When I Hear the Song “Sexual Healing”…


The floor falls out from under my sandals, which I actively chose to wear, and I land (thump!) on a soft, burgundy shag rug surrounded by dark wood walls.

Get up, get up, get up, get up. Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up.

Disoriented, I rub my eyes (Where are my Persols?) and snort-cough as I inhale a thick cloud of incense. Do I have an eye prescription anymore? Where are my sandals? Did a sphinx just run by? Are there snacks? I shake my head awake in confusion, but my dainty thin hair no longer wisps carelessly through the air as if it’s on the brink of falling out. I touch it in disbelief, as it, in afro, now spans for what seems like acres.


I rise, no longer in cut off jorts, but in a velvet green bell-bottom jumpsuit. My drug dealer boyfriend (totally sober though) Tim Meadows beckons me to the couch. I soul train dance over to his side, resting my fake nails on his airy cloud of chest hair, grab his silk shirt collar, and beckon him to the dance floor. A group of people dance into the room. One guy even starts breakdancing, like, right away. I spot Will Smith across the room, who shoulder-shrug points at me with an approving smile. I wink dramatically.

Suddenly everything’s alright. Mainly because of my jumpsuit. I’m also terrific at dancing.

Click here for an extended party playlist!



If I’m ever truly in the mood to barf, I’ll put on Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing.

Get up. Get up. Get up. Let’s make love tonight.

And then that synthy tempo comes on, odd unnatural pops and ticks, reminiscent of what I viewed as the coolest sound my Casio keyboard could make circa 1992. Suddenly I’m unwillingly whisked away to a time when I was just learning about love.

A twelve year old Melissa sits in the back seat of her mother’s car, bickering with her little sister, when Marvin comes on the stereo and the two of us get completely silent—giggling occasionally at the uninhibited use of the word “sexual” in a song.  My mom’s boyfriend starts crooning along, and reaches over affectionately to grab her hand. Their eyes meet briefly. My sister and I look at each other, our faces turn a pale shade of green at this open exhibition of lurve.


“CHANGE IT!” we shout, trapped in our seat belts as we cruise down the highway. It won’t go away. It won’t stop. And now, the song will forever remind me that my mother is a sexual being.

Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. It’s just a fact I would have to face some time, so it might as well be part of the soundtrack of my life.

20 years later it still burns. Sometimes one tiny memory can cause a life-long impact, especially when it is linked to a song. To combat the cringe I may have just induced, here is my playlist of feel good memories:

Happy Memories