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Seven Hair-Metal Ballads That Gave Me Stupid Ideas About Love and Sex
Humping a car will never be arousing, whatever Whitesnake thinks.
By Erin Bradley
Submitted for your amusement: the seven videos that made me cry into my pillow and daydream of Tracii Guns parking his tour bus in front of the school and rescuing me from fifth period. Lose yourself in the drama, the slow-motion concert shots, the babes in red lipstick and lace bodysuits. Just remember what my teenage self did not: don't believe everything you see on MTV.
1) Whitesnake - Here I Go Again
The Storyline: Lead singer David Coverdale watches in horned-up amusement as Tawny Kitaen uses the hood of his sports car for dirty Pilates. Tawny continues with the sexy shenanigans as Dave gamely tries to make it to Walgreens.
What I Thought Then: Cars and sex go together like Taco Bell beans and rice. When I get older, I'll be making love on car hoods and treating my boyfriend to "road shows," just like the gorgeous Ms. Tawny.
What I Know Now: Guys hate it when you mess with their cars almost as much as they hate it when you mess with them while they're driving. Cops aren't fans of this whole thing either. (Just ask the one who caught me giving a handy in a parking lot.) Neither are parents.
2) Skid Row - I Remember You
The Storyline: Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. For unexplained reasons, boy turns into stock-photography version of a hobo, complete with whiskers and filthy trenchcoat. Boy spends his days staring into trashcan fires when he's not playing Peeping Tom to Sebastian Bach.
What I Thought Then: If you love someone, breaking up will render you a shell of a person, and quite possibly homeless. If you're not on the brink of losing it all, you're not doing it right.
What I Know Now: Heartbreak is pulverizing, but "sleepless nights" and "endless days" can only last so long before you must grow up, pop some meds, and get back to your life.
3) Guns N' Roses - Patience
The Storyline: Axl and the boys play an acoustic set in what looks to be a Pier 1 stockroom while a series of cut-ins emphasize the loneliness of life on the road. (Slash turns to reptiles in lieu of hookers; Steven Adler fondles his drumsticks instead of female admirers.)
What I Thought Then: Guys in mega bands would rather moon over "The One" than huff brake fluid and bang groupies. I could be "The One," if only my stupid mom would drive me to the concert.
What I Know Now: Most guys in mega bands actually do prefer to huff brake fluid and bang groupies. The rest have girlfriends who are okay with the former, as long as the checks keep coming and they're discreet about it. When you know you can do something whenever you want, it tends to lose its thrill after a while.
4) Journey - Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
The Storyline: Steve Perry and the boys are jamming out in a shipping yard. A hot girl walks by, looking like a younger version of the mom on Webster. The guys chase her around, trying to impress her on air guitar. She ignores them. In the end it's all a dream, or a covert advertisement for the Sony Walkman.
What I Thought Then: All streetwise, sophisticated women don leather miniskirts and go cruising around abandoned shipyards. Once there, having groups of men chase you is par for the course. It's not at all weird or frightening.
What I Know Now: Being followed isn't a sign of flattery. It's more like a reason to get out your rape whistle. One-on-one attention is nice. Five-on-one attention? A little much. Note to Mr. Perry: work solo next time.
5) Poison - Every Rose Has Its Thorn
The Storyline: Bret and his video girlfriend are arguing. It's in black and white — that's how we know it's serious. Touring takes its mental and physical toll: dumb lyrics must be memorized, split ends mended, spandex burns healed. The result? A relationship in ruins.
What I Thought Then: It wasn't so much the video as the words that I took way too literally. I took "Every rose has its thorn" to mean, "My boyfriend says he likes me but acts like a dick when we're in public, so I guess what Bret says is right!"
What I Know Now: Roses have thorns, but when the thorns start to outnumber the petals, it's time to trash those suckers and get yourself some new flowers. Daisies are always nice.
6) Extreme - More Than Words
The Storyline: Nuno Bettencourt and Gary Cherone sing a love ballad which speaks to the heart of all blue-balled sensitive ponytail guys. The camera alternates between the hot one (Bettencourt) and what the Jersey Shore gang would call the grenade (Cherone). The theme? Words are nice, but physicality is more meaningful.
What I Thought Then: How vulnerable! How tender! Here you are, telling me that I can say, "I love you" all I want, but you'll still be insecure because we haven't done The Dirty. If you need me that much, then we might as well. I've never met someone this emotionally open before.
What I Know Now: This entire song was just a drawn-out way of saying, "Stop talking and fuck me."
7) L.A. Guns - The Ballad of Jayne
The Storyline: Jayne is dead. We don't know if it's sex symbol Jayne Mansfield or a regular girl who's offed herself because her parents spelled her name like a stripper. No matter. The boys in the band are in mourning. Especially the lead singer, who looks like Criss Angel crossed with a florist. Tears flow amid classical music and heaps of red bunting.
What I Thought Then: I wish I were dead (okay, maybe almost dead but then brought back from the brink) so I could be serenaded by a bunch of cute rock boys. Why does the cool stuff always happen to other girls? This town is not exciting.
What I Know Now: You know what's not glamorous? Suicide. Best case, you get cuts on your wrists and end up in some crap psych ward. Worst case, you actually succeed and wind up in a funeral parlor. I've been to those. They're nothing like the set of a rock video. There are hotel prints on the walls, weird smells, and really bad coffee.