Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “I’ve Never Been to Me”

I may have a different twist on the interpretation of the song, “I’ve Never Been to Me.” In the vein of classic 1970s’ schmaltz and histrionic lyrics, it is a story told by a woman who has not chosen to be a wife and mother trying to reassure a frustrated mom that her quiet, suburban life is the fulfilling one. But her list of globe-trotting adventures, concluded by a disappointing statement, “I’ve never been to me,” sounds more condescending than one of acquiescence. It sounds more like a checklist of bucket list adventures, not a call to find fulfillment by utilizing one’s womb. If I were that mom, I’d be contemplating my escape to Greece and finding a king who will undress me. I wholeheartedly disagree that going to paradise can’t take me to “me.” Oh, it can! Life is a banquet, after all. Do what makes you happy, whether that’s parenthood or traveling the world.

It’s a dated song with dated lyrics. Women aren’t confined to Madonna/Whore stereotypes anymore. But the fabulous drag queens of “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” give the song a contemporary, ironic meaning. Here we have a group of trans guys who are finding their paradise, living their truth, singing this song.

And now, I give you your Sunday ear worm, as sung by Charlene (1977) and performed by Terence Stamp as Bernadette in “Priscilla” (1994). Notice the contrast between the mundane bar patrons and workers versus her performing with utter drama queen abandon and self-love:

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