It’s a Friday night in 1999 and my boyfriend Jeff and I are lounging around, paying vague attention to some non-MTV music video show. Suddenly, a pulsing beat (not unlike one of those horrible MIDI files web-dorks have been embedding into their angelfire homepages) kicks in and the cutest/sluttiest school girl in pigtails is baring her midriff and gyrating her pelvis in a gymnasium. I’m mesmerized. SPELLBOUND, you might even say.
“Who IS THIS?” I whispered.
“Oh hell no, don’t even tell me you like this shit,” the boyfriend says nervously, trying to wrench the remote from my hands before the world of homogenized pop devours my soul and caulks my heart’s cockles with coconut taffy and Love’s Baby Soft. “This is the gateway! You give in to THIS and next you’ll be wearing taffeta bows in your hair and going to concerts at the mall. Now tell me you don’t like this.”
“I think I do, dude. It’s undeniably catchy. And she’s kind of hot. I mean—what? NO. Ew, I don’t like this.” A minute later, while I’m laughing nervously, I learn that it’s some strumpet called Britney Spears. Under a cloak of darkness (i.e. online), I buy her album.
For awhile, I try to hide it. I kick it under the couch when people come over. When friends are in the car with me, I make sure not to ever, not ever in one hundred million thousand fifteen years, pop in the mixtape that spins “Crazy” and “…Baby One More Time.” It’s the street cred kiss of death; there would be no way to talk myself out of that one.
But then one day, I’m like, “You know, I want to rock out to some fucking Spears and I don’t give a shit who knows.” So maybe I just got done breaking plates over my head to Bring Me the Horizon, or maybe I just cut myself to the plunky suicide notes of Xiu Xiu, but if I want to smack on some fucking bubblegum bubbles while jumping on the couch to a little tune called “Womanizer,” then dammit, I don’t care who knows it.
I LOVE BRITNEY SPEARS.
I penned death threats in my diary to K-Fed. I wept openly while watching her documentary.
I LOVE BRITNEY SPEARS. And now my son does too.
Now, what’s your guilty pleasure?