When I heard the news this morning, that Doris Day had died, my first reaction was, ‘Oh, that’s so sad’, and I put up a ‘Bon Voyage’ post.
I knew immediately which song video I wanted to include, because it has been a favourite of mine for decades.
A little while later I was listening to and watching the video again and I burst into tears, the big gut-wrenching sobbing kind of tears, but not, perhaps, for the reasons you might imagine.
When I was growing up, there were no songs about people like me. There were no movies, no TV shows, about people like me. There were books written about people like me, but the characters almost always went insane or died tragic deaths.
As I grew older I learned there was a large part of society, that I believed I was a part of, that wanted me dead too, or securely locked away from them, and at the least, to never be happy, never have a cultural identity, to never live freely, and most importantly never, ever, fall in love. (that part of society never goes away. Sometimes they’re able to butcher us with impunity and sometimes their brutalities are censured, but they never, ever, leave us alone)
Isolated from each other by all aspects of mainstream cultural expressions, we found our voices elsewhere. We started writing and singing and recording our own songs about women loving women. We started writing and publishing our own stories about women loving women. (mostly with happy endings, because we desperately needed to know that is was possible, but occasionally an unhappy ending, because we never fooled ourselves into believing that ‘happily ever after’s’ existed all the time)
And every now and then, there came from the mainstream, moments that called to us out of the relentlessly heterosexual cultural offerings, and we saw our Selves, inside the dialogue and characters of television shows and movies and books, and inside the lyrics of songs. (a secret code, like that ‘certain smile’ we give each other when we pass each other on the street)
Some of those songs became our cultural anthems, to be shouted from the rooftops, with all the anger and rage and passion we could muster. Some we danced to late at light in underground, and illegal, nightclubs, and in our living-rooms, because sometimes that was the only safe place where we could gather. And sometimes we cried them into our pillows, holding on to them for dear life. And sometimes our friends and lovers played then at our funerals. (or at the wakes we held because the ‘blood’ family wouldn’t allow us to attend the funeral)
‘Secret Love’ was one of those songs, of course it was. (pretty much the entire movie was, actually)
A bonus video, because I’ve had a good cry, and it’s time to smile and remember the good times.
This scene happens before ‘Calam’ rides out in her bright-and-shiny buckskins, a’singin’ and a’ridin’ along. You put the two songs together and wadda you got? A secret love that’s no secret anymore.