Got A Crush On: Ani DiFranco
Probably hundreds of people will claim reigning emotional resonance over each one of Ani DiFranco’s songs. That’s okay. I remember this one.
“Untouchable Face” (from Dilate) — I was 16 years old and having an affair with a married man who lived on the West Side of town. Having a strictly enforced midnight curfew (most likely an effort to deviate me from situations just like this one), I had snuck out to meet him and was now, very sleepily, making my post-4am way home.
In the typically scrambled fashion of any hastily executed sexual encounter, I was feeling both happily sloppy and stupidly smug. Being “the other woman” seemed glamorous and adult — an oddly aerial view of maturity, wherein I had all the access without having to engage in any of the emotional trauma or difficulty of love. I thought I had preserved my right to Be My Own Person by ensuring the least, possible amount of emotional obligation. Also, it was “wrong,” and therefore abjectly thrilling.
I took a long, slow pull on my steering wheel, guiding the car left and away from his house just as this song came on the radio and I looked back up into my rearview mirror and at his house.
And then I was just alone. And dumb. And driving home at 4am on a school night. And alone, and not triumphant or free. The lesson was acute and came on hard. I didn’t know him, but he didn’t know me and he didn’t care to. Rather than freedom, I just felt overwhelmingly sad. But I listened to this song and I felt soothed.