No one ever told me the facts of life. I know for sure that my mother didn’t, and my friends didn’t know any more than I did. So I just pieced it all together (inaccurately) based on teen-party movies like Animal House and Porky’s and Bad Company songs. Unfortunately, though I laughed along like everything was fine and hilarious at the stupid movies, they actually made me feel dehumanized and objectified, not that I knew about those concepts then. All I took away from those movies was that the girls all looked stupid and the boys all looked like jerks and it was my mission to not be stupid or preyed upon by a jerk.
It was the Bad Company songs that made me suspect that the whole birds and bees thing might not be so horrific after all. Of course, sex and love being the lyrical backbone of rock ‘n roll, Bad Company was not the only band to sing about eros, but they did so in a particularly enticing and convincing way – in such a way that even those of us traumatized by Porky’s and its ilk just might be open to re-considering the whole thing.
Which leads me, of course, to the church youth group I was in as a teenager. In the years just before I was old enough to be a part of the group, there was a big brouhaha over how much freedom the kids should be granted. There was espionage and intrigue, fighting and backbiting over issues such as the boys’ long hair and whether guitars should be permitted. By the time I was in youth group, the more liberal-minded faction had won the battle and we were allowed not only to have guitars and hair, but we were permitted to play our own music at retreats, campouts, “fellowships”, and so forth. It was a major victory for rock ‘n roll. Trust me.
However, in retrospect, this may not have been the wisest decision. You play “Feel Like Makin’ Love” around a campfire – you’re gonna create a completely different vibe than if you’re all singing along to “Kum Ba Yah”. So you know what happened, right? Every youth group social event turned into a make-out-fest. The whole thing reached its crescendo on a youth group bus trip to Colorado, and then came crashing down around our hormonal feet when one of our members got busted in a very compromising situation in the stairwell of the retreat lodge. They flew her home and laid the smack down on the rest of us. Boys on one side of the bus; girls on the other. No more rock ‘n roll. No more B.C., B.C. No more Straight Shooter. They played country music at us instead. Really, though, looking back through the lens of adulthood, it was for the best. Trust me.
Things got back to their normal level of teenage weirdness, rebellion, and angst after that. But we did make up a song on the way home to the tune of the “Yellow Submarine” refrain about our experiences. It was really long, but here’s a little that I remember. It had to be relatively clean, because we all sang it together at the top of our lungs and the leader had now established some actual authority and we were afraid of getting flown home like our fallen comrade. Names are changed, of course…
We all live in a Greyhound bus, a Greyhound bus, a Greyhound bus.
Mary Ashcraft sure disgraced us, sure disgraced us, sure disgraced us.
We got a leader that’s a big kill-joy, a big kill-joy, a big kill-joy.
Country music really just sucks, really just sucks, really just sucks.
And so on, ad infinitum.
But we’re adults now. We don’t have to laugh uncomfortably at Porky’s, we don’t have to listen to country music if we don’t want to, and we can listen to Bad Company unhindered. Now turn on your little light and prepare to rock steady.
Yeah, I know I linked this song in a previous post. But this one’s different. It’s got white jeans, smooth moves, and a hairy chest. Besides, you know you feel like hearing it again.
I believe my soul is still on fire for this song.
Questions? Comments? You’re my spinster cousin and want to express your shock and dismay? Please share!