Instant Pleasure (on Rufus Wainwright, Coffee, and Running Shoes)
Rufus Wainwright got married, and although all of the “No gay marriages for ANYBODY!” crowd called immediately for their fainting couches, the world continued to spin on its axis. Wainwright’s a (ridiculously) good singer, as evidenced by his cover of “Hallelujah” but what I like him for most is “Instant Pleasure.” You can find it below:
In the last Friday Jukebox that I wrote, a commenter objected to my celebration of Ween’s not-so-subtle lyrics. If those were a problem then surely what Wainwright’s doing here at the beginning counts as a war-crime.
“I don’t want somebody to love me,
Just give me sex whenever I want it…”
I know, I know: the great artists subtly bury their revelations, such that they’re constantly emergent. Or whatever. I’ve always enjoyed “Instant Pleasure” for abandoning the absurd artifice of much song-writing and getting right down to the immediacy of, “Sex now!” It’s so much better than wading through some songwriter taking four minutes to communicate precisely the same thing.
But there’s more to the song than that. There’s also this:
“If drinking coffee is your idea of really cool,
You can’t expect no crazy chick to notice you…”
I’m never entirely certain of what Wainwright means here. I just assume he’s disgusted with the coffee hipster community although I struggle to analyze lyrics. There are a lot of different ways to make a cup of coffee after all; leave me alone about there being a right way to do things.
Speaking of the right way to do things, I innocently requested last night that my friends talk me out of barefoot running shoes, mostly because I’m not entirely certain that I want to blow $100+ on shoes that might be a terrible idea. What came back at me was more than feedback; it was recommendations about how to get into the barefoot running lifestyle. Which I’m not interested in.
And not only because saying something like, “I’m living the barefoot running lifestyle now…” gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies. It is also because the recommendations about doing this allegedly minimal thing are so unbelievably complicated. In the last 24 hours, I’ve been told that I’ll run longer and better and healthier, just so long as I’m willing to pretend as though I’ve never run before, a charade that will require: learning an entirely new run, risking injury, attending classes, reading books, and purchasing new equipment. Of all of those, I’m interested only in that last option, but that’s simply because I need a new pair of shoes, not because I want to fundamentally rebuild the way I live my life.
I imagine society has always functioned this way, that humans have always insisted that the newest greatness excludes the previous greatness. So it is with running, which now has vocal barefoot adherents insisting that their way is best. As if something goes horribly wrong if not everybody is doing the same thing in precisely the same way. I have run up against this mindset in every single subculture I’ve dabbled in: running, coffee, tea, basketball, golf, writing, music, bread, etc. It has never made any particular sense to me. My most recent understanding of these attitudes is one of people needing the structure to have success within the activity, but that might be me justifying things more than anything truly accurate.
Which, conveniently, brings me back to “Instant Pleasure” from earlier:
Think that all these folks get laid?
Do it cause their pain is great?
What you thinkin’ anyways?
Again, Wainwright might be singing abut something else, but what I hear is a man recommending personal happiness as a doorway to confidence. As I finish this, it dawns on me that the explanation might not be structure; it might simply be that people are happy assuming both their own superiority and that others are doing it (whatever “it” is) incorrectly.