Crazy to think how much controversy this song used to create, hmm?
Or, at least, I thought it did. I vaguely remember a buzz in the news, its subject matter apparently “in poor taste” or a choice example in the burgeoning frenzy of parental warning stickers and consumer ratings. It wasn’t exactly the first song to bring up female pleasure (hello, Cyndi Lauper, She Bop?) but it was certainly one of the more, shall we say, blunt and uncompromising descriptions, and somehow that made it wrong, or at least naughty.
Even more so, though, this was definitely a guilty pleasure song (with heavy emphasis on both guilt and pleasure) for thirteen-year-old me. I was, by that point, old enough to know what the lyrics meant, which made me feel Mature and Wise. But it also devolved into a sort of Catch-22, because with the wisdom (term used loosely) of pubescence came the knowledge that other people, like my parents, also knew what the lyrics meant, and worse, they would know that I knew, and then I would know that they knew that I knew, and from that point on I hid in my room.
Seriously, I did. I turned the car radio to a different station anytime it came on, I paused my tape or turned off the radio if one of my parents were to walk into my room while it was on. I just didn’t want to have That Conversation – you know, the one I had been forced to have a few years earlier when George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” was a Top 40 hit. That was awkward. But now that I had hormones and the like, I knew it could only get worse. Passing through puberty somehow shifts you the child from beloved, trusted individual to suspicious alien creature in ways that are not entirely clear, but seem largely to be based on fear that somehow your hormones will control your brain like those zombie ant parasites. And, of course, growing more and more gradually aware that those song lyrics you’ve been singing ever so innocently in front of your parents all these years actually talk about – gasp! – sex … well, that’s just cruel, isn’t it?
So, yeah, hiding in the bedroom was clearly the only possible way to survive. And it allowed me a modicum of privacy in which to listen to this song, and others, and make sense of the fact that I was in fact growing up. And this song, and others, allowed me to realize that women also had bodies and could take pleasure in them, and that that was not only okay but something in which to rejoice. I couldn’t understand the double standard that this song seemed to bring out in people, because why a song in which the female singer is experiencing pleasure *because she’s thinking about the man she’s in love with (or obsessed with, or whatever)* was vulgar but every other song sung by men about how much some anonymous woman’s backside inspired him to hump his guitar was perfectly fine … well, let’s just say I still don’t buy it, folks. So thanks, Divinyls, for giving me something to think about, way back in the day.
Also, I still want a pair of those thigh-high boots, Chrissy Amphlett. Rawr!