(In honor of Mr. Manilow’s birthday and today’s WCAP discussion, dusting off this confession from a couple years back)
My name is Frank and I am a FANILOW.
What is a Fanilow?
Urban dictionary simply defines this term as follows:
1. Fanilow (FAN – A – LO)
Noun: A Barry Manilow fan. Thus, fanilow.
“Frank is a Fanilow and giant, raging closet queen.”
I added that last part of the sentence.
True? You betcha!
Once again, I am reluctantly sharing another of my guilty pleasures with the world for your amusement. Unlike previous guilty pleasures I have described in the past, this one snuck up on me. Like the rest of you (whether you are being honest with yourself or not) I enjoy a few things in my life that I would just assume no one know about. However, most of those pleasures have been a part of my little personal secret for some time. This Manilow thing has taken me by surprise, but I have to face a bitter truth about myself.
I am a Fanilow.
I am trying to identify exactly when this metamorphosis occurred? I attribute it to a few recent episodes.
• The Tour. The Brooklyn, New York native (born Barry Allen Pincus – bet you didn’t know that? Why? You are clearly not a Fanilow) is currently touring across the U.S. and has an upcoming stop in neighboring Worcester, MA (nope, have no bought tickets…YET). With all of the commercials on both radio and T.V., The man who Writes the Songs that make the (nearly middle aged straight men cry) subconsciously slipped into my brain.
• Easy Access. My wife is a quasi-uncommitted-Fanilow but she does own his Greatest Hits album which resides in her car. Once when I happen to be the one carting my three (soon to be disgraced by their father) children on the weekends, I noticed the CD was playing when I started up that family wagon. Didn’t think much of it at first, but I also noticed I did not shut it off or even turn it down despite my kids plea to listen to some other annoyed pop crap. Kids, when will they learn to appreciate true musical genius?
• Lyrics. What I never realized was that I have unknowingly been cataloging all of the lyrics to many of his hits over the years and I was belting out Mandy all the way to swimming lessons.
Close your eyes for a minute and picture this scenario (never mind, you are reading, how can you close your eyes).
A beautiful Saturday morning in Anytown, USA. Sun is shining. The sounds of children playing. Lawnmowers are starting up all over the neighborhood. Off in the distance you hear a strange sound. Faint at first, it slowly becomes stronger. All of sudden, you notice a car barreling down Main Street. But, what is the noise coming from this Mom Mobile? Is it singing? Can it be?
In a squealy baritone you can finally make out the words…
“Well you came and you gave without taking
But I sent you away, Oh Mandy!
Well you kissed me and stopped me from something
And I need you today, Oh….”
Oh crap. Yeah, that sound was ME. And as I pull to the stop light I quickly realized the four junior high school boys riding their bikes are hysterically laughing at me. As the light turned green I slowly pulled away to the sounds of their laughter and feelings of shame.
“Real slick pal! Might as well change the name of the song to ‘Randy’, Liberace! Maybe next week you can just fly the kids to their lessons on your Fruity Fairy Wings? You are disgusting! ”
How did this happen? Without any scientific evidence to back me up I am fairly confident that 37 year old heterosexual married men are not Barry’s prime demographic?
I need a game plan to rid myself of this newfound guilty pleasure. I need to cleanse, dare I say exorcise, this demon of an affliction that has taken hold of me.
Maybe I should drink myself half blind like Lola did every night at the Copacabana, you know, the hottest spot north of Havana?
Perhaps I need a long quiet Weekend in New England to gather my thoughts and retake my manhood?
Maybe, just maybe, I will Smile (again) Without You, Barry?
I know for certain I am Ready to Take a Chance Again with my manhood.
Even Now, I just don’t know anything anymore, but hopefully by Daybreak I will have some answers to why this has all happened?
Will I Make it Through The Rain?
I just pray that I will be able to say that it Looks Like I Made It.
Whew. Enough with the bad references.
I need to take the ‘MAN’ in Manilow and self-apply; STAT. Maybe I’ll head to the store and pick up a few things to break this spell.
Let’s see. Case of Budweiser? Check.
Carton of unfiltered cigarettes? Check.
Old Spice deodorant? Check.
Wrangler Jeans? Check.
Copy of ‘Manilow: Live at Royal Albert Hall’. Che…
No. Wait. DAMNIT!!!
Thank you Frank, for joining me as we come out of the closet about this Manilow love affair!