My step mum Sally hardly ever leaves the house. Seriously.
She’s a simple, no-bullshit, Turkish immigrant who lives in Thomastown with my Lebanese Dad and the three kids they’ve had together since marrying 13 years ago. [Side note: in our family we refer to the kids as ‘Turbos’ because they are half Turk, half Lebo…get it? Cool.]
Sally goes to great lengths to avoid putting on actual clothes and stepping out into civilisation. If you’re going to visit her, for instance, she’ll ask you to pick up some milk or Lebanese bread on the way, so she can avoid a trip to the shops.
Sally’s favourite attire is pyjamas. She would have 30 sets of PJs, easy. She has different pyjamas for different occasions: cleaning pyjamas, sitting pyjamas, people-are-coming-over pyjamas – there is a PJ pant and top for all occasions and situations.
Although she’s quite a vibrant and outgoing person, she just bloody loves being at home, in her house, in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. It’s comfortable and easy. She breaks up the day by cooking, doing housework, chatting to her friends back in Turkey via online chat rooms (the internet: doing great things for assimilation!) and smoking cigarettes in the garage.
Recently I found out that Sally – who loves Beyonce – had not been to a concert since 1993. That’s like 100 years ago. Real time: 20 years.
To give you some context, here are some things that happened the same year Sally was a concert-goer at Madonna’s The Girlie Show tour: Mrs Doubtfire was released in cinemas, Miley Cyrus was a baby (and incidentally, only three members of One Direction existed) plus, Push Pops and Discmans were cool…Who remembers the “don’t push ME, push a push pop” catchphrase? It makes a wonderful anti-bullying slogan, don’t you think? By the way, if you don’t know what a Push Pop is, google it.
So when I called Sally yesterday to invite her to the Beyonce concert, she was both hysterically excited and terrified. Remember, the only time she leaves the house is to go to Friday Night Bingo in her matching tracksuit, so a concert with thousands of people, in the city, with real clothes on…that is a big step.
It took some convincing but after a lengthy conversation about the logistics (as in, what she would wear… I explained that no pyjama set would be appropriate) Sally took off the PJs, popped on her imitation G Star Raw jeans and hot-footed it (literally, in her VT Commodore) to venue.
Let me tell you, Mrs Carter did not disappoint. She seduced the crowd for two hours, belting out tunes like Irreplaceable, If I Were A Boy, Single Ladies and Crazy in Love. She exuded power and joy and sexuality.
Sally was like a hyperactive kid on red cordial throughout the concert – shouting all the wrong lyrics, throwing elbows, carelessly krumping, hyperventilating at times. It was delightful bordering on embarrassing but definitely fun. Sally told me it made her “feel things inside” and that it was one of the best nights of her life…Awesome.
Personally, I was feeling inspired. Beyonce’s presence had been emotionally stirring.
BK is a strong, sassy, self-made woman from Houston, Texas, who tells girls of all ages, all walks of life that we can indeed “run the world.” And when she speaks (sings), people listen. That’s powerful stuff. She believes in us. She cares about us. Call me a sap, but I really felt that. And god dammit she can shake her tail-feather. She made me feel like I want to be the best version of myself and – if I’m completely honest – that I should put more time and effort in to romancing my boyfriend (because granny undies and a holey stripped T-shirt is not sexy…I conceded after the show that it’s probably time to go lingerie shopping, ah shit).
As Sally dropped me off at home and we said goodbye with the engine running, I noticed she had kicked off her shoes and she was un-fastening the top button of her jeans. ”Umm, what are you doing?” I asked. “’I’m just getting ready to put my pyjamas on as soon as I walk in the door,” she replied.
I wondered as I walked up the stairs to my apartment, what kind of PJs would Queen B wear to bed?
Have you ever seen Beyonce live? How did it make you feel?