Monday, August 1, 2011

White Girl Anthem

I have recently developed a solid theory, and like all good theories – it involves 80s rock band Def Leppard. Specifically, their song Pour Some Sugar on Me. Last night I took a trip to Jiffy Lube Live to do some research and I can say, without question, Pour Some Sugar on Me is the unofficial anthem of the white female.

I’m sure many women immediately take umbrage to this claim and there are plenty of counter-arguments for more empowering songs. Aretha Franklin’s Respect, for example. Depending on your generation, you may choose Destiny Child’s Independent Women, or Helen Reddy’s I am woman. These are all fine arguments, but they do not apply here. I am not talking about an anthem we choose to represent ourselves. I am speaking of that irresistible urge that awakens in us before the music even begins.

Step inside, walk this way. You and me babe, hey hey!

It is like a hypnotic invitation that renders us powerless to sit still. The first few guitar riffs are like a dog whistle, capturing the attention of every white girl within earshot.

Love is like a bomb baby c'mon get it on
Livin' like a lover with a radar phone
Lookin' like a tramp like a video vamp
Demolition woman can I be your man
Razzle 'n' dazzle 'n' flash a little light
Television lover baby go all night
Sometime anytime sugar me sweet
Little miss innocent sugar me yeah yeah

By now, we’re moving our hips in circles like there’s a tiny hula hoop around our midriff. Again, we can’t help it. It’s spontaneous. Then comes the chorus:

C'mon - take a bottle, shake it up

Break the bubble, break it up

Now we’ve got the shoulders moving, arms are getting warmed up. Then, things start to get crazy.

Pour some sugar on me
Ooh, in the name of love
Pour some sugar on me
C'mon fire me up
Pour some sugar on me
Oh! I can't get enough

From the first Pour, the arms are straight up in the air and the pelvic thrusting rivals Elvis Presley. Lady lumps are swiveling and swaying every which way by now. Hips are out of control and showing off their inherent femininity.

I'm hot, sticky, sweet
From my head to my feet yeah

Okay, now you can’t get to this part without touching yourself in some way. Depending on how flexible (or just plain promiscuous) you are, you may have bent your knees and wiggled your way down to the floor so that your head is now where your waist used to be. Hands are automatically running up and down, hair is being tossed about… don’t even try to fight it. Shake out your hair like you're in a rock video.

Listen! Red light yellow light green light go!
Crazy little woman in a one man show
Mirror queen mannequin rhythm of love
Sweet dreams saccharine loosen up

You gotta please a little, squeeze a little
Tease a little more
Easy operator come a knockin' on my door
Little miss innocent sugar me yeah
Give a little more

At this point there seems to be a variation in the routine, depending on the individual. Some girls get even more into it; some take a breather and go back to more subtle wiggling. If you’re over thirty like me, you may be checking to make sure you didn’t pull any muscles before you continue on to the big finish. And here it comes…

Take a bottle, shake it up
Break the bubble, break it up

Pour some sugar on me
Ooh, in the name of love
Pour some sugar on me
C'mon fire me up
Pour some sugar on me
Oh! I can't get enough

I'm hot, sticky, sweet
From my head to my feet yeah

By now, you feel like the sexiest woman in the world and just to reinforce that, the fine lads of Def Leppard validate us completely.

You got peaches I got the cream
Sweet to taste saccharine
'Cos I'm hot, say what, sticky sweet
From my head, my head, to my feet

There is something about this song that makes the most inhibited of women feel sexy. It is maybe a little empowering to know that even little miss innocent can bring a man to his knees. I will grant you that my theory may be influenced by the fact that I was a pubescent teenager when I was first introduced to the magical music and perhaps it has skewed my entire world view to associate the song with raging hormones. But I don’t think so. And I’ll tell you why.

I witnessed this phenomenon myself at the Def Leppard concert last night. As soon as the music began, women in the audience were on their feet. The cameras panned through the crowd and every woman was doing same thing. They were shimmying their way through the very same dance that I was rocking out in the cheap seats. I don’t think we can help ourselves. I don’t find this song to be very danceable, but it’s an impulse to throw my hips around like I’m about to hurt someone with them. Sure it’s a catchy tune, but no matter how vast your dance repertoire, there’s only so much you can do with this song. Yet, we can’t resist but to react, and further the stereotype that white girls can not dance. The only thing worse for that stereotype is AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long – which is completely awkward to dance to and irresistible to many of my ilk.

So thank you, Def Leppard, for imposing this irresistible anthem. Thank you for once again coming to the DC area and reminding me of the careless days of my youth. Thank you to lead singer Joe Elliott for spending last night entertaining the masses, despite it having been only three weeks since your dear father passed away. Thank you Rick Allen for drumming with your feet and not letting a small thing like an amputation slow down your career as a rock star. And thank you Phil Collen for still having a smoking hot body at the age of 54. There are many things about the 1980s that we have to question in retrospect – Why did we dress like that? What’s with the bangs, and why did they have to be so tall? What the hell were we thinking?

There are many popular trends from the 80s that we will never fully understand their popularity. Def Leppard is not one of those things. They still put on a hell of a show in 2011, and they are responsible for an irresistible white girl anthem. Or at least I think so. It is just a theory.


policomic said...

Very entertaining. A similar thing happens to me when I hear the Glenn Miller version of "Little Brown Jug."

Anonymous said...

I was there too--right in front of the stage thrust--and my hips were 'movin baby!! Thanks for your article.

Paul said...

When I hear this song, I picture a woman slinking onto the stage and slitting open . . . a five-pound bag of C&H Pure Cane and dumping it over Joe's head.

Kathleen said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I appreciate you taking the time to read the blog. Poli, remind me to play that song the next time I'm in a room with you. Maybe we can do a Glenn Miller/Def Leppard mash-up!

Laura said...

Truer words have never been spoken. Amen, sister, Amen.