Okay, I know you just got here and just started reading this post, but I have to ask you to do something really important before you continue. Please, take a few seconds right now to Google the word “Fanilow.” It’s okay. Go on and do it. I’ll wait.
Are you back? Did you see it?
Did you see THIS!?
Yeah, that’s right fools—out of THE ENTIRE INTERNET, I’m the second thing that comes up when you search for “Fanilow.” Needless to say, I am very, very proud of this. It’s an even bigger feather in my cap than the “Big Boobs/Birdy Legs” award I won at Gamma Phi Beta’s Negative Body Image Night in 1990. Huzzah!
Of course, there are still a few haters out there, namely my husband. He just walked away mumbling something about “reevaluating his options” when I told him the big news. Whatever. See if I let him use my special Manilow pen and notepad ever again.
But do you know what this new, important status means? It means that I could totally strut around like a boss at the Manilow concert I went to in San Jose last Thursday night. I knew nobody else in the audience had a higher internet ranking than me. Of course, nobody else in the audience had mobility without the assistance of a motorized wheelchair or hair that wasn’t held onto their heads with an elaborate rope and pulley system, but that didn’t matter. I was certain that Barry would call me up on stage.
The lights dim as Mr. Manilow, resplendent in the pink sequined jacket with massive shoulder pads that Carol Channing apparently left him in her will, perches on a gold painted stool and purrs, “Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together as I now share a special spotlight dance with Google’s number two Fanilow search result, Wendi Aarons! Where you ats, baby? Where you and your dress cut downa there ats?”
Well, okay, so that shit didn’t happen. And Barry doesn’t talk like Cedric the Entertainer.
But despite my very enthusiastic and loud wailing of “Even Now” and all of the seductive herky jerky Gangnam-style moves I did to “Ready To Take a Chance Again,” Mr. Barry pretty much ignored me. Which I guess is understandable because he did seem a little winded from his multiple sparkly blazer changes. Plus I think his new hip was giving him trouble because his “Copacabana” pelvic thrusts weren’t as hot as usual. (Which didn’t stop the crazy menopausal crowd from losing their minds each time he did the ol’ Manilow bump ‘n grind. Or from screaming “Whoooooo!” after he sang the line “When can…I touch you?” during “Weekend In New England.”) (Hussies.)
My companions at the concert were Nancy Davis Kho (who wrote an excellent and hilarious review of the concert here that you need to read) and her lovely Manilow-loving friend Tiffany. Nancy has what is commonly referred to as “good” musical taste and had just seen that flash-in-the pan Bruce Springsteen three days earlier. The Manilow concert was just going to be a humorous chapter for her Midlife Mixtape book—nothing more. Here we are before the magic started in our twinsy jackets (please note the Barry Manilow International Fan Club pin on my lapel):
But after 90 minutes of singing, dancing and our own personal kick-line to “Can’t Smile Without You,” I’m pretty sure Nancy became a Manilow convert. “There’s no way you can embarrass yourself in this crowd!” she yelled in my ear as we watched a couple have a religious experience while genuflecting to Barry’s spraytanned face on the Jumbotron. “You can make a total ass of yourself and it’s okay!”
“I know!” I yelled back while shoving two glowsticks in my bra and dirty dancing to “Mandy” with an uncooperative female usher. “Isn’t it THE BEST!?” Then I apologized if my very loud singing in her ear was kind of off-key.
“KIND OF?” was Nancy’s reply, but I think she was just jealous that my singing voice has the beautifully unique sound of Bob Dylan after a tracheotomy.
Then, as we watched a glum mother/son duo wearing tutus over their jeans shake their hips and a threesome of painted-up women in cheap cocktail dresses and tiaras scream, “WE LUF YOU BARE-REE!” I finally told her the special, highly coveted Fanilow secret: No matter what, no matter where, no matter when, you’ll always be the youngest, hottest person at a Manilow concert.
Once the confetti cannon had blasted the crowd, the house lights had come up and most of the fans had zoomed their wheelchairs out of the building and into their waiting conversion vans, she found this out for herself. Trudging up the stairs to the arena’s exit, we passed a rough-trade Fanilow—dressed in painter’s pants and her newly purchased concert T, and sprawled over 3-4 seats while slurping on a giant soda—who suddenly became transfixed by Nancy. She smoothly gave my friend a long, approving look all up and down, then grinned and slowly drawled, “Hey, there. Look at you bein’ all classy!”
“Why, thank you!” Nancy responded, half flattered, half hoping she could outrun her admirer if it became necessary. Then she whispered, “Oh, my God! Did I just get hit on?” as we quickly pushed our way past a gaggle of bedazzled grandmas.
“Yes,” I told her. “You sure did. And I’d bet a million dollars that you didn’t get hit on at the Springsteen concert, did you? You made it through the rain, baby. You made it through the damn rain.”
So from all of us, thank you for a great night, Barry. It was truly wonderful.
Your #2 Fanilow Search Result, Wendi Aarons