I Would Die 4 U: 10 Dating Lessons From Prince’s Purple Rain

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A few weeks ago I was in Los Angeles, alone with no plans on a Tuesday night. When I checked the movie app on my phone and saw that a screening of Purple Rain was playing at LA Live, I bought a ticket without thinking twice. A few hours later I was sitting in the dark with my fellow Prince fans, watching the late, great, Purple One come alive on screen. We sang along, laughed in unison at the awkward moments and some of us even danced in the aisles. My Mom and I are big Prince fans, so his passing ten days earlier hit us hard. But, that night I felt pure joy and gratitude – like all of us were in this together.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, Purple Rain follows “The Kid” (Prince) a young, talented musician, tormented by an abusive situation at home. When The Kid meets Apollonia, a beautiful, aspiring singer, he has to contend with a burgeoning romance, a rival singer and his own personal demons. The movie itself is a bit goofy (it was made in 1984 so there’s a lot of eye-liner and stilted dialogue) but the musical performances are utterly flawless. As a cultural artifact, it’s a beautiful thing.

Originally I planned on writing about how Prince’s music has affected my life – how songs like Little Red Corvette provided the soundtrack to my sexual awakening and how seeing him live for the first time in 2011 made me believe in the healing and transcendent power of music – but, I’ve already covered that ground. So, I’ll say this –

Ladies and gents, we need to talk about Purple Rain.

Watching Purple Rain again as a sex and relationship writer, I couldn’t help but remark on some of the important things the film can teach us about modern love and dating. So, in an effort to keep things light, here’s a few of my favourites.

1. No one likes a lurker.

Well, unless that lurker is Prince. Generally, I would say that lurking awkwardly behind a woman, wearing sunglasses in a darkened night club is not a good move. Neither is disappearing into thin air as soon as she turns around and says, “I really liked your song too.” But, Prince makes it work.

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In fact, there are a lot of dating moves in Purple Rain that are a bad idea, like stealing a woman’s jewelry or having sex in a room filled with clown dolls (Don’t worry – I’ll  get to that in a minute.) But, what you need to understand is that different rules apply to Prince.

 Because, Prince is magic. 

 

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2. Eye Contact is everything.

Before there was Facebook, Tinder and sites like flirtfair.ca, singles relied on smoky bars like First Avenue, awesome guitar solos and eye-contact to impress the opposite sex. Lots and lots of eye-contact. Prince is king of the sex stare. The way he looks at Apollonia is so direct it’s almost unsettling, but it lures her (and us) in anyways.

FYI, I attribute Prince’s sex stare to why I spent most of my twenties serially dating really intense dudes with big brown eyes.

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3. Beware of men who play with puppets. 

Although Prince’s vampire mini-me is kind of adorable, there’s something a bit creepy about guys who use puppets to express their feelings (pro-tip: I wouldn’t recommend adding “ventriloquism” to your Tinder profile.) But, because it’s Prince we also let this one slide. Just remember – you’ve been warned.

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4. If a guy asks you to “pass an initiation” and “purify yourself in Lake Minnetonka”- keep your clothes on.

Take it from Apollonia – it’s never the right lake. Also, when your boyfriend drives off on his purple motorcycle and you’re left naked, without a towel, it’s a real bitch getting back into your leather pants.

5. Stay away from Morris Day (&/or guys like him.)

Sure, Morris Day is really good at dancing “The Bird” and manages to keep his light coloured suits really clean despite spending most of his working hours in a bar, but his character in Purple Rain is bad news. First of all, he has some of the best/worst/creepiest pick up lines ever.

For example, “Your lips would make a lollipop too happy” (shudder) and everyone’s favourite, “I have a brass waterbed.” Morris, that doesn’t even make any sense, but if I had to visualize your bedroom it would look something like this. (photo credit)

BrassBed

In addition to mentioning his bedroom furniture, Morris also tells Apollonia, “I’m going to make you love me” which, he attempts to do by opening his white coat and repeatedly thrusting his pelvis while making bird noises in a darkened alleyway.

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You know, all totally normal stuff men do to attract beautiful women. I think Apollonia’s expression says it all.

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Failure to stay away from dudes like Morris means that you may find yourself cornered by a pelvic thrusting lothario or literally, thrown in a dumpster. However, unlike in the movie, a guy in high heels won’t show up on his purple motorcycle to save you.

Instead, it’s all about the strategic nipple flash.

If only Morris Day knew. If you feel like you’re losing your girl, flash a nipple. It worked for Prince. However, it also doesn’t hurt if you sing a knee weakening rendition of Beautiful Ones while you flash said nipple. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to go take a cold shower.

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6. Closed mouth kissing is weird, dude.

My sister and I rarely see eye to eye, but when we watched Purple Rain for the first time together we were in agreement about one thing: “what is up with the kissing?” Prince is/was an incredibly sexy human being, but he kisses Apollonia like I used to make my Barbies kiss my lone Ken doll. I’d mash their permanently closed mouths together and move their heads around a bunch (probably because my only point of reference was Purple Rain.)

For the record, I’ve dated guys who wouldn’t open their mouths or relax their lips while kissing and it’s frustrating. I can’t help but watch this movie and think, “relax your lips” – especially since Prince’s lips are a work of art.

I want to believe the reason for this comes down to shyness. As a musician, maybe Prince was uncomfortable with the love scenes? But, then there’s the bed scene where Prince clearly gets a handful (and then some) of Apollonia (cue: cold shower #2) so, I don’t know.

In the words, of Prince, “Purple Rain, you make me so confused.”

7. Remove all clowns from your bedroom (Unless you’re into that. Then, carry on.)

We also need to talk about the clowns. Prince’s character in the movie lives in his parents’ basement. Inside his living space we see the following: music stuff, some pseudo Warhol-esque prints, canning supplies and clown dolls.

His movie bedroom kind of reminds me of the summer I spent dating our neighbourhood’s weed dealer – a guy who also had a finely honed sex stare, lived in a dingy basement suite and collected plush tigers (which, almost seems less creepy, but not really.) There was a period in the 80’s when these clown dolls weren’t considered totally terrifying. We are no longer living in that era. TLDR: if Bae’s apartment looks like a casting call for a miniature circus, run.

The clowns of Purple Rain

8. Parents give really grim dating advice.

When Prince’s movie Dad tells him, “never get married” my heart breaks a tiny bit – partly, because this is a really heart-wrenching moment in the film but also because I’ve heard similar advice from my own relatives. While they likely have good intentions, it can be incredibly disheartening to hear these kinds of things from our parents. It’s also important to keep in mind that none of us are destined to repeat their mistakes.

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9. But, sometimes we repeat our parents mistakes anyways.

Sometimes we really are like our father/mother (too bold/never satisfied) and we end up repeating the same relationship patterns we witnessed growing up. This becomes abundantly clear when “The Kid” slaps his girlfriend and then struggles with his feelings during a montage set to When Doves Cry.  But, here’s the thing – regardless of our past, we’re all capable of having healthy relationships. In order to get there though, we need to sort through our personal shit first. Whether that’s through an epic guitar solo or psychotherapy, we all have emotional baggage that we need to unpack.

10. Relationships are weird and wonderful.

If aliens were forced to watch Purple Rain, I’m pretty sure they’d think it was a weird movie – because it kind of is (remove all of Prince’s iconic musical performances, and you’re basically left with the plot line of a horror film where a socially inept dude lives in a basement, makes a lot of really intense eye contact and pops up places he’s not supposed to be.) But, for those of us who are familiar with Prince, watching Purple Rain is pure love. In fact, Purple Rain is a bit like any relationship. Moments of joy and beauty are interspersed with truly cringe worthy ones and shit you just can’t explain (like weird kissing, puffy shirts and clown doll collections) but that (for whatever reason) you adore anyways. We accept the imperfections, because taken as a whole, it’s magical.

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Rest in Peace, Prince.

 

Because, California is Always a Good Idea

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 8.10.16 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-28 at 8.10.36 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-28 at 8.11.10 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-28 at 8.26.06 PMThis is a quick message to let you know that Skinny Dip is officially on a belated Spring Break. I’ve been working on a new, exciting project for the past month (which, I look forward to sharing with you in the near future!) and on Monday, I’m heading back to Los Angeles for two weeks.  It’s my first real solo trip in years and I’m really excited.

So, while I have so much to say about books and love and Prince (oh guys, last week was rough), it will have to wait until I get back (or maybe not. Perhaps I’ll get a lightning bolt of inspiration while in the City of Angels.)

Until then, just know that I miss this space and you guys. Joe the Intern will once again be joining me on my travels, so in the meantime, make sure you follow our adventures on Instagram at simone_paget and joe_the_intern.

xox

S.

Late July: When the Curtain Falls

Every love affair has it’s own soundtrack.

For every relationship I’ve had, there’s music that I’ll forever associate with that person. Sometimes it’s just a song, other times it’s a full album. For example, “Now” by Maxwell  is an album that will always remind me of a complicated relationship I had in my early 20’s. From the heady, giddy moments of courtship, to the complicated middle and traumatic the break-up – each song from that album has a specific meaning to me and it’s hard to listen to it without thinking of that era of my life. Music makes us feel things deeply and has the power to bring us back to a specific time and place with just a single chord. It’s also what helps us get through when things fall apart. A lot of songs have specific memories associated with them:  I still think Maxwell’s “Changed” is one of the best breakup songs ever. Whenever I hear the Rolling Stones sing “Wild Horses” I turn into a sniffling, teary mess. And I can’t listen to  Jodeci’s “The Show, The After Party, The Hotel”  without bursting into hysterical laughter because I once spent 6 hours having sex to that album on repeat and can’t think of anything more ridiculous than making love to a band that was known for performing in matching full-body leather outfits.

Anyway. Where was I going with this?

Oh yes! Love! Music! Feeeeelings!

My singer songwriter friend Nicole of Late July has released a new album called When the Curtain Falls. You may remember Nicole from previous adventures such as the Night of Sausages and Sombreros and that time we were on a reality TV show. When Nicole’s not blogging, playing with her super cute dog Charlie or fending off bizarre men, she makes music. When the Curtain Falls is a collection of songs about love, relationships and finding your place in the world. Maybe it’s just because  I know Nicole in real life and we’ve shared so many stories about our lives with each other, but listening to her album feels really intimate, kind of like you’re sneaking a read of someone’s diary.

My favourite song has to be “Not your Lover” (a perfect, self-affirming post-break up song) followed closely by the title track “When the Curtain Falls” – a song that really captures that feeling of when a relationship is over…but not really over.

The songstress in action.

Because it’s Skinny Dip’s 3 year anniversary and because Nicole is a nice friend, she’s offering all Skinny Dip readers the opportunity to download 3 songs off of her new album for free! To download the teaser, click here.

And yes, that's her real hair. I'm totally jealous.

If you’re in need of a new soundtrack for your life, Nicole is also giving away a hard copy of her CD to one lucky reader. I might even see if Nicole could autograph it for you! woo hoo!

To win you just need to:

1) Comment on this entry & tell me one of your favourite songs (BTW, this can be any song. If belting out Rupert Holmes’ “Pina Colada Song” in the shower every morning is what gets you going, I want to know about it.)

2) Like Skinny Dip on Facebook (if you’ve already done so – awesome!! Thank you!)

Get an extra entry every time you tweet:

“Hey @by_simone I want to win a copy of @LateJuly ‘s new album “When the Curtain Falls” http://su.pr/7XRI4e ”

The giveaway will run until end of day on September 18th.

As always….

Good Luck & thanks for reading! xox

Meet My New Lady Hero: Janelle Monae

Remember how I mentioned that I was going to see Janelle Monae last Thursday?

Well, Thursday rolled around and I was having one of those days. I should have been excited about the concert but instead I woke up feeling lethargic and uninspired. That morning, while bending down to grab something that had fallen, I somehow managed to bash my tailbone on the edge of my desk (an injury that hurts. like. a. bitch) When my friend came to pick me up for the concert, I had a big purple bruise right above my butt crack, my mouth felt really weird inside because I’d eaten too many salt and vinegar rice cakes the night before, and my house keys were nowhere to be found. When my friend confessed that she had lost her wallet earlier that day, I realized between the two of us we were about one personal disaster away from sounding like the opening chorus of an Alanis Morisette song.

With that said, there is something really inspiring and life affirming about seeing good live music. Especially when you get to see this lady totally rock out and put on a killer show in your hometown:

Janelle Monae Victoria BC

Janelle Monae

As a total soul and R&B junkie, I’ve been really fortunate to see most of my favorite acts live at least once (Maxwell, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Alicia Keys, Common, PRINCE – to name a few) and I’d say that 99.9% of the time they are even better in concert. Janelle Monae was no exception. As soon as she got onstage, I immediately forgot my trivial problems and was swept away, as she sang her out out, danced and moon-walked across the stage like she was channeling the souls of Michael Jackson and James Brown, and took possession of the audience with kind of intensity and finesse that you’d expect from a performer twice her age. She did all this while wearing her signature tuxedo and gravity defying pompadour. Simply put, she was incredible.

Her opening act, Roman GianArthur  – a soul singer and guitarist- also totally rocked out. He reminded me a bit of a younger, more Gospel tinged, Prince. It only took about half a song before we totally forgot about his questionable necktie and deep v-neck combo.

Roman GianArthur. We're not sure what's up with the neck-tie but your music is sexy.

Walking out of the concert (after a standing ovation & several encores), my friend and I were speechless. We did however, manage to articulate this:

“Wow, I feel so much better!”

Janelle Monae healed our case of the bummers!

Later, as we were walking towards my friend’s car she said:

“You know what I like about her?”

“She’s different!”

“Yes, and she’s really sexy but…”

“She keeps her clothes on!”

“Yes!!!”

It’s true, Monae was recently quoted in an interview that she wears her signature tuxedo not just for stylistic reasons, but because she feels the need to set a good example for young women and this means forgoing the typical revealing costumes that are often worn by female performers. In a world where it seems like a lot of mainstream women performers are wearing less and saying even less, it’s refreshing that there are artists out there who are looking to change the game and actually sing about interesting things, for example, inter-human-android love affairs and time travel like Monae does.

To quote my other hero, Liz Lemon: "Janelle Monae, you are my heroine. And by heroine, I mean "lady hero." I don't wanna inject you and listen to jazz."

This experience made me realize two things:

1) Janelle Monae is kinda my new hero.

2) When you’re feeling uninspired, one of the best things you can do is just get out. Meet a friend. Interact with the world. If you’re lucky, go experience some kind of art – whether it’s music, painting or something entirely different – it has the potential to heal what ails ya.

3) Two of the most rocking shows I’ve seen recently – Prince and now this show – have occurred in my “sleepy” hometown…which leads me to believe that maybe this town isn’t so sleepy after all.

Who are some of your favorite female performers? How do you re-energize yourself when you’re feeling uninspired?

All I Wanted for Christmas Was Prince

… and I got my Christmas wish!

Last Saturday my Mom and I went to see the Prince Welcome to Canada Tour in Victoria. Seeing Prince live has been on my bucket list for about 2 decades so when I found out he was coming to Canada (and my hometown!) I knew I HAD to go. However, due to some other financial commitments (and the fact that I always do everything at the last minute), we put off buying tickets. By the time we were ready to purchase tickets, the show had sold out of all the affordable seats and the only ones left were in the $175+ range – definitely way outside of the budget of a freelance writer & her mom. One of my personality quirks is that once I have my heart set on something, I don’t easily take “no” as an answer. Late Thursday night, while we were sitting in the living room, feeling disappointed, resigned to the fact we would not be seeing Prince, I decided “There has to be a way!” I whipped out my laptop and started cruising craigslist for tickets. By Friday afternoon, I had tracked down two awesome, discounted tickets and my Mom & I were in her mini-van driving half an hour outside of the city to pick them up. All I can say is that it was so, SO worth it. Saturday was such an amazing night and probably the best concert I have ever seen.

Just to be clear, I’m a child of the 80’s so I’m talking about THIS Prince:

Not this Prince.

(I am not familiar with Will’s musical skills however, I’m sure seeing him in person would be cool…. just not as cool as the Prince I saw.)

Cameras and photos weren’t allowed during the concert but I managed to snap a photo of the stage before the show. It’s shaped like the “symbol”!

We were only about 40 or 50 feet from the stage which meant we could see everything. I’m pretty sure the last concert I went to with my Mom included a rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus” so, when Prince opened with the song DMSR (Dance, Music, Sex, Romance)  and busted out lyrics like “Girl it ain’t no sin to strip it right down to your underwear”  it was awkward to say the least. However, that quickly subsided and my Mom and I settled into a show that was nothing short of amazing.

Originally, I thought I was going to write a full review of the show but I changed my mind. If you’re interested, Mike Devlin from my hometown newspaper wrote a great review which basically echoes my exact feelings about the experience – you can read it here: “Prince in Victoria: The Best Concert I’ve Ever Seen!”

I will say this though: Prince is an incredible performer that really knows how to captivate a crowd. Something magical happened that night. It only took him a couple of bars of music to whip the residents of my sleepy seaside town (best known for its mellow hippies, reserved government employees and retirees) into a full out music frenzy. People were standing up, dancing, waving their hands in the air. I’ve never seen my town so…alive.

Not that much happens here – we’re located on a island & we’re usually off the regular concert circuit, so a concert like this was “an event”. I think some people were at the show just for the sheer fact that something. was. happening. For example, the guy who was seated next to my Mom told her “I’m not even familiar with his music but when I heard he was coming to town, I knew I didn’t want to miss it”

[My town has since caught Prince fever and you can’t buy a single album anywhere. EVERYWHERE IS SOLD OUT OF EVERY ALBUM. I discovered this last night while Christmas shopping. It’s like we’re living in 1985 all over again]

My favorite moment of the night happened near the end of the concert. As Prince started to play “Purple Rain” thousands of bits of purple and gold sparkly paper shot out of the stage, filling the whole arena and making you feel like you were inside a Purple Rain snow-globe. It was beautiful. Maybe you just had to be there.

I honestly believe in the healing power of music. My Mom and I have both had a rough few months. Looking over at my Mom throughout the concert and seeing her smiling, dancing & waving her hands over head was one of the other highlights of the night. We both desperately needed this.

2011 was a year that started off rough and included lots of twists and turns- both good and bad.  I’m really happy that I got to end the year on a high note: listening to one of my favorite artists, with my Mom by my side as purple sparkles rained down on us.

FYI. My Mom and I caught a few pieces of “Purple Rain”. Don’t expect to find these on ebay anytime soon. I’ve already decided that I’m going to save them forever & ever & ever.

 Purple Rain. It heals what ails ya.

What’s your favorite concert moment?

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