Christine Macdonald

Author. Speaker. Recovering Narcissist.

Christine Macdonald

Christine Macdonald
Southern, California, USA
November 09
Contributing author of The Moment (Harper Collins). Former stripper, current writer working on forthcoming memoir Pour Some Sugar On Me: Tales from an Ex-Stripper. Activist. Public Speaker. Survivor.


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Editor’s Pick
APRIL 14, 2011 7:49AM

Madonna: my personal timeline

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The first time I heard Madonna sing she was telling me to get up and do my thing. I was 14 and dancing with Mitch Ruben, one of my many high school crushes. We were barefoot, dancing on the grass in the back yard of Lori Morgan’s house. I couldn’t make eye contact so I just swayed to Madonna’s "Everybody", looking at the clouds, the grass, the sky, my feet. My mouth closed, I traced my braces with the tip of my tongue underneath my upper lip, snapping my fingers and feeling alive in a very self aware, butterfly-stomach-y way. High on hormones and Fresca, I lost myself in the lyrics: Let the music take control / Find a groove and let yourself go / When the room begins to sway / You know what I'm trying to say.

By the time high school graduation rolled around, I was in a slew of 17 year old Madonna Wannabes donning a forearm full of black rubber bracelets, fake rosary beads and lace headbands. The song “Holiday” became my personal anthem, living with the notion I needed a break from the anguish of everyday teenage life.

In my 20s I danced to “Like a Prayer” as a stripper without once thinking of the irony; if Madonna could burn crosses in her video, surely a naked dancer could give the pole a spin. “Vogue” was another stripping favorite of mine. I posed on stage like I was in one of her videos, letting my body groooove to the music.

After seeing the documentary Truth or Dare, my Madonna obsession escalated. When rubbing elbows with the other club-hoppers in Waikiki, I wore fishnet tights complete with hot pants and a black, mesh body suit with a black bra underneath.  

A couple years later I met one of Madge’s back up dancers at a club. I took it as a personal omen that he was coming on to me and slept with him almost immediately. After the walk of shame in his hotel (a scene completely reminiscent of "Justify My Love"), I phoned my best friend (a gay dude, naturally) and we giggled for hours.

After an earth shaking heartbreak in 1998, I shed countless tears to "Power of Goodbye" – only to feel cleansed and stronger after repeating her lyrics: Freedom comes when you learn to let go / Creation comes when you learn to say no / There's no greater power than the power of good-bye. She just got me.

I’m now in my early 40s and, although my wild days are behind me, I am still influenced by Madonna. On the treadmill I think of her toned body as I try and visualize my old stripper-self underneath the coat of cellulite and body fat. “Jump” reminds me to focus: I haven’t got much time to waste, it’s time to make my way. And I push myself just a little bit harder.

To some, she’s too radical. Others may say she’s tired, but for me, she’ll always be part of my pop culture DNA; an artist who weaved her way through the fabric of my self-evolution timeline without ever missing a beat.


 A clip from Truth or Dare (1991)

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Camille Paglia, one of my favorite writers, adores Madonna as the symbol of the strong woman in control of her body and soul. Camille feels that the strong vibrant expression of the body and life has been lost in American culture, but lives again as Daniela Mercury the Brazilian dancer.
This used to be my playground (used to be)
This used to be our pride and joy
This used to be the place we ran to
That no one in the world could dare destroy
Paglia says she is the "true feminist", exposing
the puritanism & suffocating ideology
of American Feminism,
which is stuck in ad-
olsecent whining mode...

she "introduced ravishing visual beauty
and a lush mediterranean sensuality
into parched, pinched, word-drunk
anglo saxon feminism.."

one never forgets the music from the days
when eye-contact was impossible,
frozen in a lush useless body,
swaying to music coming
from inside one's own

for me it was Dylan.

eventually she becomes you,
and you soulfully own every song.

the real Madonna is "immaterial" (ha)..
who cares about her, in person?
the music is yours,
it was her gift.
YES! Nice article. I was a newly wed when Madonna came to be. She was different and a great dancer. I always enjoyed "You Must be An Angel" and "Papa don't Preach"
"Freedom comes when you learn to let go / Creation comes when you learn to say no / There's no greater power than the power of good-bye"

Hard words to live by but they are so true.
This was fun and so well written! Loved it!
Bittersweet memories, Christine...I'm a little older...48...but I have fond memories of Madonna and the music of that time...xox
Me too!!!! My whole early womanhood was defined by Madonna songs,and the image of Madonna taking total control of the sexual political stage. This post was awesome. r
We heart Christine, Madonna too.
Write about what you know! You are really on a roll these days ...

You might be surprised, I have 2 Madonna stories:

1. The big Rolling Stone article that helped her go mega was mostly written on the North Shore ... she slept through a number of the Pro Surfing Tour, and a few of the Blackshorts too ... way to go, Vince!

She did it like a guy would, like Mae West ... and girls have every right ... way to go Dennis Rodman!

I was surfing the Country and my first wife arrived at the beach to take us home ... Lucky Star came on the radio, just as we came over Mililani and the Sun started to go down over 3 volcanoes- Salt Lake, Punchbowl and Diamond Head, and I saw the rays of gold through my darlings beautiful hair, she turned, and they reflected off her so bright smile, and, I was in that moment that happiest man in the Universe.

Glad you got back to the Islands; hope you enjoyed the new Waikiki!
Thank you for the lovely comments! It was a fun memory-project to write about...
Touching article. Madonna inspired me as a tireless artist always awake in her artistic pursuits. A non-stop energy source.
Great piece - as always, Christine. And congrats on TWO editor picks in a row!!!
What a wonderful story! Our little boy, just barely walking, loved to dance to "Everybody." I'm glad you did too, and took Madge with you as you grew into your own self.
I still think Madonna is an awesome talent.
So glad to read I'm not alone. I spent probably my whole teenage life asking myself "what would Madonna do?" at critical stages. Can't imagine who would've been a more life affirming role model than Madge. Thanks for the lovely piece.