Thank you for everything, Goblin King, especially the tingles.
Like many of you, I feel like there's a hole in the world today. The death of David Bowie, an icon who transcended not just music and art but gender stereotypes, is gone. After battling cancer for the last 18 months, Bowie left this world just two days after his 69th birthday.
When I awoke to read the news this morning, I was shocked. Then I felt the type of pang that comes with knowing that there will never be another David Bowie and how that's not only sad, but also the way it should be.
I was late to the party when it came to David Bowie's music. My first introduction to Bowie was the song "Let's Dance," and it wouldn't be until high school when I finally dug a little deeper to unearth his contributions before that 1983 album. I was a kid of the 80s, and with parents who weren't huge Bowie fans it took me awhile to get there.
But before I reached high school and became aware of the androgynous gorgeousness of Ziggy Stardust, Labyrinth was my first introduction to Bowie — and what an impact it had on me.
If memory serves, I was probably about 10 or 11 when I first saw Labyrinth. It had already been out for a few years at the time but after being scared sh*tless by The Dark Crystal (also a Jim Henson movie), my parents decided to wait before we were allowed to see it. I remember sitting in the family room with my sister, cuddled up on the couch, overjoyed that we were finally able to see the movie.
It was then that I was introduced to David Bowie the actor, as Jareth the Goblin King, and a lot of things changed for me.
I don't know what it was about him but there was something overtly sexual that moved things inside me. I don't know if it was his cockiness, his costume (those tight pants!), the way he spoke to Jennifer Connelly's character Sarah, or the power he had in the movie, but I remember feeling tingles in places where I had never felt tingles.
I was entranced.
I went on to watch the movie easily two dozen more times that summer. No matter what I did, I couldn't get enough of David Bowie or the feelings he gave me in my stomach and ... well, other places, too.
Although I didn't know it then, Bowie in Labyrinth was my sexual awakening. That's probably why I was confused as hell — and also hypnotized —every time I watched it. I also remember thinking there was probably something wrong with me but that didn't stop the obsessive daydreams I had about being Sarah.
I wanted him, even at that age. I had to have him. Of course, I didn't know what I wanted to do with him. Maybe play some Monopoly? Drink some lemonade on the porch? Perhaps sit next to each other on the couch and hold hands? Maybe he could show me what was going on under those bulging pants?
For a long time, I kept my fantasies about Jareth the Goblin King to myself. But when I finally got to high school and unearthed his work in the 70s, I was turned on again, over and over, and realized that this is what they mean by "walking sex." David Bowie, among so many other things, was walking sex.
As we mourn the loss of Bowie today, we all do so in our own ways. We all have a specific album, song, or moment in our life in which David Bowie somehow contributed and made it all that much better. How could we not? Like I said, he's an icon. Icons do that.
Among all those albums I love so dearly, I'm also mourning the man who made me realize that I was and am a sexual being. He awakened in me something that I'll never feel again. You don't get two sexual awakenings in your lifetime.
I'm mourning the man in those tight pants who still, to this day, gives me tingles. Thank you, David. Thank you for all of it — especially the tingles.