Friday, June 5, 2009
When I was a very small child, one of my favorite songs was Georgy Girl by the Seekers.
It told the tale of Georgy, a woman who projected one image to the world, but who had a very different concealed inner self striving to break free. Whenever it played on the radio, I would sing along at the very top of my (little childhood) lungs.
Much later I realized the tune had a double meaning of sorts. In fact, that ambiguous play on words was later recognized by the creators of the documentary film Georgie Girl, who used the song in the film as well as borrowing its title. It’s about New Zealander Georgina Beyer, who captured the world’s attention in 1999 by becoming the first transgender person to hold national office. (The film was also featured as part of the LGBT Center’s Out of the Closet and Onto the Screen film series.)
Why all this about an old song and a new-ish documentary film? Because these last few weeks, a new song has come along. A country tune by Phil Vassar currently climbing the charts, and one that is as crystal clear in its subject matter as Georgy Girl was ambiguous. It’s called Bobbi with an I, and it’s unabashedly and without any doubt about a cross dresser. It’s the featured song on Phil Vassar’s website and his myspace page right now, take a listen.
There haven’t been all that many songs about cross-dressing people; in fact I can only think of a handful - and none of the country music variety. Bobbi, according to the song, isn’t “just one of the guys” – he’s a former football star, can bench-press more than 300 pounds, and can be found driving a tow truck by day and wearing a pink party dress on Friday nights. Perhaps the most interesting lyrics of the song describe Bobbi’s friends explaining matter-of-factly “we live and let live, that’s how it is, nobody gives a second thought these days.”
And perhaps even more noteworthy are some of the comments shared by listeners about this new tune, such as:
“Bobby sounds like a great guy. The kind who’s always on your side. The kind who’d never leave his friends behind."
“omg i heard this and was like did i just hear him right???then i listened and liked it...at least he is being real and singing bout real life. I commend him. ...It might not be our thing to live but life happens.”
Life happens indeed. And sometimes music, of all genres and varieties, helps us interpret and make sense of life. What’s important, what’s not, and how to tell the difference.
Phil Vassar performs the song:
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