The David Bowie Bulge Misunderstanding
Seeing Jennifer Connelly in Top Gun: Maverick (which was fucking awesome) brought up lots of stuff. She's one of those actresses who has continuously popped up at different points in my life, providing some semblance of inspiration. When I was in college, I saw Requiem for a Dream, one of the movies that made me want to make movies, for the first time. Last week, seeing her, slightly gray, standing next to a silver Porsche on a tarmac was a stark reminder that I'm about 7 years away from my midlife crisis.
Needless to day, I'm growing old with Jennifer Connelly.
What I was a kid, maybe five or six years old, I was introduced to a little film called Labyrinth. It was my first introduction to Jennifer, who was instantly one of my first crushes.
I was also introduced to something else.
Hey, I know I'm not the first person to make reference to… you know… that thing in Labyrinth. Not the puppets, or the set pieces, or the puzzles and such. For all of the Jim Hensen magic and genius, the thing that gets brought up the most in that film, is the graphic bulge in David Bowie's spandex.
David Bowie was a sexual icon. I know it. You know it. That was no secret. I identify as straight, and while I have no sexual desires towards men, I do find myself attracted to them at times. Another example is Prince. Purple Rain is simultaneously the best and worst movie I've ever seen. Even in the worst moments, where Prince is slinking around jumping out of his skin with sexuality and uttering unconscionably abominable dialogue, I still find myself fanning my face.
Other examples of men I find ridiculously attractive: Oscar Isaac, Clive Owen, Keith Hernandez, whoever is playing Batman, George Clooney (but certainly the fuck not as Batman), amongst others.
As you can see, my types vary.
So back to David Bowie's bulge in Labyrinth. As a child, I had no idea who David Bowie was. The only band I remember listening to in the car with my Mom (dad always listened to sports radio), was Queen. I was a Freddie Mercury kid. Bowie was a mystery.
Now I will introduce another actor into this conundrum - Jamie Lee Curtis. Straight-up icon. Queen. Halloween is my favorite horror franchise. Trading Places is my Christmas morning movie every year (and, yeah, another sexual awakening movie for me too).
I didn't start watching those movies till I was a little older. Right before I watched Labyrinth for the first time, I watched this little film called My Girl. If you've never watched My Girl, DON'T. I'll spoil it for you - my hero at the time, Macaulay Culkin, plays a sweet little boy who GETS STUNG BY A BUNCH OF BEES AND DIES. There. That's the fucking movie. Talk about childhood trauma. I just did you a fucking favor.
In addition for learning about death at a way-too-young age, I was introduced to Jamie Lee Curtis.
I want you to take a moment and look at this side-by-side comparison:
Now, while it isn't exact to the adult eye, let me remind you that I was no more than seven years old.
When David Bowie first takes the screen in Labyrinth, I saw the person on the right. I thought, "there's that nice lady from My Girl, who was sweet to Thomas Jay BEFORE HE GETS STUNG BY A BUNCH OF BEES AND DIES.
Then I saw this:
Reader, you're smart. I don't have to explain what happened here. But I will anyway. This is what I thought a vagina was for... a long fucking time. It wasn't till about 6th or 7th grade, when my friend stole a magazine from his older brother and we took it into the woods for me to find out that, well, I had a lot to learn... or unlearn.
I will say, stopping myself from saying "that's not a vagina"as the magazine opened was not easy. As young boys do in middle school, we all would sit around and lie about having had sex before. Usually with some mystery summer camp romance, some girl who lives next door to grandma's house on Long Island, an imaginary girl from the neighborhood who goes to a different school, etc.
So, as I talked about my own imaginary girlfriend, and the eleven or twelve times we fucked before (I still hadn't figured out how to masturbate yet - I thought semen came out of the penis like a large strain of piss and I didn't want to get it on the low ceiling of my bedroom), I had an internal crisis as to what the fuck my assumption was the whole time.
Here I was, in a circle full of boys who were seeing their first vagina while pretending they had the sex lives of rock stars, feeling like a fraud. I was having sexual imposter syndrome, all because of a movie where David Bowie's bulge acts with a bunch of puppets.
The internet was not really a thing yet, so I had to do some serious research as to how the wires got cross there.
I soon learned that Jamie Lee Curtis was not, in fact, the star of Labyrinth.