I didn’t fall in love until Faith came out. It was 1987 and I was a brand new seventh grader at Pomona Junior High. This was the big time—no more elementary school where you shared the halls with kindergarten kids. This was the cusp of young adulthood, which required more mature tastes. I had scoffed at the bleach haired, “CHOOSE LIFE!” t-shirt wearing, bouncing-around-the-stage-with-glee George Michael of Wham!, but the jeans wearing, leather jacket sporting, guitar-strumming, solo act version was worth a second look. Like the brilliant wings of butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, the aviator shades and five o’clock shadow signified that the man had matured into something better than what he was before.
Even though I had my own stereo “system” in my room (Fisher dual cassette player with high speed dubbing!) I had very little of my own music. So, with my hard earned allowance (I was up to $10 every two weeks by then), I went to Sam Goody and purchased George Michael’s album, “Faith," on cassette, of course.
Side one was chock full of hits—Faith and Father Figure were first and second in the lineup. Then, there’s the song—the song with the catchy beat that captures the very basic truth behind 99% of all R&B songs.
That song, of course, was "I Want Your Sex."
Instead of embellishing the lyrics with flowery euphemisms (“make love?”) the man came out and told us exactly what he meant. It was pure genius.
There were three parts to the song on the tape, though part I was the only segment to get radio play. Then there were a few lesser hits, “One More Try” and “Kissing A Fool” among others. All in all, my allowance money was well spent. In fact, I became a retroactive Wham! Fan when my hunger for more put me back in Sam Goody with the album “Make it Big!” (cassette, of course) in my hands. The cashier regarded me with a smirk of amusement. “Wham?” she said. I nodded. At that point I was shamelessly obsessed. Anything that would offer more of George Michael’s sweet, sweet voice was worth a little temporary humiliation. Yeah, yeah, we know it wasn't all GM, there was that other guy, but do you remember his name?
Shortly after he release of the “Faith” album came the tour. I wanted to go, but when you’re 13, it’s not likely that you’ll be attending a concert alone. Here's the embarrassing part: not only was I a George Michael fan, my dad was too. I even remember an afternoon when my aunt was visiting and they shared a good laugh over “I want Your Sex,” marveling at the in-your-facedness of it all. I wanted to disappear that day.
But back to the concert. I wanted to go, said so, and my dad offered to go with me. Er, what do you say to that? You know you’re not going to feel free to belt out the lyrics to that song when your dad is right next to you. You know it’s going to feel ultra creepy hearing “Father figure” when the real thing is by your side. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I wanted to go, just not with him, so I did the next best thing.
I told my mom.
She completely understood, but there was no solution but to just not go. Besides, I probably didn’t have enough allowance saved up to pay for a ticket anyway.
It’s twenty years later and so much has changed. We’re all older and no one’s wondering “Is he or isn’t he?” anymore. He’s clowning Dr. Phil , which somehow affirms that I probably would like the man if I actually knew him. I’m also old enough to not feel weird inviting my dad—
—unfortunately he’s "no longer with us" (yes, another euphemism)to enjoy the show.
Aside from that, floor seats cost $250 apiece.
Yes, yes, I know, I could get the cheap seats, but I can say with certainty that George isn’t going to see me proclaiming my love from seat 12 of row F in section 411.
So I'll do it here:
Love you George, but considering the cost of