"I just ran into this group of girls," squawks a pudgy wet-curl outside the St. Pete Times Forum, speaking even louder then the tragedy that is her Buffy the Vampire Slayer tattoo. "They were talking about Simon's package in his jeans. I was like 'whatever'. I mean, if they were talking about Simon naked, then we might have something to talk about … hwah, hwah!"
No. No, we wouldn't.
So you're gonna have to work with me here. Despite all natural tendencies otherwise, I am devoid of both irony and intelligence on this week's subject and on this subject only (OK, not really) and for that I beg your forgiveness. No matter how much I want to over-contextualize this particular situation, diminishing every neuro-blip currently littering my personal aura into a barely-audible hum of insignificance dripping down my leg, I cannot. I (cough) believe in something. And that something, my patient reader, is Duran Duran.
You can turn the page now. Too bad I can't.
When I was a little girl, fingering Sun-In through my hair to the combined hiss of a blow dryer and Casey Kasem's lower registers, the points of my sacred latchkey pentagon bore the names of Simon, John, Nick, Andy and Roger, each representing a distinct step in my queer progression. I wanted to be plowed by Simon while doing my hair with Nick. John would willingly massage my fingers while Roger stuck his tongue between my pinkie toe and the one next to it (my ring toe?). Andy, sadly, would have to leave the room, because Andy was never cute. I, like many fat girls in broken families, was unapologetically obsessed.
Whereas most people my age have long since shed their coping mechanisms for the more reliable social lubrication of alcohol and drugs, I have taken this one with me all the way to menopause, increasing its severity with occasional cocktail splashes and amphetamine dusting. To lose Duran Duran would be like losing a purple, paralyzed limb; like drowning in a desert. They … sniffle … are the only family I've ever had … or at least the only family I've ever wanted to sleep with. I am a fucking idiot.
I'm seeing Duran Duran twice this weekend once in Tampa, once in Jacksonville because I can. Lukewarm on the heels of their 27th comeback album, Astronaut, the reunited fivesome are kicking off their arena tour here, hitting every town in Florida except the one where I live, probably because they know better. So my similarly taste-challenged friend, David, and I have booked a clinical suite in lovely downtown Tampa to initiate our devolution proceedings.
We spent the day trying to acclimate ourselves to the titillating street beat of the burgeoning metropolis, wandering numerous one-way streets to nowhere and stopping for a moment to eat at the only restaurant we find open on a Saturday afternoon, an eatery painfully called Got Pizza. Because they do. They have pizza. But not just pizza. They also have a collection of glossy, framed placards all over their purple walls.
"Omigod, don't look now," I cringed to David. "I think we've been caught in a Eurotrash dance-music themed restaurant trap."
"I think I'm going to be sick," oozed David like so many calzones in Tampa before him. "I think we need to get you a drink."
By the time we hit the periphery of the arena, having survived a peculiar Tampa cabbie who thinks that he might have trouble actually reaching our destination and therefore drops us off halfway there, I'm drunk and depressed due to overconsumption of cheese.
"Merchandise!" I scream, before hobbling my way over to the merch counter and dropping $200 on T-shirts and a pop-up tour book. A pop-up tour book! Genius!
And just as I think that everything is going to be OK, my personal consumer holes duly filled with more cheese, I find myself seated 10 feet from the ceiling of the Forum, nosebleeding like Duran Duran is still popular. So, with all the flair this situation implies, I try to dance my way through my Reflexes like a Wild Boy who never loses it, hoping against hope that if I close my eyes, I will fall from the sky and on to Simon LeBon's package. And then it happens.
"Sit your ass down, you fucking asshole!" booms an unexpected chorus from behind. All of a sudden, I'm in eighth grade again, just waiting for kickball to end so that I can catch a cheap glimpse of those dressed-out dressing back in. I hate everything. Mom!
The next day, I pick up another straight friend who should know better, Stephen, and head up the I-95 trek for Jacksonville. I'm determined to make this experience a better one, as I've actually obtained floor seats and will not be relegated to the bullpen of drunk husbands dragged along by their fat wives.
Outside the Veterans Memorial Coliseum things aren't looking too good, though, as a gaggle of displaced mothers and their overweight gay hairdressers loiter around the loading area checking their shiny 1984 tour jackets for moth holes. But overall, Jacksonville, still fresh from its Super Bowl debut, comes off as a significantly more palatable clime than last night's Tampa travesty. By all appearances, they have more than pizza.
Still shell-shocked from my self-perceived gay bash the previous evening, I'm wary of the cute beauhunk next to me, wife in tow. He is positively difficult, 7 p.m., slow-dance dreamy, and I'm fearing for my well-being, saving a prayer till the morning after. As if by some freakish accident of fate, he turns to me halfway through the show (and in between some extremely entertaining bouts with an air guitar) and screams, "This show is amazing!"
"Fucking great!" I add the cred that only an f-bomb can imply.
By the time the Durans are punching through "Rio," all of my preconceptions have completely unraveled and fluttered to the floor. John, my steamy beauhunk, throws his arm around me and starts bouncing up and down, and in no time we're staring at each other frantically, hollering the a throwaway chorus of "doo doo doo doo doo doo doo" into each other's awkwardly sweaty faces and imaginarily making out.
Wild boys never lose it.