Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My date with Jon Bon Jovi (!?!)

Bon Jovi circa 1986Image by smiteme via Flickr
I was going to save writing about my blind date with Jon Bon Jovi until next week when GLEE will be covering Livin' On a Prayer, but there is no time like the present. (And I can't stop thinking about how I always wanted to cover that song in my cabaret show.)  I haven't thought about this event in a long time, but nostalgia came flooding back after watching Glee's Rocky Horror episode.  I could fill a book with stories from RH - however, my 12 hours with Jon chose to come to the front and center of my memories instead.

Flash back 25 years . . .

It was the end of 1985. My pal Jodi needed to bring a "friend" on her date with the lead guitarist from a metal hair band in New Jersey, because he was also bringing a "friend" - the singer for the band. Would I step in?

Groan. Metal Hair bands were so not my thing, but it was Jodi - she was older and cooler, and she could have asked anybody else, but she asked me, and I was just a senior in high school. It was right before Christmas vacation and I was flying out the next night to see my parents in San Francisco. I lived at the YWCA in the village and they had a curfew, so she said that I could sleep over at her house in the East 20's.

Jodi was 23 - a wall street broker by day, and a hair-sprayed mohawk diva by night. We had met the year before at Danceteria, both of us attracted to this idea of a double life: the good girl/bad girl. I don't know why I didn't think metal was cool, but I didn't. You would think, from admiring Tim Curry's fabulous flamboyancy that it would be the organic progression, but I went more towards Goth and an obsession with Robert Smith and The Cure. (Shudder. Sorry Mr. Smith!) And I don't think I even asked the name of the band because I wouldn't have known anyway.

We went to a party in Chelsea to meet the guys. I wore a black vintage flapper dress that I had bought at Unique Boutique, my red hair sprayed into a flat-top, pale face, red lipstick. Jodi had sprayed her hair into a mohawk, and looked like a dominatrix. I was nervous walking into the party, I must admit. Everybody was so much older than me! There was no mistaking them - two tall skinny dudes in black leather pants and tremendously big hair. Jodi's date had black hair, and mine sported the dirty blonde shag that became famous in the '80's. Jon put me right at ease. He was warm person, and didn't feel the need to put on any act. We didn't stay at the party very long - they wanted to go to the hot new club - the Palladium (where I later worked after graduating from high school). I remember thinking to myself that their band must be pretty successful because they splurged on lots of champagne. Jodi and her date separated themselves from us and Jon and I talked the whole evening. We didn't even dance - just found a quiet corner. I don't think I'd ever talked to a boy that much before! He had just seen The Young Sherlock Holmes and loved it. Perhaps that is my strongest memory . . . just a really nice, down to earth guy.

We all went back to Jodi's in the middle of the night and I felt safe with Jon - we just cuddled - and I got on the plane to see my family in San Francisco. Of course, all that week I thought about Jon 24/7. Maybe we would go out again!

In January I ran into him at Danceteria, with another girl on his arm - but the look he gave me was so sweet and apologetic, I forgave him instantly. It wasn't meant to be - I was only a senior in high school, and I started dating the lead guitarist for a ska band, which was mush more my style of music, really. At some point that year - 1986 - I was watching MTV and a video came on - Livin' On a Prayer. Could that be? No! I reached for the phone and called Jodi - were those guys we went out with - were they Bon Jovi? She laughed and said yes. Now, I only have her word for it. What do you think?
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  1. What a life! That's a great story, Lena! And I didn't know you were so into clubbing. I had a double life too, in SF - paralegal by day, clubber at night (only on weeknights, each night a different club....)

  2. Yes - I've been a bit nervous about making that "public" - but that was indeed part of my life! And You too? Oh my!

  3. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! Lena, I am all a flutter reading about this. Holy crap. You. cuddled. with. Jon. Bon. Jovi. I'm as excited about this as if we were both seventeen and you were just telling me about what happened last night. Does that make me a nerd? Perhaps. Does this reveal my fan love for the JBJ (I almost typed LBJ--freudian slip???). Definitely. Thank you for sharing such a fun story . . .

  4. JBJ will always have a place in my heart! And the "girl on his arm" was probably his wife - who he's been with since high school. It's so good that I had no idea about any of this then!

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