Recently, my friend Josh’s older sister Ashley came downstairs to the basement where Josh and I were figuring out chords to a new song. We are starting to play music together, and we were having fun just making up crazy lyrics and trying to do something with the six chords I actually know: C, E, G, A, A7 and D. You can make a LOT of songs with those chords– almost all of them. Anyway, she’s been taking classes at the University in fashion merchandising and told me that one of her projects was to do a makeover on someone who “desperately” needed it. She picked me.
While I guess I should jump at the chance to get some new clothes and play with my hair and maybe try some lip stain (?!) for the first time, I just didn’t feel right about it. I was in the middle of trying to find myself musically, so how was I supposed to know what my so-called image should be? She wasn’t interested in any of that and proceeded to tell me that my pink hair needed to go, my sneakers were out of date, and my t-shirts were ”not flattering at all.” Um, OK.
So I Skyped my friend Liz in Los Angeles. She moved there last year with her Mom who is studying yoga with this really important teacher. Her Mom is extremely flexible. Anyway, I trust her and asked if I should let Megan make me over even though I wasn’t really into the idea at all.
Then she proceeded to tell me about you… her hero. The more she talked, the more I remembered how great I think you are. People in Hollywood tend to fixate on the whole age thing, but I think what you’ve done in your career is just be yourself with your wacky clothes and your ability to go from an Oscar-winning performance in Moonstruck to bearing it all on a Navy ship surrounded by cute guys. I always had the sense that you honestly didn’t care what most people thought, as long as they thought about you. This is the job of a true entertainer.
Sure, there’s all that plastic surgery talk. But that’s your decision and I don’t think it’s anybody’s business to decide whether that’s a good idea or not. I think you tried to explain your preoccupation with looking a certain way by saying, “I think that the longer I look good, the better gay men feel.” That’s both hilarious and honest.
Liz told me that you gave her the inspiration to live with a certain amount of pizazz and integrity. You have a great voice and a total commitment to entertain, entertain, entertain. You are emotional, whimsical and tough all at the same time. That’s pretty unique.
So she told me to write to you to ask for advice. I am at the age when everyone seems to have a pretty specific opinion about what you should be doing in every possible facet of your life. It’s completely annoying and thoroughly unnecessary. I have a pretty good sense of myself, and I’m not sure why Megan is so determined to do this makeover on me.
So, my question is this: how can I tell Megan to leave me alone without, you know, being too rude. She seems so genuinely concerned and earnest. Megan is just a true blue “helper”– if you know what I mean. Plus, she can’t find anybody else to deconstruct and I think I might be her only hope. I’m stuck.
Maybe I could teach her how to cut out fabric flowers and sew them onto sweaters? I love doing that. That could be a fashion project, right? Or maybe I could show her my rainbow of sneakers and we could bedazzle them or something (not all of them, just the ugly ones). I would make that sacrifice. But I don’t think I’m willing to give up my whole, you know, look. I may only know six chords, and I may only own six different types of garments (socks, shoes, skirts, sweaters, t-shirts, jeans) but I can make a lot of different songs with those things.
Anyway, I’m glad my friend Liz gets so much inspiration from you and that I got a chance to write. She just e-mailed another quote from you that I really like, “I’ve always taken risks, and never worried what the world might really think of me.”
I think I’ll put on an Indian head dress and some go-go boots and blast “Believe” while I work out some of this nervous energy on the personal dance floor in my bedroom.