life hopelessly trying to make them different?

There is something in those ads that's so sort of...insular and smug in the ways that people often credit dating services with being even if they aren't, out of bitterness, that you just want to smack them upside the head and do exactly the opposite. Especially the perfectly nice couples who instead of brave and fun-loving look like they frantically-singled their way into some kind of relationship that will never challenge them.

I believe in deep compatibility, I just hate the phrase coming out of that dude's mouth. And WHY (??), to wit, WHY are the Dr. Phil ads for match.com focusing on Womenz??? Daydreaming "romantic" women who aren't being realistic about love runs the implication... Goddamn. I thought that myth got debunked years ago (not). Men are so much more the more functionally romantic ones in this life--a right reserved for the gender not usually first responsible for events like cleaning up kid's barf in the middle of the night.


There are a lot of ways to love Prince. Teary-eyed anthems in your headphones (“The Cross”); trance-y bass thumping in your bassiest places (“Automatic”); smirky, oblique, wry smiles that make you feel all de Sade and wicked (first three albums); loving life (“Raspberry Beret”), resigned to life but loving it (“Pop Life”), whatever. Whatever. Insert lil rock critic dissertation here of whatever annoyance level needed.

My favorite way to love this man’s music, however, is always in the realm of the spare. Bare wooden floors. Big open caesuras. Big spacious silent holes in the funky fabric that make the funk bigger. Nasty, spare, airy, daring songs. So I’m really in love with the new single “Black Sweat"--it’s hopped up into that category with "Lady Cab Driver" and "Irresistable Bitch" like it belongs there and seems pretty comfortable. Fuckin rocks. Those songs are always somehow the most offensive, it seems, too, but I don't always care. It's those daring, wonderful pauses! Those big open gaps! The plein air! That tiny little delay that makes your hips wonder: will the beat hit again?? And it does and you're riding the wave better than ever. Sassy.

The funny thing is the video... It's weird in ways videos aren't these days, partly 'cause it's Prince. The video girl (that much is like everybody else) is much more clothed, which is an equivocal pleasure but still noticable, and it's chic and stylish and B&W and all that. But he's so very passive in it. Stands/watches/moves his eyes around. Prince used to be the girl, man, the one we were all watching, dancing in the purple frilly stockings and the girly bits and pieces. He seems ill-equipped to also serve by only standing and waiting (as it were). The change in his demeanor is more noticeable because I didn't chart every development in recent years through Musicology--has probably been coming for a while, maybe just as part of his new subdeb ideals--but the video is a weird combination of thankfully strange old Prince, a little bit of tedious booty-poppin stuff, and now this tired new 40-something Prince or whatever it is. Maybe he's just too short. I mean, too busted for it - we wouldn't buy a big grand video where it was all scaled to look big against his 5'4"itude. So they scaled it down in every way.


My mortification threshhold is such that I saw little of the Oscars (but all of E!'s Fashion Special the day aftah--go figure), but I was thrilled to see the cut of JLopez's dress, which thankfully veered out of the realm of bias cut drapery and if I never see another of those nightgowns, too soon. A few other nice ones too. For some reason I even grooved on the large wad of fabric--the Mobius strip--whatever it was--on Charlize Theron's shoulder. I liked the very 60s makeup she had with it.

I always think about the line by E.F. Benson about a pink needlepoint figure looking like "a stick of white asparagus" when I watch the Oscars, because of all the skinny pink/pale women in flesh-colored dresses. It's all so...cranky. It's harsh (physically--very demanding) and uncelebratory and so...well, white, to sound racist. Sometimes it's nice, but basically it has felt like another Fashion Test they're all trying to pass in recent years, all those armies of white asparagi toddling swivel-stepped down the runway...


Sad today about Dana Reeve, Kirby Puckett and Gordon Parks. Good golly.

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