Belt It Honey

The jacked up week continues! Nothing too dramatic, just feeling disorganized and so sleepy. I don’t sleep much, which I somehow cope with (I really don’t understand how I can function on the amount of sleep that I get and I wonder that if I did somehow solve this and get a full 7 hours of sleep a night I would unlock a bunch of latent energy and brain potential and become Hillary Clinton or Oprah or at least some sort of librarian kingpin or something), but this week Nordic Boy isn’t sleeping much either and so between the two of us it is Sad Sack Terziak times (hi weird reference that really doesn’t make much sense but I am TIRED leave me alone). Both of us just about cried when our CSA box arrived yesterday because it meant that we didn’t have to drag our sorry asses to the grocery store. It’s just sort of reached a dumb point.

Anyway, I feel like I should say something about Whitney Houston because what could be more pop culturey than Whitney Houston? I am not feeling particularly cogent this week but I will say that growing up in the 80s means that you were most likely bathed in a Whitney halo at one point or another. I had her first album on tape and tried to squeak along to it as best I could and she was wearing this tangerine chiffon sarong dress on the cover and I just thought she was so freaking elegant. I remember loving all of the songs except the last one, a duet with Teddy Pendergrass. Sorry, Teddy. When I got into high school I was in a rabidly competetive choir (honestly the level of exclusivity and pressure was completely ridick now that I think back on it, but somehow I didn’t mind it then) and there was lots of auditioning for stuff. You had to audition with a solo to get in to the dang choir in the first place, and then there were singing tests, and then there was endless auditioning for solos. Any remnant of my being afraid to sing by myself in front of people was blasted to little itty bitty pieces by the end of 10th grade. You’re welcome, future karaoke audiences. Anyway, my audition go-to song was “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line, because I am a HUGE NERD, but the cooler girls among us always did Whitney songs. Auditions were always open (no singing by yourself just for the teacher, always sing in front of everyone) so we got treated to Whitney wannabes one after another after another. That takes a lot of balls, when you think about it. An audition is about trying to impress, and thinking you have the pipes to belt out a Whitney tune is making quite the statement about what you think you can do.

My all-time favorite Whitney-related memory was when I was in 10th grade. Our spring choir concert was one where you auditioned your favorite pop song, and if you were good enough, you got to sing it with a for-realsies professional band. I didn’t audition that year, I don’t think (seriously, the auditions just blend together after a while, I’m surprised I wasn’t busting out an audition song at my dentist’s or whatever), but if I did I didn’t make the cut. My not-so-secret crush, who I had code-named Taco (worst crush code name ever), was a senior and one of the stars of the choir. He was also dating one of the female stars of the choir. They had just finished starring in our musical, Guys and Dolls, where we all got to lasciviously watch them make out on stage as Sky and Sarah, which just about KILLED ME, they were so perfect. Anyway, rumor had it that they were going to audition a duet for the spring concert and we were all wondering what it would be. And then they whipped out, and I so love that this was the song they chose, of all songs in the universe: If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful, by Whitney and Jermaine Jackson.

Can I get a hells yes? Because…just…hells YES.

It’s so sappy, so dorky, so not cool. Like, even then it was not cool. Whitney was cool, but that song? Of all songs? OY VEY. I sort of love them so much in retrospect for choosing it and being so balls out about it.

The other weird choice about that song was that Taco-ette (sorry I don’t have a code name for her) was an awesome singer, but she was about the least Whitney-ish singer ever. She had more of a Julie Andrews situation going on. A belter she was not. But for her last performance with her man, she wanted Whitney.

I remember the night of the concert, and them singing their song (of course they were one of the last songs of the night, big finale style), and looking at each other, so earnest it sort of hurt to watch it. I remember that the very last note they sang and held, his voice actually cracked a little bit, which never happened to Mr. Perfect, and I wondered if he was getting choked up singing it, or if he just had a bad note for once. I don’t really know which it was.

I know I sound like an old fogey, nostalgic for the past, but I can’t help it. I loved that dude in a total Jordan Catalano sort of way, just with so much teen fervor in me, and I was so envious of him, and her, and their song, and their uncool ardent cheese. And what I love most about it is that Taco-ette, who had coasted all through high school singing like Belle from Beauty and the Beast mixed with Kathryn Grayson, really actually just wanted to belt it to her man Whitney style when the big moment arrived. And really, who wouldn’t want that?

One comment

  1. I decided to listen to "If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful" while reading your post, and it made thinking about those teen lovers all the better. Fantastic, really.Also, I tell you, if you get The Mentalist on DVD and pop it in when you can't sleep — you'll be snoozing within seven minutes. Nothing against The Mentalist or Simon Baker; just that it really has helped my sleep.

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