My best friend of more than a quarter-century seems like a normal guy. Married, mortgage, three kids, dogs. He's even an ordained minister, for Christ's sake! But beneath that placid exterior lies a raging (and heterosexual) Cyndi Lauper obsessive. He checks her Web site daily, endlessly replays the chair-smashing team-up with Hulk Hogan and Mr. T from Wrestlemania II, and last year paid $70 just to see her open for Cher at the Woodlands, heading for the exits long before the headliner's first wig change.
Clearly, the appeal of the 50-year-old Queens native with the kewpie-doll voice stretches beyond '80s nostalgists. Sure, the orange-haired pixie was a staple of early MTV, romping with gal pals in "Girls Just Want to Have Fun " or getting ditched by that idiot trailer-park boyfriend in "Time After Time." And then there was that "She Bop" video, in which she cryptically advised women everywhere, to um, give themselves the finger, as it were. And while some decried her diluted new wave music and affected outfits, she actually proved herself a quirky and expressive belter. The better to showcase her chops, Lauper recently put out the standards-laden At Last.
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At that Cher show, my friend got to touch his idol when she wafted into the crowd during "True Colors." "It was," he told me, with appropriate gravitas, "the realization of an adolescent fantasy." He then made a sound like Homer Simpson ogling a warm virgin dozen of Krispy Kreme's finest. I think it would've scared Cyndi.