Living in the Real World


“Every day you gotta wake up, disappear behind your makeup”

Once again, Blondie delivers a modern woman’s anthem. Not the corny faux-inspirational kind, but the kind of anthem real women can get behind. At least those of us who exist in a fantasy-fueled la-la-land of daydreams and fashion magazines. Which, I venture to guess, a lot of us do. And that is absolutely not a bad thing. Reality is always just around the corner, ready to grind us down into a fine powder of insecurity and despair. The key to maintaining a survival-level state of optimism is dodging all the things the world puts in front of us to break our spirits. For many, that entails keeping an imaginary runway under our feet, and a secret theme song in our heads at all times. Empowerment through the power of positive thinking won’t solve all your problems, but it sure helps make the everyday bump and grind a little easier. I distinctly remember being an adolescent stuck in a house without indoor plumbing in the middle of wildest West Virginia, and listening to Blondie on my Walkman, and I remember thinking that Debbie Harry was the ultimate picture of how to be a cool woman. That’s a very cliche beginning of a story, but it’s true. I had a lot of role models who filled a variety of icon niches, including many examples of what not to do, but Debbie Harry embodied a very specific fun-girl-in-the-city role that felt very achievable (as opposed to dreaming about going down in a resentful blaze of heroin like Nico, or being a Spider From Mars of some sort.) Because Harry, even after she became rich and famous, balanced her glamour with grit. She bleached her own hair and wore secondhand clothes, and knew how to pull a great look together on a dime. Her songs are full of real life shit, like pay phones and bus stops and all-night diners and rejection and the need to wear your makeup like a suit of armor. There’s a reason teenagers still want her face on their t-shirts. She’s like a cool older sister who inspires you to be your own coolest self.

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