Music Part IV: Saint James and Shakira

shakira_narrowweb__300x376,0I’m not sure why I’m so obsessed with Saint James’ musical maturation, but I am. It’s fascinating to me. Maybe it’s because I was such a late bloomer when it came to music (and admittedly fairly regressive considering the tunes that are passing my ears these days). Or maybe I’m just obsessed with Saint James. He’s just so darn cute – exactly the kind of boy I would have had a crush on in fourth grade: the cute, smart, quiet one. 

The other day I went to pick him up at school and was scanning the school yard, doing a Where’s Waldo of shaggy haired dishwater blond boys, when I spotted him with a little clump of older kids huddled around an iPod. Two of the boys each had one earbud in his ear and the rest were standing by with heads bent toward the ground, listening by osmosis, I suppose. Being the fiendish mother I am, I stopped in my tracks, bit my lip and feeling all gushy and mushy, decided to give him a few more minutes to listen. Or maybe I was giving myself a few more minutes to watch. I never did find out what they were listening to, but wouldn’t I like to know! (You see? Even though I’m a total crazy mother, I’m savvy enough to control myself so he has no idea I’m a crazy mother!)

A few days later I was putzing around the kitchen, Saint James on his perch at the laptop, when I hear a little She Wolf. Aaahh, Shakira! What’s not to love? That girl taps into my basest and most hoochie Latina impulses, the ones that were basically eradicated by virtue of growing up in snowy Michigan as the first born daughter of Argentine parents who had no tolerance for hoochiness. I happened to glance over and realized he was watching the video, not listening on iTunes as I had assumed. I watched for a couple seconds from a distance and Ay caramba sweet sabrosa Maria Magdalena Madre de hoochiness! does Shakira have it going on in this video! I thought I was familiar with her pelvic gifts, but she takes it to a whole other level with the cage and the skin colored leotard. She does this move where she starts on her stomach, holy shit, and ohmyGod you’llknowitwhenyouseeit!

In the past, I’ve been rather blithe about censoring music. I don’t believe in it, mostly because I choose to assume most of it goes over their heads, and when it no longer goes over their heads, then hopefully they’re old enough to understand that it’s entertainment, that it’s part of a whole, that it may represent someone’s truth, but doesn’t have to be their truth. As a prolifically profane person, I take the position that all words should be loved, regardless of what they are and how they are strung together (not true for words of hate and racism, but true for my sweet, sweet cussin’).

But visuals? Visuals are a whole other ball of wax. Watching Shakira gyrate around in her cage, my first impulse was to leap across the kitchen, landing on my side with my chin in my hand in a perfect breakdance denouement, the laptop shutting with a soft click under my deftly placed ass. But I couldn’t. That would embarrass him, maybe make him feel guilty about checking out this Shakira he keeps hearing on the radio. I’m the one who has been encouraging him to explore, after all. Furthermore, if we lived in Argentina (or Brazil, Uruguay or most places in Europe, for that matter), he’d see the likes of Shakira shaking their moneymakers in commercials for everything from yogurt to snow tires. After all, she’s just singing and dancing. Cough, cough. In the few seconds that I stood frozen like a deer in Shakira’s headlights, he clicked out of the video. Had he seen enough? Had it made him uncomfortable? Had it bored him? Had it scared him? I felt like I needed to address it somehow, someway, so that he wouldn’t be left holding a big bag of confusion. So I cleared my throat and plunged right in:

Me: Well! Well! Wooowee! Wow! Some of those South American ladies sure do know how to shake their bootays! Phew! My goodness!

Saint James: . . .

Me: Holy moly! Um. Guacamole. Ya, they have a whole other way of dressing and dancing! Don’tcha think? They are something else. Some of those. Uh. Ladies. Woowie.

Saint James: . . . 

Me: Um, ya. So, ya. I think that everyone’s used to the ladies acting a little crazy down there. Like it’s no big deal to dance so, like, hubba hubba. Er. 

Saint James: . . .

Me: Wooh. That dance is a little much, but I really do like Shakira. She’s got a great voice. She’s from Brazil!

Saint James: Columbia.

Me: . . .

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