Prince


Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 1.20.24 PMA few months ago, Prince performed for two nights in my home town. It had been decades since I had seen him in concert. My heart did an extra bump. “I should get tickets!”  And then I did nothing about it. “It’s probably already sold out; scalpers tickets would be a fortune; I’ll skip it this time.” He came and went.

Little did I or anyone else know that there would be no more “next times”. Prince had taught me many important lessons. One of them was to “party like it’s 1999”. I had forgotten that one, and many others, as time passed and  I grew more serious.

When his film Purple Rain came out, I went to see it without any big expectations. Two hours later, when I walked out of the theatre, it felt like my DNA had been rearranged. (The other two times this happened was when I first saw Cher on television and when I heard Queen’s album Night at the Opera or Day at the Races, can’t remember which but instantly fell under Freddie Mercury’s spell. That white unitard, c’mon! Yes, I am secretly a gay man.)

Fortunately I look good in purple. Because, after watching Purple Rain and then buying up all Prince’s albums, I wore a lot of it for the next decade. When I wasn’t dancing myself into a sexed-up sweat to his music, I studied his lyrics for wisdom, (“If the de-elevator gets you down, punch a higher floor”). And, yes, I imagined making love to Prince under the barn roof, the horses wondering who we were, thunder drowning out what the lightening sees and feeling like a movie star. (By the way, another one who died too young,  Warren Zevon, did a stellar version of Raspberry Beret.)

Prince came into my life at just the right time. He offered up a heady mix of spirituality and sexuality and a joyful but not too innocent embrace of life. Just what a young, frisky, and a little bit soulful girl wants to hear.

Like any passionate love affair, this one was programmed to burn out. His music still moved me but I no longer sought it out. My purple wardrobe—satin jacket, suede ankle boots, sequin scarf, rabbit hair fedora, and sparkly pantyhose—had long ago been disbursed to vintage shops and charity drives. Whenever I remembered some of my fashion get-ups from that time, I had to shake my head. Did I really walk around all pimped out like that? Prince and I were exactly the same height, (actually I’m half-an-inch taller), but whereas he looked cool with his sleek black pompadour, I probably looked ridiculous with my frizzy red hair and rosacea cheeks.

I’m sorry I didn’t bother to get tickets to see Prince when he was here last. I thought I had all the time in the world. Tomorrow there’s a screening of Purple Rain at my neighborhood rep theatre. More than three decades have passed since I saw it. I’m not that girl anymore. And Prince is gone. I’ll wear a purple flower in my lapel. Thank you Prince. R.I.P.

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4 thoughts on “Prince

  1. Michelle

    Rita I’m quite sure that any purple you wore was done with your signature grace and style. Great lesson there for all of us to remember not to put off what matters or take anything for granted. Seize the day!

    Reply
  2. Nora

    Funny, I thought of going the last time he was here. Izzy was coming home for the weekend and I thought I’d surprise her with tickets to Prince. In the end, she decided to bring a friend home with her and I felt that buying a $300 ticket for someone I didn’t know was a bit much. So I dropped the idea. I’ve been thinking the same thing this week: don’t put off what you want to do because there might not be another chance. Great entry. Sad week.

    Reply

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