Who's Your Goddess?

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Who's Your Goddess?

I wore my Marilyn Monroe tie especially to sing a requiem in church the Sunday before Easter. Ideally, we would've been singing about death on Good Friday, the day Christ was crucified, but this being a non-Catholic, not even Episcopalian, watered down, non-denominational, somewhat unfocussed, overly inclusive North Berkeley congregation with a great music director, we were singing of death on Palm Sunday, the day Christ was waved into Jerusalem with palm fronds.

The Marilyn Monroe tie, handcrafted in Italy of polyester, features the Goddess's likeness in pearlescent white on deep-space black, an arresting yet not garish, formal, funereal tribute to her sublime screen genius and strange, sad, mysterious death by overdose at her own or the CIA's hands. We'll never know. Like the deaths of other charismatic political, sexual, cinematic celebrities of the 60s. Who did it? Why? Why are the best and brightest lost to this culture?

During the early morning, last ditch, too-little-too-late requiem rehearsal, my music director, Debbie Golata, told me to take the tie off, it was distracting. As a choir member, one of the few new to this, who can't read music, I don't take for granted my right to sing while wearing a tie. None of my other ties had ever been questioned. Golata even brought me a Beethoven tie from the Austin airport of all places, but she wasn't in the mood for Marilyn.

I took it off and concentrated on the task at hand, Rutter's Requiem, which for all its simple-mindedness we managed to bungle.

I put it on again for tea and refreshments after the service, where it garnered appreciation, as ties do. I had to explain to the preacher, as I had not tried to explain to my director, that MM is dead and deserves the dignity accorded all dead people: they get a requiem, whether they were sexy or not. The grin on his face said he didn't agree.

I started to feel bad I'd caved so quickly to pressure. I'd betrayed Marilyn for less than 30 pieces of silver. I had to find deeper meaning in the event. Marilyn was demonstrating her immortality via the tie: people refused to think of her as dead. My own Catholic-inflected take on it was she'd been stripped from my personal altar for Good Friday but would be back, badder than ever, Easter Sunday.

Marilyn Monroe is worshipped as a healer in the Who's Tommy (1975).

The following Sunday, for the singing of "Tomorrow Will Be My Dancing Day," I showed up in baby chick yellow corduroys and the Goddess tie. Not a peep out of the music director but curiously, my fellow soprano said, "Marilyn's not back!" She was shocked, stern, just this side of chastising. Does Cleavage Soprano, as she's affectionately known, not realize she herself is way more distracting than any mere tie, thus constituting one of the chief challenges and perks of hitting the high notes?

At tea afterwards, the woman who recently graduated to wearing a long silk scarf called a pastoral stole, really a stealth tie, untied, around her neck to discourse on events biblical and personal from the second-best pulpit, not the one Preacher uses, hailed me across the treat table with, "Great tie!"

She was all bubbly smiles. The main exchange I've ever had with her was about homoseckshuals' right to love after a well-meaning but hopelessly heterosexist homily she gave one Valentine's. She'd taken my perspective in with grace and attentiveness but had never before been so palsy-walsy. What had Marilyn wrought?

"I take the tie to be ironic," she gushed approvingly. "Marilyn Monroe was everything men wanted in a woman and you, well, you're so not that."

When one wears one's heart on one's chest one never knows what reactions will be provoked in the breasts of others.

mmtieThe author at work.



Comments [41]

cameo's picture

Thank you for this blog. You

Thank you for this blog. You have resurrected MM in such a profound way with this humble tie, you have healed the spirits of this poor wretched leper though that may not have been your intent.

Erin Blackwell's picture

it was a surprising test i

it was a surprising test i think everyone profited from. thank *you*.

Grace Moon's picture

i want to know if those are

i want to know if those are your pin-ups behind you?

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Erin Blackwell's picture

kate moss, gloria swanson,

kate moss, gloria swanson, eva green

Steph H's picture

Erin - I love your look -

Erin - I love your look - truly cool.

LongBeachDogLover's picture

With all of the shit going on

With all of the shit going on in this world, can't people just smile, and appreciate the positive things when they're presented to us.... Jesus Christ himself, would have welcomed Marilynn with open arms.

Your tie is resplendent... Laughing out loud

Not2Taem's picture

Open arms and tingling

Open arms and tingling fingers. Wink

LongBeachDogLover's picture

*edit* Marilyn... not

*edit* Marilyn... not Marilynn.

Not2Taem's picture

Love the tie! But Marilyn is

Love the tie! But Marilyn is so lusciously wide; can you manage a Windsor with that one?

As for the comment from Scarf-ace, I'm with Julia.
Bitch

On the other hand, glad to know we don't have to compete with the guys for you. Wink

Erin Blackwell's picture

guys are flirting with me now

guys are flirting with me now i'm wearing these cufking ties! what's with that? but thanks for the thoughts, T. you gladden my heart.

Not2Taem's picture

Well, I can see how the look

Well, I can see how the look might appeal to anyone. Are you getting gay, straight, or both? I have a button pin that says, Duh! I'm a girl. That might help with some of them.

minniesota's picture

I was just thinking, "Would

I was just thinking, "Would you tell us more about 'Cleavage' Soprano?"

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Erin Blackwell's picture

that could happen. she's a

that could happen. she's a great gal.

Lezbeth's picture

Do you seek to enlighten,

Do you seek to enlighten, befuddle or humorously provoke the church folk? A Marilyn Monroe tie makes perfect sense for a requiem on palm Sunday or even an aria on Easter. What's the matter with those women?

Erin Blackwell's picture

good question for which my

good question for which my answer is... the church is my theater since i'm not doing theater at the moment. singing is performance, i stand up there every week & i'm their token out queer. i kinda put on my sunday best. the only reaction i seek really is love.

cameo's picture

First, TOKEN out queer in

First, TOKEN out queer in SFCA???? My head is spinning. Please elucidate.

Second, you look fabulous, darling, in that tie. My heart bursts with joy to see it in all its magnificent glory dangling from your esteemed neck. It gives eyesight to the blind. Marilyn becomes you.

Third, why didn't you include a video of you singing in the tie with the buxom ignoramus standing next to you? I'm still intrigued with a butch singing soprano. Hence, a triple distraction: Marilyn, buxom, butch soprano. Fascinating.

Erin Blackwell's picture

it's north berkeley. you

it's north berkeley.

you asked for a photo not a video.

i wouldn't call the buxom an ignorama: she lacks self-awareness like the rest of us.

butch soprano might be akin to castrato.

cameo's picture

Thank you for the photo.

Thank you for the photo. Sorry about your buxom acquaintance and, Ms. Castrato, do you smoke a cigar and claim to be a member of the communist party? I would venture to guess "yes".

Tex's picture

Some preachers need to think

Some preachers need to think a bit more before they speak, but then, they wouldn't be preachers, would they?

I'm forgetting about the tie and Marilyn - you're a nice looking woman, Erin. Dig the specs!

Pin-stripes are hot,

Tex

Twitter Time @kdhales

Erin Blackwell's picture

i think you might like this

i think you might like this preacher, he's a slippery devil.

yonks's picture

They don't force you to wear

They don't force you to wear skirt in you choir? you'r lucky.

Eva Green seems a little jealous in the background, "how you dare, you flee heart."

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

Erin Blackwell's picture

i wish eva green cared a good

i wish eva green cared a good dog dam, but merci pour la pensée.

yonks's picture

Hey, LMZ PK Steph and i are

Hey, LMZ PK Steph and i are planing a trip Paris London this autumn. want to join?

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

Erin Blackwell's picture

if i had any money, thoughts

if i had any money, thoughts of travel instantly travel to europe... London's a way expensive little town! montreal's so much more reasonable!

yonks's picture

BTW, thats why i like to

BTW, thats why i like to travel september october, the weather still warm enough to go swim in atlantic sea on south of france but its out touristic time so flight ticket and hostel rooms are cheaper.

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

Steph H's picture

Erin, I wrote another comment

Erin, I wrote another comment expressing my devasation at my presence not being enough to draw you to London but it seems to have flown into the "moderation" pile.

Let's see what happens to this one.

yonks's picture

There's kind of lady that

There's kind of lady that proletarians dyke can just not afford Laughing out loud

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

yonks's picture

I don't know for London but

I don't know for London but Paris have a couple of bridge that you can sleep under when you have no money.

Well, i have a room for guest and i live near the center.
Montreal is a cool town to live, but i'm not sure for vacation. Have you ever been in the province of Quebec?

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

Erin Blackwell's picture

BriTwit delighted to one-up

BriTwit
delighted to one-up you!

YonkYonk
i've been to montreal a few times & quebec city once: LOVED IT. both times on press junket, meaning posh hotels were complementary + food. love the French-Americanism of it all. the accent's a bit...

Steph H's picture

Hey Yonks, I've been to

Hey Yonks, I've been to Montreal!!

yonks's picture

so, how it was, as a

so, how it was, as a tourist?
when?

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

Steph H's picture

It was in 1990! To be

It was in 1990! To be honest, I can't remember much about it other than I found the Quebec way of speaking French really hard to understand! I am a big fan of Canada.

Steph H's picture

Erin, I am devastated that I

Erin, I am devastated that I am not enough of a draw....

Erin Blackwell's picture

i never said i wasn't DRAWN

i never said i wasn't DRAWN darling!

Julia Watson's picture

“I take the tie to be

“I take the tie to be ironic,” she gushed approvingly. “Marilyn Monroe was everything men wanted in a woman and you, well, you’re so not that.”

Reaction provoked in my breast by this: "Bitch, please."

Also, at first glance I read "Catholic-inFECTed" and contemplated self-inoculation. After a fashion. Ahem.

Erin Blackwell's picture

julia you make me giggle with

julia you make me giggle with your "bitch please." i'd never think of addressing this well-meaning soul as BITCH so i appreciate your doing it for me.

her whole take on the tie indicated she'd worked up this whole reading in her mind, which she had time to as i stood before the congregation in the front row of the choir, flashing MM. it had nothing to do with "me".

Julia Watson's picture

It takes a lot to get a

It takes a lot to get a "bitch, please" from your friendly, neighborhood me.

Not2Taem's picture

:lol: :twisted: :lol: Where

Laughing out loud :twisted: Laughing out loud

Where do I go for my shot? And why didn't someone tell me they were available before that godforsaken first communion?

Julia Watson's picture

My experience of Catholic

My experience of Catholic self-inoculation can best be described via the Gospel According to Tori:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwIanQ8FnqM

minniesota's picture

Hmmm,my smiling retort to,

Hmmm,my smiling retort to, "well, you're so not that" would be, "And that's exactly the way I want it."

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

minniesota's picture

P.S. I forgot to say your

P.S. I forgot to say your choice of iconographic tie is dashing.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.