But, save for a pride of hasty cubs eager to point their golden sex in my rough direction, there are only two things I can think of that might advocate 40.
These are (a) an increased supply of memories and (b) a decreased tendency toward passionate interest.
Now, of course, everybody goes on and on about the passions of youth. And I can certainly understand the case for youthful passion. But, as I age, I am quite taken with my lack of willingness to attach to things immediately. My new disinterest actually gives me a little more time for thought.
Except when it came to GaGa.
My enthusiasm for GaGa evolved, or rather didn’t, a little differently. That is, passion came first and rationale second. I am quite capable of developing new interests. Slowly. More recent interests include: the technological singularity, digital freedom and marinated anchovies. I would say that my interest here borders on passion. But, the passion was prompted only after discussion and thought.
GaGa happened without any thinking at all.
One day, I was at the gym on the elliptical trainer coaxing my body into a shape more suitable for receiving the jizz of hard-bodied 18-year-olds. Before me on the television screen was the promotional video for Poker Face. As I am very short-sighted with non-correctible vision, I might not have bothered moving up to the rowing machine for a second look at GaGa had it not been for her brickbat rip-off of Peaches, the rudest woman I’ve ever met, and references to Texas Holdem, the only game of skill in which I’ve ever enjoyed moderate success.
Anyhow. The GaGa Faithful, or the Little Monsters as LaGaGa prefers to know us, need no exegesis of this art. Needless to say, me and my short-sighted eyes were all immediately won.
In short, here was the most beautifully constructed bit of vision I’d seen since I Don’t Know When. I was particularly tickled to hear the phrase, “I’m Bluffin’ With My Muffin” and I was returned immediately to an extreme youth where I passionately wrote horrible essays at Sydney University about Madonna, performance and feminism. Or, “performativity” as we Judith Butler fans of the early 1990s liked to say.
For the first time in forever, I wished I was young again. I knew that if I was 18, I’d devote myself utterly to reading the “text” of Lady GaGa. How could a young feminist academic even begin to resist analysis of “bluffin’ with my muffin”? Here was a burlesque refugee using the (broadly disputed) “fact” of her genitals to bluff. GaGa’s clear lack of knowledge about the rules of No Limit Holdem aside, if I was 18 again, my head would have been reeling with the promise of cultural studies funding.
What the fuck, I asked myself, was not to love about Lady GaGa? She was transgressive, post-ironic and irrefutably, wonderfully Queer.
Anyhow. I went home and told S All About this New Artist. Of course, S, long a devotee of Leigh Bowery style performance and a former Club Kid, knew all about GaGa. This gave me the shits for a moment. Particularly given that S, my girlfriend, is also a bit younger than me.
I got over it and together we enjoyed regular GaGa worship for the next several months. This pleasure was, in fact, much more visceral than intellectual. We are both so identifiably Gen X; she a techno stalwart, me a 3rd wave feminist. So I think we were each too entranced by the way that GaGa seemed to embody the different promises of our youth, viz. the autonomy of dance and the unleashing of the feminine, that we never really discussed her more than to say, “wow”. We couldn’t.
And then. Telephone. Shit. I mean. Fuck.
By 2010, my girlfriend and I had each come to our individual, historical appreciation of Queer. So, we were beside ourselves last Friday when within the first thirty seconds of the video the rumor that Gaga has a penis was evoked. We delighted in a trans-gendered world penned, in equal parts by Tarantino, LaChapelle and Michael Jackson. And FUCK when she kissed that person, who turned out to be the rather remarkable performance artist, body builder and half-trans man-boi Heather Cassils!! Well, I very nearly wet myself.
You know, this shit makes Madonna’s Justify My Love look like a Jonas Brothers clip by contrast. Here, “other” sexuality is normalized to the degree that even the all-American Beyoncé agrees to set off into the sunset with Gaga.
What can I say? Nothing, mostly.
Even erstwhile “dissident” Camille Paglia was stuck for something to say when confronted by GaGa. The woman who was ALL OVER Justify My Love 20 years ago could only mumble some nonsense on the topic in salon.
Clearly, I am still prey for adolescent passion when the conditions are right. Clearly, I have barely begun to organize my thoughts about the spectacle of GaGa. (For, let it be said, who really cares about the music?)
Now, you can read my half-assed attempt to contextualize the power of GaGa in a newspaper of quality. A piece commissioned, as it happens, by a woman who inhabits my 40 year increased supply of memories as the former partner of a former room mate who once let me sleep on her sofa.
Despite the fact I came home at 8 in the morning reeking of the rough sex I’d had all night with someone called Wally on a pool table at a dirty house in Moonee Ponds.
The fictional suburban address, it should be noted, of Dame Edna Everage.
You see? Queer informs our every action. Lady GaGa knows that.
And that is why I love her with all my hard 18-year-old remaining parts.