I remember the day clearly. It was a nice early summer evening actually. J and I retreated to our screened back porch to chat, surf on our iPhones and have some wine after Daniel was in bed.
“I have a confession to make, ” said J suddenly.
I looked up from my Twitter feed. “Huh? What?” I said.
“I like Lady Gaga,” he told me, sheepishly.
I was silent for a moment. “That’s ok, ” I replied, thinking of my former penchant for romance novels.
Honestly, at that point, I didn’t know much about Lady Gaga or her music other than she was known for outlandish outfits and was very popular. Something about a Poker Face or Paparazzi?
It turns out that J was downplaying his affection for Lady Gaga. A few songs turned into buying entire albums from iTunes. Next he was listening to her interview w/ Howard Stern over and over and texting me about her upcoming Thanksgiving special with Katie Couric.
Then he declared himself one of her “Little Monsters” and proudly displayed his affiliation on his car:
I wasn’t sure what to think. Not being entirely out of touch with popular culture, I have a few of her songs on my iPhone. I looked her up on Wikipedia. I’ve watched the video of library school students doing Gaga. She still seemed so weird.
J and I talked about it a lot. It turns out that he is able to see beyond the meat dresses and pyrotechnic bras to see the weirdo underneath, and I use that term affectionately. J and I may look like normal, boring people who do yard work, cook pretentious dishes and like nice things, but underneath all of that, we are freaks at heart. We can identify with not fitting in and not wanting to hide who we are.
I’ve thought a lot about Lady Gaga (WTF?), and forget Britney and Cristina. She is the true heiress to Madonna, only she is what Madonna was trying to be 30 (!) years ago. Madonna pushed the envelope but I wonder how truly different she was. The overt sexuality cheapened her message. Lady Gaga is different. She is very talented, yet she walks to her own, very different drummer. I can respect that. Thanks to J’s affection for Lady Gaga, I’ve come to appreciate her and what she’s trying to do. Lord knows if she were going for sheer sex appeal, she wouldn’t pick the outfits she does. She’s a role model with whom I feel comfortable and would be comfortable for others to emulate if they understand who she is. Go beyond the wild outfits to understand the misfit underneath.
Maybe I’m a bit of a Little Monster too.