Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Type

One Direction fever has hit our house. Quite unexpectedly, I might add. Just one month ago, Gabby and I were driving to Panera, and that song about being beautiful just the way you are or whatever the hell it is came on the radio and Gabby joked that it was by this band One Direction and they were from England. I kinda went, "Oh, ok." And then she chortles and says, "They're basically like the Beatles. Except without the talent." And we both laughed and she turned the radio down and told me some story about putting this creepy doll in unsuspecting people's lockers. Oh, kids these days!

Then, the next thing I know, she's turning the song up when it comes on. And then she asks me to tivo SNL when One Direction is playing. "Why do you want to watch that?" I ask. "No reason." is the reply I get. And then this pops into my mind:

And I'm all like "YOU LIKE ONE DIRECTION, DON'T YOU?!?!"

Gabby admits that she does, and I'm just straight out guffawing that my daughter, who is so hung up on appearance and trying to cultivate an air of difference and wisdom (characterized, mostly, by taking the most twee, most instragrammy of instagrams). She then starts defending herself, coming at me with stuff about it being "catchy" and them being "talented." But we all know that it is something else. Because we both know she didn't give two shits about One Direction until she saw them and discovered that they are attractive young British people. And then, well, then they became "talented."

And, as with most things in life, I am conflicted on this. Or maybe conflicted is not the right word. I really could give two craps about who my 13 year old daughter finds attractive (unless it is, say, The Night Stalker or Rick Santorum or something). But I think back to that volatile time in my own life and consider who I found attractive. Billy Corgan. The specter of Kurt Cobain. Eddie Vedder. Basically any long haired boy in flannel. I remember being attracted to their looks FO SHO, but also to the perceived "depth" of these artists. The little bit of sadness, the little bit of instability. That's what I liked, that's what kept me in breathy anticipation of their next move.

I've mentioned it on here before, but I cultivated quite a fantasy life at that age, mostly about what my life would be like as I "grew up". I always saw myself as some kind of writer, living in a grungy New York City loft with a long haired artist type. Usually the artist type was more hair and sadness than anything else. He usually played guitar and his favorite writers were people like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. He was the kind of guy who nested in dirty clothes at night. That, my croquembouches, is what I aspired to.

And I won't totally say that I've gotten over it. Not totally. Matt jokes that if I say I am attracted to someone, you will soon find out that they have some sort of addiction issue and/or have recently been confined to an institution. Matt, himself, all these years past the gleaming 14 year old vision I once saw him as, was once described by a mutual friend as "edgy bright"- a guy who is not totally comfortable with himself, his intellect or his world. I was reading an article about David Foster Wallace earlier this week and I read a quote and thought to myself, "Holy crap! That sounds just like something Matt would say." And then I realized. My husband has a similar worldview as a dude who struggled with addiction his whole tortured life before finally succumbing to suicide. Fuck.

I think a lot of women in my generation have this issue. We were raised on MTV, images of grunge Gods in our hearts, and now we flock to the motivationless, bearded, flannel wearing gentlemen around us, attaching ourselves to them like so many bad tattoos of sea creatures. They speak of projects and no paychecks and they, by and large, are very, very depressed. And we lap it up, like milk out of a dish, because there is a dream in there. A dream of a 13 year old, staring solemnly at a guy with a guitar and seeing open roads. Somewhere.

So when Gabby tells me that she likes One Direction, sure, I find it repugnant. Have you heard that music? Shit! It's shit! But part of me hopes that she will keep this sunny, Simon Cowell approved vision of masculinity for a while. I could deal with having a son-in-law who, you know, sleeps in a bed. Like a normal person.

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