Justify My Love

Being on the cusp of coming into my own as a full-fledged teenager, hormones raging and sexual awakenings, Madonna wasn’t doing anything to help make my journey through puberty an easy one. Whether it was having her Sex book wrapped in plastic and set behind the cash registers at the local Barnes & Noble or putting a video on MTV for “Justify My Love” that would only get played between the hours of 1 and 3 AM, my curiosity always seemed to get the best of me. Back then it was taboo and spoken about in hushed tones, now,  the stuff in the book and on the “Justify My Love” video seems tame compared to the stuff you see now on HBO Late Night.

On a trip to New York City, the family were about to see a Broadway show. We had gotten tickets at the TKTS place in Times Square and had some time to kill before the matinee. Being the despondent teenager I was, I would walk with the family a few steps behind occasionally chiming in to let them know I was still alive and to not leave me behind. My mecca at the time apart from the Mom & Pop CD stores that I occasionally came across was a bastion of commerce simply known as The Wiz. If you wanted a TV, refrigerator, or whatever…you went there. At home, they had one of the largest selections of CDs in the area and seeing how we were in one of the biggest cities in the world, I nearly had a wet dream right there in Midtown Manhattan when I rolled up on that familiar red logo.

I didn’t ask, I announced…”I’m going in here.”

Didn’t wait for a response. I was already 9 feet in the door before I turned around to see if I was followed.

“We’ll wait for you by the door. You’ve got 10 minutes and then we’re…” My Dad’s voice faded.

I looked for rare CDs I thought would be there but it was all stuff that I could find back home or had very little interest in. I got that familiar feeling of needing to buy something or I would regret passing up the opportunity. Then I saw the display.

It was a life-size cutout of Madonna in a leather vest, arms folded and a cigarette hanging from her open lips. To her right was the CD Maxi-Single of “Justify My Love” and to her left was the VHS copy of the video that was only rumored to play after midnight on MTV. It wasn’t behind the counter like the Barnes & Noble, no, it was right there in front of me. I already had The Immaculate Collection, so I didn’t need the CD, but I loved a good remix. I grabbed both the CD and the VHS and made my way up to the counter. I don’t remember if the clerk was male or female, young or old, human or alien. I just remember thinking about what to say if they asked me how old I was. At that age, I was used to the Barnes & Noble clerks asking me if I was over 18, but the stress was all for nought. They put my purchases in a plastic bag, took my $20 I earned from mowing the neighbor’s yard and yelled, “Next!”

That was it. I was home-free or so I thought.

Being concerned parents that they are, or just feigning interest, my Dad asked me, “What did you buy?”

I showed him a peek inside the bag and he good-naturedly said, “If you wanted a porno, there’s better stores around here for that.”

1.Justify My Love [Q-Sound Mix]4:58
2.Justify My Love [Orbit 12" Mix]7:19
3.Justify My Love [Hip Hop Mix]6:35
4.Express Yourself [Shep's 'spressin' Himself Remix]9:34
5.Justify My Love [The Beast Within Mix]6:13