the hefty dose of ROCK helps the nostalgia a bit

Last night my girlfriend Jennifer took me on a date that was twenty years overdue.

I remember the first time I heard a Def Leppard song.  I was 11 and with friends at the Harborena, our little roller skating rink here in Hoquiam home to a hive of villianous packs of eleven-year old boys who will hate-cut you, so watch out.  The crunchy guitar and reverby bombastic drums intro of “Pour Some Sugar On Me”* during All-Skate held me entranced. And the song just got better as I listened, smutty lyrics and all.  I couldn’t really believe how much I liked what I was hearing.  And I had to hear more.

My then-best girl Jen and I went on to become Def Leppard fans.  I mean, really big fans.  I wore their band shirts every day I could and at age 12 dyed my hair black. My bedroom held all the band posters I could find.  At Jen’s house we watched VH-1, MTV, the rock biopics you could get at the record stores (remember those stores? they sold tapes and CDs and stuff). We sang together, the same songs, over and over – we lip-synced them on top of her windowseat in the little bedroom of the house on Karr Street.  While other girls my age were stalking NKOTB I was delightedly bouncing on the couch belting out the impossible rock-screech falsetto notes in “Photograph” and it must be said, about a thousand-percent in crush with Joe Elliot, the lead singer who sounded American enough but in interviews and a few lines of his music revealed his meltingly-cute Sheffield accent. And it wasn’t just that I felt like I was in love with the singer of a rock band.  I wanted to be in a rock band.  I wanted to be able to belt out that music, bending backwards with a fist pumped in the air, wearing tight jeans and a long fierce mullet.  I really did.**

Last night for the first time ever Jen and I finally saw the group live at the White River Ampitheater (a pleasant enough locale – but I can’t recommend it since it had terrible acoustics). Jen and I spent a wonderful few hours together. We don’t talk about rock and roll videos any more; we talk about our husband, families, children, and friends.  But we sang along at the top of our lungs and we had a great time.  And you know…  I felt – sitting on a grassy hill with the summer sky large above me, fragrant and expansive, pulling me against gravity – I felt so very sad that it had taken me this long to see the band.  I almost missed out entirely.  I guess I “grew up” in middle school and realized it wasn’t cool to like hard rock, or it wasn’t what other girls liked, or maybe I just got into the real boys to be found a little more locally, but I’d left it behind and thought the whole thing kind of silly until last night, when I was overwhelmed with the memories of how much it had meant to me way back then before I lost so much of my sense of self.

And I was too far away to throw my panties on stage.  But I liked thinking about it – you know, a nice, respectable pair of cotton knickers sort of floating down like a little cozy blanket.

Thank you for the rock and roll, boys.

* The cut-up band t-shirt and uber-shredded jeans – which Jen and I absolutely drooled over as young teens, and I made a pair for myself in seventh grade, before I lost my fashion authenticity for many years – is not the only sartorial awesomeness donned by Mr. Elliot in the signature video.  I had forgotten the athletic shorts with the 1″ inseam and the charming little black bolero jacket.

**P.S. I did, in fact, marry a rock star.

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