Puberty for most people is gradual. If you’re a typical young boy your voice starts to get deeper over a span of weeks or months. Little sprouts of hair start appearing under your arms and other nether-regional body parts becoming more bushy and unsightly over time.
I had a different experience with puberty. I was watching the movie “Grease” when Danny Zuko turned his head and went agog as the camera angle shifted to a woman in diabolically tight black pants, red lipstick, bushy curly blonde hair, and the most bulging beautiful eyes you or any man has ever seen.
“Tell me about it, stud,” said Olivia Newton-John as she teased Danny while stepping on her lit cigarette in red high heels and led him to the Shake Shack where she wiggled her hips.
Instantaneously, my voice dropped down 10 elevator shafts as bushes of hair popped out all over my body. Suddenly, I was a man. The lens through which I saw everything changed from that of a little innocent boy doing silly things to a fantastic place full of wondrous gorgeousness all wrapped up in on tight black outfit and a babe beyond belief.
It was like a bar mitzvah or something but a thousand times better, a coming of age, a feeling that I had crossed a bridge onto the other side of life into the world of animal instincts. I was born, again, into another community, or something I didn’t understand but wanted more of.
Olivia Newton-John in that black outfit did something to me but I wasn’t the only man and it wasn’t just 10 other guys but hundreds of millions of guys who saw her in that outfit in that movie and thought, I’m sure, that’s one of the most attractive-looking babes they had ever seen in their lives.
It was a transformative moment in my life. Puberty shot had been shot out of a cannon destined for a lifetime of appreciation of all of life’s fast times.
These past few nights I’ve been watching several videos about the life of our beloved Olivia, who died last week, studying those bulging eyes. It’s her eyes that have crushed every man who has ever looked at her. Big, greenish in color, staring right through you rendering you hopelessly devoted to her.
But there’s so much more than astounding attractiveness about Olivia. She was interviewed several times in recent years about her battles with cancer and could not have been more gracious and composed in her acceptance of her situation without bitterness or anger but just the realization that we all struggle with things and cancer was just the obstacle she had to deal with.
So sweet. So beautiful outside and in.
The past few nights I started listening to many of her songs again and realized so many were about love which isn’t a surprise because so many songs are about love, but she was a person who was best-suited singing about love because she was lovely and loving and we loved her.
This is one song of hers I listened to I hadn’t heard in a long time that I think you might be touched by, as I was. When she sang this she was a young lady early in her career just becoming a worldwide singing and heart-throb sensation. It’s called “If Not For You.”
If not for you, Olivia, we would not know love the way we do.