John Taylor & Paul Reiser (Nice Guys, Redux)


I missed the memo about John Taylor & Paul Reiser.

(The devastatingly handsome John Taylor, whom I wanted to marry when I was 11; and the utterly adorable Paul Reiser, whom I wanted to marry once I wised up a bit.)

My dear childhood friend, Krista, and I were recently plotting to attend an upcoming Duran Duran concert.  Our friendship had been forged in our shared fanaticism for Duran Duran, which dates back to the early 80s.   She loved Simon LeBon with an unfathomable ardour, whereas John Taylor, with his highlighted hair, soulful brown eyes, and pouty lips…he was more my type. 

When we figured out that our schedules weren’t going to jive to attend a show together, I sent Krista this text message:   “Don’t stress…after JT, Paul Reiser was my next true love and his new show also premiers that night.  Stay home with you bebes; we’ll hit it next time!”   Apparently, this message was a bit confusing, as a few days later, Krista sent me this reply: “It has taken me several days to wrap my head around your Paul Reiser thing.  So now I must ask, how does one go from John Taylor to Paul Reiser?!?” 

I presume Krista meant no disrespect to Paul Reiser, but perhaps an explanation is in order.  I talked a bit before about how I had gotten a memo about nice guys from Alanis Morissette.  I apparently got another from Cosmo.  They once ran an article (described to great effect here) which identified that there are two kinds of husbands:  There’s the “boyfriend husband” and the “husband husband.”   These are fairly intuitive categories; the “boyfriend husband” is more of a bad boy, he doesn’t settle easily into domestic life, he keeps you guessing.   The “boyfriend husband” can be pretty exciting, but he can drive you crazy.  Whereas the “husband husband” is more fully committed, a bit more predictable, totally loveable and doesn’t make you nuts.  

When Paul Reiser’s hit show “Mad About You” premiered back in 1992, I remember watching him and Helen Hunt and thinking…”That…that’s what I want…I want a nice guy who loves me and makes me laugh a lot.”  Paul Reiser, as the character of Paul Buchman, was definitely a  “husband husband.”  I’m guessing that John Taylor, who is now a married man these days, is a perfectly good husband.  But I’m also guessing he’s a “boyfriend husband”—a globe-trotting pop star, recovered cocaine addict…yeah, definitely a  “boyfriend husband”.  

So instead of John Taylor, I married Paul Reiser, albeit in a slightly taller, slightly blonder, slightly more gentile incarnation.   He slays me with his silliness and I revel in his goodness. 

(My husband, whom I will not forsake, not even for John Taylor or Paul Reiser)

My “husband husband”  does indeed make me laugh a whole lot, and sorry JT, I love him more than I think I ever could have loved you.   Memo received. 

© 2011 Jamie Walker Ball

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Jason Mraz & Amos Lee


I missed the memos about Jason Mraz & Amos Lee

Thanks to my dad, I was raised on a steady diet of classic and Southern rock.  I still have lots of affection for Eric Clapton, Boston, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and lots and lots of Credence.  When I was about 10, it seemed time for me to cultivate my own musical tastes and coincidentally, that’s when the British New Wave came crashing upon our Yankee shores.

I spent my formative years swimming around in a soup of synth pop. (Kajagoogoo, anyone? Seriously.)  And my love for Duran Duran could not be fully expressed in words; it could only be expressed in tears.  So it was until my teen years, when the Seattle Sound started dominating the music scene.  I am just too damn perky for grunge, so I think that’s when I started tuning out. 

With the exception of the odd U2 or REM album, I’ve bought very little new music in the last couple of decades.  I just couldn’t find a way to connect to new artists.   It all just seemed like noise. More recently, I was beginning to fear that since the music seemed too loud, I was getting too old.  I even heard “Jessie’s Girl” on the oldies station, and that seemed like a sign from the radio gods that the world of new music might be closed to me forever. 

Just when I thought I was resigned to an iPod full of old favorites only, I got the memo about Jason Mraz.  I’m guessing Jason melted the hearts of many mommies when he appeared on Sesame Street; he certainly melted mine. 

And just recently I got the memo about Amos Lee.  He recently gave an interview on NPR (there goes NPR, enriching my life again) and as I listened, I was just delighted.  Take a listen…

I’m guessing most people don’t get that excited about “discovering” a new musician that they really like. But for me to connect with any artist from this millennium is a big deal. Seriously, I feel a bit like Captain Von Trapp once Maria thaws him out. 

When I hear a new song that strikes a chord, it’s kind of like falling in love. It’s a rush of excitement at the newness of it all, and it’s the intimacy of feeling like the singer somehow knows part of my life.  These days my ears and heart are open to lots of new music and while I’m sure my new favorites will eventually become old favorites, I hope I never stop having new favorites again.  Memo received.