On Beauty One More Time

After writing that first blog on beauty I was overwhelmed by the messages I got and have been meaning to post a follow-up since then…

I was very surprised that pretty much everyone who had something to say feels or has felt essentially the same way. We have all, even the most physically beautiful of the people I heard from, felt less than, humiliated, hurt or just unworthy at certain times because we didn’t feel attractive enough. Isn’t that crazy?? Especially when I think of how many gorgeous people I know.

I was horribly sick recently and it really put things into perspective as well. It was the worst flu I have had in a long time, with a sore throat so bad that swallowing brought tears to my eyes and made my ears ache. I was only able to crawl from the bed to the couch and back again for four days, completely weak and totally uncomfortable. It was misery! So this made me think about how lucky I am to be the healthy person that I usually am.

All of this beauty stuff is completely moot when your health isn’t there and I am going to try to give my body a little more love for being strong and carrying me every day instead of constantly examining it for flaws. I get so focused on the little stupid things at times that I forget to look at the big picture. Millions of people have bodies that are uncomfortable to be in or don’t work properly, or they have lost their families to genocide, or live in abject poverty. I am healthy and relatively affluent compared to much of the world. What right do I have to fester over minor details?

And then I read the most amazing quote by a life coach named Martha Beck: “The longing to be beautiful is fundamentally a longing to be free from shame.” How brilliant is THAT? And the other quote I loved is from James, who says that if you REALLY look at someone, you realize everyone is beautiful.

If you follow that first train of thought, then, what we really need to strive for instead of beauty, is shamelessness. When we’re really young we don’t have the filter to accept or reject what people say to and about us, we just accept it all and suffer the pain of that rejection.

But we are adults now, and have a choice. We can choose to surround ourselves with people who support us and then we can be shameless about who we are, and shameless about admitting our fears and insecurities. I am noticing that it is extremely freeing to just be honest about my own neuroses and sorrows, because the people in my life respond in kind. And then instead of feeling shitty about myself I get to feel happily connected to someone else. And isn’t that the whole point of being in these bodies anyway?

As for the second train of thought, I did a little experiment with myself and spent a day looking for beauty in every person I passed on the street. This is not an easy experiment for a misanthrope like myself, but it was really interesting, and I suggest you try it. I tried to be objective and look at humans the way I do dogs, because to me every dog I see on the street is gorgeous, no matter how ratty or fat or mongrel.

And it worked—I started to see that every single person had something, at least one thing, beautiful about them. Then after a short time of doing that I started feeling very open and happy, instead of the usual hating everyone and wondering if they got dressed in the dark. When you really look at people as individuals you stop comparing each person to the ridiculous standards we have come to accept as real and just see the interesting and lovely in each person’s face.

Those magazine standards just aren’t real and I don’t want to hang onto them anymore. There is a biological breeding imperative which naturally leans towards the symmetrical, but other than that, all that other stuff we take as truth because we see it in the media is just commercial sales. It’s airbrushing and some person that I don’t know or care about deciding that thin and tall or very, very young is the only kind of physicality that deserves love. So then we feel ashamed and unworthy because we don’t fit that mold, and we buy all sorts of products to try to get closer to that ideal.

And I’ll probably always buy the damn products because I know I’m just one moisturizer away from a perfect life, but I really, really want to stop buying the bullshit. It only supports a tiny fraction of the world population, and it definitely doesn’t support me or you in any kind of honest or loving way. It doesn’t even support the girls photographed with the products, really.

So I got a very freeing lesson with that last blog, I came clean about something fairly minor and got interesting information and some deep human connection in return. So I am all about being truthful these days. Truth equals beauty, forgiveness equals beauty, an open heart brings us beauty. And I know this entry is a little corny but I wanted to tell you that, and to tell you how grateful I am for everything you guys had to say on the subject.


In the Don’t Try This at Home Category

Especially after that last blog, you’d think I’d be old enough know better: 
Took a half a xanax at the beginning of the night on Saturday, something I very rarely do. I am generally an alcohol and Advil kind of girl. But what the hell. So Motorhead was great, as usual, except they had to leave the stage for a few minutes midway because of annoying sound problems. Also, the set was short and it was so crowded we stayed in the back and felt a little removed. 

I went backstage for a minute but didn’t see Lemmy and the crew because there was a wait and I didn’t want to be a selfish jerk and make my friends wait outside in the cold.

My favorite part of the evening (what I can remember): Harlequinn saying “Hookers! I see hookers everywhere!” Ain’t it the truth, sister!

But then afterwards, all happy and full of rock and roll, went to Niagara and started drinking shots of tequila, completely forgetting about the xanax. Suffice to say I have absolutely no recollection of the second half of the evening. I do remember someone saying, “You’re drunk!”, which of course I most indignantly denied.

I woke up in full makeup (including eyelashes), jewelry in the sheets, behind the bed, under the pillow, clothing in a trail from the door. My bf came in panicked and said, “Why did I sleep on the couch? Did we have a fight?” Nope, we had a major lapse in judgement and that’s where he passed out, in his clothes.

Somewhere in the mayhem I lost my bank card and driver’s license, so I spent the afternoon in a haze searching for them, then gave up and got a manicure, practically nodding out in the middle. Chinese nail lady: “You so tired!!” Um, yes, working so hard you know…

If you were anywhere near me Saturday night between midnight and 3 am, I do apologize.

But–in the My Boyfriend Rocks category: Last night a gunning female fan tried to pull off one of his rings (he is famed drummer extraordinaire Drew Thomas), and he stopped her, saying, “Don’t. My girlfriend gave that to me.” To which she responded: “Your girlfriend scares me.” And he said, “Yep. She is scary. My girlfriend is BAD ASS.” That’s right, bitch. Get your hands off my man or I might wreck you and not remember it in the morning.

Auntie Raff’s How to Screw Around with Rock Stars

Ladies, Ladies, LADIES…

I am watching you younger nymphs flail around like gasping fish in the air, and it is simply not pretty. A little dignity, please! I am out of the game and have been for quite some time, but if you will, allow me to bestow the benefit of experience upon you with a few tried and true rules of the playing field. Mama is here to set you pretty things straight:

1. Do not, upon first hooking up with your rock star, keep repeating things like, “Oh my God, I NEVER do things like this!” or “Oh, gosh, I just cannot believe I’m doing this! It’s so unlike me, you know, I’m not a GROUPIE or anything!!” He has heard this a million, trillion times and believed it never, and it makes you look disingenuous.

2. If you have just wrangled yourself a shiny new rock star at a show or afterparty or random bar and the two of you go back to his hotel room, don’t get all comfy after the act and plan on spending the whole night unless he totally begs you. And that means begs for real, not the begging you are imagining in your brain as you lay there pretending he wants you to stay while all signs point otherwise. Is he yawning and channel surfing as you natter on about never having done this before? This means it is time to put your leather pants back on and scram.

Added incentive: picture the morning walk of shame, hair flat and makeup crusty, past gathered band members, management and crew as they collect themselves to move on to the next town. Hear the rhythm of your nighttime heels in the lobby carpet as you run this grueling gauntlet. Those shoes are whispering, “She’s a whore, she’s a whore, she’s a whore…” SO much classier to give him a big smooch on the cheek, say “Laters, Handsome”, and grab a cab in the safety and cover of darkness. If you want, write your number in lipstick on a napkin and toss it on the dresser. He will be much more inclined to use it if you’re not trying to force a 5 am cuddle.

3. If you like one guy in the band, but another member is hitting on you, don’t go for the second one in the secret hope of being able to hang out and get closer to the first. You may actually get a chance to hook up with the one you really like this way, but it will pit the two against each other, and you will lose. They will hate each other for about two minutes, then they will make up, do that slapping guy hug, and turn on you like rabid dogs. The band is always more important than your continued presence, Darling. Their roadies will hate you, their tour manager will definitely hate you because you will have caused him or her the additional stress of feuding bandmates, and you will always be the slut both band members joke about as bonding bros.

Also, keep in mind that all guys on the road talk with other guys on the road. So if you hook up with another completely separate rock star some other time, the first ones may have had the opportunity to fill in number three about what a tramp you were when they were in town. Trust me on this one, it is both painful and humiliating.

4. Don’t get all nutty and get engaged to the nearest rock star on the spur of the moment just to piss off your ex. This one might just be me, though…

5. If you are in an exclusive spot at your rock star’s show, like at the side of the stage or in the sound board area, don’t flail around like an ass trying to make sure everyone sees you. You know those girls, they display their backstage pass as prominently as possible and wave frantically at their friends while hampering the stage techs’ ability to work. Or they squeal too loudly at people they know and hang over the sound booth wall. Or even worse are those girls that keep edging out from the side of the stage to make sure they can be seen from the audience. Nobody likes this girl and no one thinks she’s cool. They came to see the band, not your groupie ass.

6. Don’t assume you are the only one unless he actually tells you so and you have had more time than one drunken night to assess his honesty. Think about all the hot girls that were in the room the first time you met him. Now multiply that amount by the number of cities he is playing on his tour. And then picture yourself in the same position: if you had that many attractive men available to you who weren’t going to run into each other, wouldn’t you enjoy the company of more than one?

7. Tell your close friends and co-workers everything, but keep your trap shut with the rest of the world. It only makes you look like an insecure bimbo if you keep bringing it up in casual party conversation or posting it on message boards to prove to total strangers that you can pull a famous guy. A true rock and roll babe doesn’t need to advertise her connections.

8. Lastly, and most importantly, show some discretion. Just because a guy has a record deal doesn’t mean he is automatically worthy of your gorgeous naked body. Think Anita Pallenberg as opposed to Sweet, Sweet Connie. I can’t emphasize this one enough, ladies! Class, not crass!! Okay! Heads up, boobs out, stomachs in—now get out there and have some fun… Oh, and if you like metal guys and want to see how other girls rate them (or if you just find things like this entertaining), check out Donna Anderson’s Penis Chart on Metal Sludge: http://www.metalsludge.tv/main/index.php?module=subjects&func=viewpage&pageid=381

We are Motorhead and We’re Gonna KICK YOUR ASS

OMG, March is going to RAWK!! Motley Crue is playing, then Motorhead, then Queens of the Stone Age!! I may have to bust out some stretch vinyl for the first show, and the second two will just feature a lot of hopping up and down with glee.

Okay, now I don’t want all these blogs to be tired old walks down memory lane, because I actually do have a life now. But since I put up the tattoo blog a few people have been sending messages asking what it was like to tour with Motorhead, and since they’re playing NYC soon, I thought I’d do up a little report for ya…

HOW I SPENT MY MOTORHEAD TOUR
Europe 1991

We sucked majorly at Hammersmith in London on the first night, petrified girls hiding behind mikes in front of the not very enthused few people who showed up early (possibly accidentally) and various people we were hoping to impress, including one fairly famous in London ex-boyfriend who I had screwed up with so badly a year prior that I know he was secretly pleased to see such a deserved and humiliating crash and burn. But Lemmy came backstage immediately afterwards to give us some pointers on how not to suck (“Walk to the front of the stage once in a while, ladies…”).

Spent every single night of the tour standing at the side of the stage waving a beer and shouting to other band members: “Oh my God!! We’re on tour with MOTORHEAD!!”

A case of Boilermakers in a can ended up on our bus—beer with a shot of whiskey already added. In a can! So convenient! This concoction was considered too foul even by Motorhead’s crew and so they very kindly donated the case to us. Spent days weaving down the aisle of the bus with these cans in my hand, swearing “Theesh arn s’bad, rilly!” Not surprisingly, we all developed a great tolerance for strong European beer, plus a penchant for vodka and Red Bull, which was not yet available in the States and enabled one to continue drinking well into the night.

One of the many dubious results of our newly developed alcoholism was that our makeup got thicker and more ornate as time went on, until by the end of the tour we were drawing great eyeliner lines up towards our eyebrows like Divine.

Motorhead chipped in and got us hotel rooms when we couldn’t afford them. How often does a headlining band do that for their openers?

A week into the tour and in a completely Spinal Tap moment, we received the first copies of our CD, which turned out to have a photo of a naked male ass on the cover. Yes, a naked male ass. To which Venus could only shriek, over and over: “Oh my God! There’s an ass on our record cover! There’s an ASS on our record cover!! THERE’S AN ASS ON OUR RECORD COVER!!!”

Fell head first and stark naked out of the top bunk of the tour bus (in front of everyone—band and crew) and cut my head open, thus garnering the title of Official Bunk Diving Champion. Alcohol was rumored to have played a part in the fall.

Every time we got near a phone we would prank call my sister over and over again. To which she responded, “Are you guys so uncool that the only thing you have to do is spend all your money prank calling me all the way from Europe??” Well, um, yes, actually.

Before entering the Nordic countries we wrote out a list of appropriate phrases and their translations to carry with us, such as, “Do you think I’m hot?”, “How old are you?”, “Get rid of your girlfriend”, and “My room number is…”

Honey 1 Percenter (She Wolf on myspace!) got some fabulously dirty notes from Philthy, who had very ingeniously affixed a small fan to a hanger and often wore it around his head for cooling purposes. We surmised that it assisted him in the creative writing process as well.

Had gentle and loving caterers who fed us with great care and talent. As a result of this and the previously mentioned alcohol consumption, we put on a few pounds, to which Lemmy was often heard to comment, “Girls, lay off the catering table already, will ya?”

Members of Motorhead often took an overnight bag and rode on our bus for the long trips, which was great fun. They always outlasted the girls in party mode and often complained that we weren’t putting out the way Girlschool did. On these nights Lemmy was particularly fond of singing his lyrics into my ear, which was handy for discovering which songs I’d been singing the wrong words to all those years.

Got sick one night and vomited in front of the bus headlights as famed guitar tech extraordinaire Depford John was walking by. He shoved his hand in the vomit and waved it in my face and shouted “Rooowwrrrr!” This prompted me to vomit again but was very impressive nonetheless.

Motorhead was filmed at a show in Munich for a documentary which was released a few years later. Munich hated us and pelted us with hard candy (got it in the forehead, thanks a lot, fucking Munich!), to which members of Motorhead responded most gallantly by wearing as much CSFH gear as possible when they got on stage. The film’s director was a sexist and demented creep, so when he filmed a bit where the girls came onstage and pretended to play sax during the MH set he edited it to only show our boobs and butts. But every shot of MH features another piece of Slut swag.

Got a really crappy spur of the moment tattoo at Hanky Panky in Amsterdam. The guy who did it dug so hard the whole thing scarred up. Later that night Motorhead cancelled the show because the Paradiso didn’t put a stage extension on as previously requested. Fans mini-rioted, burning t-shirts and shouting very nasty things and we had to sneak out of the club with our heads covered. Since this was the last night of the tour our wonderful caterers made a celebratory hash cake, which we (of course) promptly consumed while waiting to see if the show was going to happen. As a result I fuzzily stalled out mid-escape to stand in the middle of the melee and watch dreamily, until a Dutch friend dragged me out of the fray before I was spotted. Spent the rest of the night in the hotel bar unable to form sentences.

Philthy was given some trouble when we came from France back into the UK for some videos he had purchased in a dubious Dutch entertainment establishment. The police brought drug dogs on our bus and the dogs sniffed the bus kitchen table quite a bit, because even though we’d wiped it in a panic, let’s face it we were wasted slobs at that point and there was residue left behind from two months of rampant drug abuse. But they finally left and we breathed a sigh of relief, able to live to ruin our bodies with chemicals and alcohol for another day.

And then sadly, sadly we bid the boys adieu and teetered onto the plane home, back to NY to dry out and get dropped by our label before the record ever got released in the states. C’est la vie… But lastly, I am happy and proud to report that I am mentioned as a crush in Lemmy’s autobiography (page 232!), not by name, but at least I know it’s me, goddamnit. And now you do, too. Love on ya, rock and rollers!

Memories of Joey Ramone

Today in the freezing, freeeeezing cold I walked past Joey Ramone’s old apartment building on 9th Street. It made me think of other winter nights on that block and what a special guy he was, and what a loss it is not to have him around. 
Here are some of my memories: 
When I was a teenager I brought home Rocket To Russia from the record store (where I had it ordered specially) and my neighbor got off his bike to take a look at what I’d bought. He said, very quietly: “That’s punk rock, isn’t it?” I said, “Yeah…” 

Joey was the first rock star I met when I moved to NY from the sticks of Michigan. He was leaning up against the bar at Danceteria not really talking to anyone. It was the same night Hanoi Rocks played, and I couldn’t believe one of my rock heroes could be found just loitering around the bar. I went up and said, “Hi, I’m Raffaele.” He said “I’m Joey,” and shook my hand. A couple of hours later I picked up Blixa Bargeld for about two minutes, until he tried to dangle me off of the balcony of the Limelight (the fact that he had bits of his wife’s hair stapled to his leather vest should have been a tip-off).

A few years down the road Joey gave my band the Cycle Sluts an opening slot for The Ramones at the Ritz. It was our second gig ever and it put us on the map. He was always such a champion for new bands, he just really loved rock and roll. During that period we were constantly yanking on him and screaming drunkenly, in unison, into his face. We had this drunken, bastardized ballet move we made everyone do with us and Joey didn’t have the greatest balance so he would just lift his foot off the floor a few inches to shut us up.

The Sluts hosted many after-hours parties at “Slutquarters” on 4th and B that featured him as a regular. We all did a ton of coke in those days and one night he had some very friendly South American dealers with him that had mounds of the stuff. One kept waving the loaded mirror in my face and saying, “For you, for you!” Joey was always quiet and we were always really, really loud. I think he liked the noise. Later that night (morning) he fell asleep in a chair and we just continued to party around him.

One night at the Lismar Lounge, where we all worked and hung out, a few members of a certain bike club who also hung out there decided they had a problem with Joey. I don’t remember why, but it was a dangerous situation. There were a few truly terrifying minutes when they locked him and someone else (Daniel Rey, maybe?) into the deli next door. One of the Lismar bartenders, who somehow was seeing both one of the bike club members and Joey at the same time, ran out and threw herself at the door and begged them not to hurt him. It was one of those scenes that make you feel so scared you get nauseous inside, but somehow it ended up all right. I think Joey was so gentle that they just decided not to bother.

Joey wearing only his leather jacket and ripped jeans in the freezing cold at the Pet Sematary video shoot.

Joey on the roof of Coney Island High for a barbeque, eating a hot dog and smiling.

The sound of his voice, saying “Hey Raff…”

Going to the cloisters to film a video for Joey’s protégées, The Independents. I was dressed as a vampire queen and I walked slowly, trying to look very serious without cracking up, down cement stairs in a cape towards Joey, who was standing a few feet behind the camera. He said, “That was great, Raff.” Later in the car he put some money in my hand, which I hadn’t asked for or expected.

Being on the train w/my ex Jesse after we got the news Joey was dead, just staring out the window and feeling sad.

I wasn’t one of his closest friends, but I like to think that he counted me as more than an acquaintance. I know I’ll never walk past the corner of 9th Street and 3rd Avenue without thinking of him with affection. He was a true rock star and a truly lovely person, and I’m looking forward to seeing him on the other side.