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the effect of britney spears on household chores
music was a passion, but i was distracted by fashion
by robert a. melos

Having read a few music reviews on sites around the net, and having felt older and more out of touch with the music scene with each review I’ve read, I figured I’d try to get in touch with the current scene once again, as I had been back in the day. So tonight I decided to watch the Showtime broadcast of the Britney Spears concert live from Miami.

Okay, actually I had the television on while I was cleaning out my closet. You see I recently purchased several hip and trendy suits, the kind with jackets that come down to mid thigh, the kind that wouldn’t be caught dead being made out of anything more natural than polyester, the kind of suits that cost a bundle unless you buy them at a small suit shop in a local flea market where the salesman is always “giving you such a deal,” or giving me a deal just because he likes me.

If someone were giving me the kind of money I handed him for these suits, albeit a great deal when I priced similar suits in the International Male Catalog, I would like them too. Anyway, I digress.

As I was emptying my closet of several years worth of clothing, finding suits and jackets and shirts I haven’t worn in more than a decade, discovering that several items have come back into style and still fit me well enough to pass for the latest trend revisited, I listened and occasionally stopped to watch Britney Spears gyrate about the stage. As I piled up my “to give away” pile and my “that’s a keeper” pile, I thought about how much I missed the music of my teen years.

Yes, Britney Spears strutting about in frilly pink silk panties and heels reminded me of Madonna, only without the talent. So while I decided to toss out several shirts that I really liked but either made me look fat or simply didn’t fit anymore, or the couple with unidentified stains on them, I pined for the music of late 70s and early 80s.

The concert itself was mildly entertaining, at least the parts I bothered to watch between searching the pockets of old suits I was giving to the Vietnam Vets, and discovering I hadn’t worn a couple since some relatives funerals in ’90 and ’92, but it wasn’t entertaining enough to really hold my attention.

It seemed to have a ringmaster, or a warped clown figure tying it together with witty banter and clever innuendo between segments. Britney was energetic, and, well, energetic. She did manage to joke about her recent nuptials asking if the audience felt lucky. If they did, she quipped, she just might marry them. Oh the laughter. Wait, no. I wasn’t laughing at Britney’s little joke. I was laughing at a shirt I’d found, wondering what was going on in my mind back in 1982 when I bought it?

That’s right, 1982. You see I’m the anti-queer-eye-guy. I know the rule is to clean out your closet every fall, and if you haven’t worn something in a year you toss it, but as I’ve stated earlier clothing does come back into style. My criteria for discarding clothing is as follows:

If it is flannel it goes. I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought something flannel, unless I was in a grunge rock phase, and I was never in a grunge rock phase, so it must go.

If it is itchy or scratchy it goes. I try not to buy itchy and scratchy clothing, but every now and then I slip up and inadvertently purchase something that looks great in a catalog or on a shelf or rack and later on discover it itches or scratches, and it never gets worn. Alas, some very good-looking items get tossed because of itchy and scratchy material.

If the clothes don’t fit, if they are too short in the sleeve, too tight across the chest, somehow have gotten too tight around the waist (no doubt due to shrinkage), then they too wind up in the “give away” pile.

The final criteria for “giving away” is ugly clothing or clothing I was given for birthdays or holidays by well meaning but tasteless friends and relatives. Again, flannel and anything plaid and/or paisley falls into this category. Also anything pink. I may be a gay man, but that doesn’t mean I’m pretty in pink.

As I built my piles of clothing, tossing shirts hither and yon, I thought back to the concerts of my youth. I didn’t attend many because I couldn’t afford them, but I did manage to hit on a few.

I saw Meatloaf twice, and each time he was interesting. Watching him build scenes around the songs was more like watching a play than a concert. Don Henley was not a choice, but a gift from a friend and the concert wasn’t terrible because his guest artists were Marilyn Martin and Glen Frey, but watching people just stand rigid on stage singing doesn’t always do it for me. I’m just not a big Henley fan.

Now Stevie Nicks was great because Boz Scaggs was her guest artist, and hearing a live version of Lido Shuffle made it worth the price of admission. Neil Diamond was great without a guest artist because I knew all of his songs. Yeah, I am a Neil Diamond fan, what can I say? And the final tour of Paul McCartney and Wings was a must because, well, it was Paul McCartney and Wings.

There were a couple other concerts in there that have vague memories for me. The Elton John and Billy Joel concert was great mostly because of the contact high you could get from all the pot being smoked in the arena. And I have a vague memory of a concert in Giant Stadium in the Meadowlands. I don’t remember who performed at that concert, but I do remember sitting all the way in the very top of the stadium, not liking the heights and hating the fact that it was getting cold and beginning to rain toward the end of the concert. I vaguely remember lots of pyrotechnics. Now don’t quote me on this, it might’ve been a Kiss concert.

Anyway, as I cleared out my closet to make way for the new, and rethought some of my “give away” pile selections because, well, you just never know when they might come back into style, I fondly put away my youthful memories, decided Britney Spears is today’s Lulu, and realized how boring household chores really are. I don’t know how Martha Stewart and those Queer Eye guys can be bothered to do this kind of closet cleaning every fall. I really don’t. Face it, I couldn’t get up enough energy to do it until spring, and then I only did it because I was running out of room in the closet.

So I guess from this you’ve learned I have eclectic taste in music and am a clotheshorse. Or possibly you’ve drawn the conclusion I have little taste in both clothing and music. But being that taste is subjective and one man’s Mozart is another man’s Meatloaf, it is very possible I’m a Versace guy in Gap world.


Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos


juli mccarthy
3.29.04 @ 6:10p

Little fashion tip from a dyed-in-the-all-natural-alpaca-wool-slash-angora fag hag: if you're old enough to remember the last time it was in style, you're too old to wear it now. Throw it out!!

tracey kelley
3.29.04 @ 6:25p

EXACTLY. I love teal mini-skirts, and looked good in them in 1987, but that doesn't mean I should wear one now.

Which is a shame, really. 80s fashion was definitely stupid and fun.

rachel levine
3.29.04 @ 8:48p

Fantastic. Funny. I wish Britney would inspire me to clean house too.


robert melos
3.29.04 @ 9:59p

I too like teal, but not in a mini-skirt for me. One of my big wardrobe problems has always been the fact I can't bear to let things go. Certain fashions just don't work for me, and never did, but when you run across a very generic black shirt that you know was purchased circa 1980s, and it is still in good condition because it got lost at the back of the closet for so long, you sometimes just can't let go.

It didn't help that my taste in clothing was influenced by rock stars of the early 80s.

I decided not to age gracefully after seeing some of my relatives do so. I'm the ecentric type who will be in leather pants when he 90.

tracey kelley
4.1.04 @ 10:41a

Notice my post on the boards about still having fuschia slouch socks? The April Fabulous pics remind us of that oh, so innocent time.

I almost feel wasteful when I clean out my closet. Like I should have been more diligent wearing certain things or something. And working from home means that you keep clothes twice as long as you should, and that's most definitely not a good thing.

russ carr
4.1.04 @ 11:30a

Lulu was way better than Britney.

robert melos
4.1.04 @ 5:53p

A dead cat is way better than Britney Spears.

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