No matter how old we get, somehow the teenager within us finds ways to shine through. For me it was tonight, watching “Rock of Ages.” Was it good? Probably not. Could I turn it off? Not a chance in hell. Will I watch it again? Well, I might just buy the damn thing and I only own one other DVD.
You see when I was 13, I lost my mind over long-haired glam bands. As Journey would say, I was “just a small-town girl living in a lonely world.” When I discovered rock ballads and men wearing makeup and tight leather pants, my teenage heart nearly burst with possibility. I launched my own little rebellion.
Within months after discovering Poison followed by GNR and Def Leppard, every inch—floor to ceiling—of my butterfly wall-papered room was covered in Metal Edge posters. I’m sure my parents thought I had lost my mind—or started daring to say “yes” to drugs. I dressed all in black, started rock band scrapbooks, spent painstaking hours drawing—with a ruler even—a poster-sized version of the Hysteria album cover. I paid for Cable myself just so I could watch MTV! I couldn’t get enough, which is probably why in college I fell for a long-haired drummer, but that’s a different story. Dating one musician was plenty, but I couldn’t fully shake the long hair (my husband didn’t always shave his head).
Glam bands are still my guilty pleasure. Look through the music library on my phone, my personal laptop and even my work laptop, and you’ll find “Talk Dirty to Me.” It makes me smile whenever it pops up randomly. And I’ll admit it, seeing a long-haired 22-year-old in tight jeans (because no one would dare wear leather pants any more) is like seeing a species that went extinct long ago—it makes my heart skip a beat.
When I went to New York two years ago, I saw “Rock of Ages” on Broadway with a coworker a decade younger than me. I could barely contain my glee—and I am not a gleeful person. Given her comment that she was half expecting me to throw my bra on the stage, I suspect she thought I’d gone crazy. I didn’t care. I was too busy reliving my first kiss to “Here I Go Again.” My entire adolescence played out on that stage. Yep, I bought the T-shirt and the magnet.
So tonight, I finally watched the movie. I had low expectations and I suspect the movie is actually pretty awful, but it lit something inside of me that is inexplicable even to myself. I suspect that even when I'm 90 years old, those songs will still make me smile. They transport me back to 1987—the year I entered high school, when I was still naïve enough to be shocked by the look and the lyrics, the year before life started to get complicated. Glam metal was just edgy enough to take the edge off my growing teenage angst.
The angst is long gone, as are most of the other teenage obsessions. But this little addiction I can't quite kick, and so it's become the dirty little secret on my playlist.