“You wouldn’t like him so much if he were some everyday Joe shoe salesman with a tidy haircut,” my friend says as she tilts back a sip of sangria.
“Shoe salesman? Do they even exist anymore?” I counter, crunching on a baby carrot.
“It’s the rock star thing: guitar, cool clothes, crazy hair. It puts them up there, above the rest,” she explains. “Put him in a UPS uniform and he’s nowhere.”
I don’t tell her that I’ve witnessed some hotness in UPS-issue brown.
“Sure. I get it. If he were a shoe salesman or a delivery guy, I wouldn’t be swooning over his fitting skills, his hand truck prowess. The point is he is who he is because of his talent — looks or not,” I say, defending my undying devotion to Jack White, and the idea that we like musicians for their sound more than their looks. Most of the time.
Why must I do this?
If you say you like Justin Beiber, it’s assumed looks come before talent. If you say you like Marilyn Manson, I know it’s about the music. Or, maybe it’s both.
Even around this meeting table with food and wine, the women are split on the looks/talent vote for Mr. White among others. So, which is it? If you say you like Beethoven, no one says it’s because of his tight breeches or his crazy hair. It’s because he was a master composer piano virtuoso kind of guy. Most of us know Mr. B by his music, not his looks. Although this portrait piques my curiosity:
Intense. Edgy. Looks like he might throw you out of the theater for sneezing. I do like Beethoven. His ninth and fifth symphonies are booming, robust and, dare I say, a bit sexy? Would I like Ludwig Van more if I were able to watch him perform with that crazy hair and flowing ascot?
I think so. But, it’s not necessary.
So maybe my friend has a point. Would you know Beethoven’s music back in the day if you were not privileged enough to attend a live show? It’s not as if the local cobbler’s daughter was fantasizing about Ludwig Van next to the crank-up Victrola.
My friend says she knew Mr. White way back when and has nothing good to report about his demeanor or his appearance. She says she wouldn’t pay a penny to see him live.
“That may be true, but I don’t care,” I fire back. “I don’t want to date him or chat over coffee with him. I just want him to keep doing that thing that he does so I can listen and go to concerts. It’s about the musicianship.”
“Riiiight, the musicianship,” the other women purr, winking at me and laughing.
They don’t get it and I cannot figure out how to convince anyone otherwise. I remember when I discovered Led Zeppelin. I liked the sound way before I ever watched concert footage of Robert Plant’s sexy hair and tight pants. As far as I was concerned it was a bonus. Same with Robert Smith of The Cure. This was the pre-Internet era. If you didn’t religiously watch MTV or subscribe to music magazines, how would you know what any artist looked like? Album covers and liner notes don’t tell the story.
When I queue up The Cure on my iPod at the gym, I connect Smith’s searing whine with the face above, even though it’s more likely attached to this:
Yikes! How sad I am to see Mr. Smith is aging along with the rest of us, no longer able to rock the midnight hair and heavy makeup. Which, side note here and a lesson to both genders: heavy eye makeup paired with dark lipstick is no one’s friend after 40. Am I right?
If you ‘ve made it this far, forgive this random, pointless post. It’s five years of this blogging nonsense and where has it gotten me? No fame, fortune, or accolades yet. Just a well-worn cushion on the Internet. Carry on.