Learning the news about David Bowie’s death was like watching a part of my childhood die. A magical, makeup and tight pants-wearing part.
As a small child, Labyrinth was my jam. Along with other “weirdly dark movies for kids” such as Return to Oz and The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth presented us with our first glance at what would forever be known as “The Bowie Bulge.” Those tight gray pants Bowie wore were more than just a costume choice – they were an eye-opening look at something a bit more queer than we were used to in 80s kids’ entertainment.
The strange attraction/repulsion that Sarah (Jennifer Connolly) feels towards Gareth (Bowie) was at turns puzzling and completely understandable. While the five-year-old me couldn’t fully grasp the notion of being hot for the bad guy, I could definitely admire his haughty accent, his glittering makeup and his aforementioned Very Tight Pants.
Due entirely to his role in Labyrinth, David Bowie has always held the spot as my very first crush as well as my most hilariously uncomfortable one. I distinctly remember telling my first grade teacher that I was going to marry him and we were going to live in the Labyrinth together, because “He’s not really a bad guy, he just plays one in the movie.” I guess I had reality at least halfway nailed down.
David Bowie’s music alone could fill up my heart a hundred different ways, including the songs from Labyrinth, which a lot of die-hard rock dudez are quick to tell you are his “worst.”
The role that I think Bowie should most be praised for is representing to a whole generation of children the notion that you could be hot and androgynous. You could wear makeup and woo the most beautiful women in the world. You could be bisexual and not fuss about it. You could be a rock star and a movie star and a Goblin King. You could be a little bit queer and still be relevant, sexy, a rock genius and cool as fuck.
The other week I made his Labyrinth picture my cover photo on Facebook. I didn’t know his birthday was coming, nor his death. In a conversation with a friend, I made a quip about my sexual orientation being “David Bowie.” That one stands.
Rest in Peace, Goblin King.
“How you turn my world, you precious thing…”