Monday, March 23, 2015

Tramps Like Us

Now I'm the Boss

I grew up on Springsteen, the man they call the Boss, and from an early age I wondered what made him the Boss.

...And why does HE get to be the Boss? I want to be the Boss.

And so I made myself the Boss. I mimed every word to Dancing in the Dark, impersonated every thrust, replicated every saunter. I slicked back my hair, squeezed my breasts flat into a tight sports bra, and put on my just-baggy-enough jeans. Then I stuffed my balled-up pink panties in those jeans, snapped my fingers high and low and strutted around my bedroom like I was the fucking Boss -- I knew if Hollywood came knocking they'd ask me to play him in his biopic.

Now I just needed a woman. An object to complete my proverbial package.

The women he sung about often fell into three categories: beautiful, pure, unattainable, making her a conquest like Mary, Wendy or Rosalita, Or reckless and living independent lives making shitty choices like Candy, Terry or Kitty. Or 'loyal ladies' he ends up being stuck with like Mary in "The River". The women are objects, voiceless accessories to his vagabond life.

But I wasn't a Mary or a Candy or a Rosalita. I was Bruce. And it was just natural and I did it well, in fact I did it better than he did it.

Yet he taught me that if I wanted to be the subject I better act like one. The album cover of Born in the USA -- his butt; it was the subject. Nothing was being done to his butt, it was his butt that was doing the action -- whatever that was. (I'm sure a homosexual man would disagree with me there as this photo was pretty iconic to the gay community). But there it was, a hard sturdy butt holding up two legs. 

But back to his music. His songs romanticize wild adventures with damsels in distress, wealthy femmes, virgins, prostitutes and girls who 'belonged to' someone else. And these women hold tight to his leather lapels as he breaks-through adolescence into independence and freedom. Springsteen is a true tramp, and those women, well, they're just tramps. And no one ever asks Candy what she dreams about becoming.

There is no woman in the story of Dancing in the Dark but he needs one in order to truly exist and to feel alive. You need a woman to ignite that flame, otherwise you're just tired and bored with yourself. You need Love's Reaction. His stakes are high, he's itching to get out, pounding on the beat, trapped inside his dump of an apartment. Come on you schmuck, get it together. Grow a pair. If I had written that song, I would have changed the lyrics and made that gun get out and get hired.

Without a Mary, a Candy or a Wendy there is no song. There is no Springsteen. There is no man.

Springsteen taught me if I want to feel like a man, I better go out and feel a woman. 

But instead, as I grew further into adolescence, I became less of a subject like the Boss and learned like most girls do -- to be an object. Like Courtney Cox in that video. In fact I dance a pretty mean Courtney Cox.

And then when I was nineteen I met him. He rode a motorcycle, smoked way too much weed, could build a canoe with his bare hands and made apple pie from scratch. He was a tender cool rebel charged with lust, passion and faith. He too listened to Springsteen and I knew he wanted to be just like him. So if he was Bruce then I guess that made me Wendy -- and Baby, we were born to run. He let me in, he was my friend, and he guarded my dreams and visions, just like the Boss told him to.

As I go through life bouncing around from subject to object I've collected a roster of ways I express being a man, albeit secretly. 
  • When giving them directions, lean into the rolled down window, with one hand on your switchblade and one hand on your lipstick.
  • Pay for dinner 
  • Get your car washed before you pick them up. Wipe the crumbs and garbage off the passenger seat.
  • Let them give you directions.
  • Help them carry their baby.
  • Always drive them home and always wait for them to get safely inside.
  • Don't use your drill until you really, really have to and those screws just won't go in any further.
  • Take the garbage out, in the snow, without a coat.
  • On your first date take them to that dumpy pool hall, that one with the bad lighting and grab that table at the back. 
  • Help them reach something off the top shelf even if it means you have to use a foot stool.
  • Eat whatever they cook for you. Even if you've just eaten dinner. Scarf it down.
  • Strut through the doors of the subway car and always give your seat up for a child, a pregnant lady, any lady, or a man.
  • Buy them whatever they want from the concession stand at the cinema.
  • Use whichever bathroom you want, just to let everyone know you're the Boss.

No comments:

Post a Comment