Oh, the things I'd do to you.
When Janet Jackson came back from her first get fit quick hibernation in the late 80s, she was svelte. Svelte is the only word to describe the ridges that replaced lumps and the smooth cocoa skin she revealed somewhere between her tattered jeans and sandy, sophisticated hair. A busty, fragile-waisted woman emerged where a timid and frumpy teenager once was. I remember seeing her music video, age six, understanding what sexy meant. Love Will Never Do (Without You) featured an ancient-like tribal man with a long neck and muscular legs and a desert of Janet Jackson’s subtle side smile and seductive hip movements. When she later released the self-titled album Janet, she was officially crowned a racy, sexual creature with a provocative message. She was calling the shots on her album, telling men what to do, taking control and letting everyone know she was sought after. She got credit for saying a lot of things she wouldn’t have said before, that most women wouldn’t say. She appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone with some man’s hands covering her nipples. But I don’t think she’s ever been sexier than Love Will Never Do. A little midriff, fallen strands of hair, an innocent smile – those things go a long way. A lot longer than jumping out of doors looking like She Ra, bossing men around like slaves and telling them to get in line. In her debut as a swan, she really showed the ugly duckling side of herself, smiling where “sexy” would be serious, wearing jeans and a half shirt where “sexy” would have worn something leather and blatantly dominant, being simple where “sexy” would have gone crazy with details and proper lighting. Janet was humble then. She sang about love, not lust. She was art in that music video. And I will hold it on a pedestal for a long time, remembering her dainty little naval peeking out, her feminine head band holding back her long strands of hair. She looked so soft, so petite. And she did it without being a makeup goddess riding horses into a well choreographed music video of half-dressed men and women worshipping her feet. I hate the “If” video. Fine, we all danced to it and tried to imitate Janet’s sick moves, lip-synching the naughty parts, like "oh, the things I'd do to you"; but the video was just too much for me. Miss Jackson is a lot nastier when she’s admitting love and her carnal desire to be intimate. In the one-on-one sense, in a tone of voice that seems she’s letting us in on a secret, that we’re the only ones in the room. Enough of the screaming and being heard. Bring it down to the private level. Where sexy and provocative make the best impression. Sexy isn’t a revealing dance in public, it’s a hand drifting under the table to an unexpecting lap. Sexy doesn’t walk around naked, sexy puts on his shirt and lets it drape off her shoulder. Sexy is personal. It’s not a general attitude, a lesson taught for the exhibitionists of the world to get off in public. Sexy is a message. And it’s most effective when written like a folded note in cursive, not planted on a giant billboard. No man wants what’s his to be sexy for everyone. He wants what’s his to be sexy for him. To look at him a certain way. To wear perfume right there, where he likes it. To tell him that love would never do without him. Not to tell him he better get his act together and get in line because everyone wants a piece.