Superstition, black cats and voodoo dolls

Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca poses many questions. What colouring pencils did Martin have as a child, for instance. Were his childhood daubs peppered with girls with “devil red” lips and bodies drawn in the colour mocha? But I am preoccupied by one line in particular:

“She’ll make you take your clothes off and go dancing in the rain”

Two scenarios present themselves:

a) You’re in the living room, and the woman suggests you take off your clothes. Fantastic, you think, I had my suspicions from the colour of her lips that she would be up for a bit of rumpty-tumpty. “Right,” she says. “Now go outside and dance.” Well, look, I’d rather not. It’s raining. Are you coming as well? “No. Now move it, pendejo, or there will be no sex for a month.”

b) You’re in the bedroom, and the evening is going well. “Take off your clothes,” she says. Here we go, here we go, you think. “I’m going out now,” she says. “See you later.” What? Why? “To dance. In the rain. Adios.”

I’m struck by the thought that there are two types of people in this world: those who believe that she makes you take your clothes off and makes you go dancing in the rain, and those who prefer that she makes you take your clothes off and goes dancing in the rain herself. Which are you?

Of course, the Livin’ La Vida Loca dichotomy is not the only way of dividing society. There is also the division between those who think the world can be divided into two types of people, and everyone else.

13 Responses to “Superstition, black cats and voodoo dolls”

  1. Tom L Says:

    You’re being too pasty-faced and English about this. Our idealised South American setting isn’t like Cleethorpes. Generic Latino Party Suburb has three features which we don’t really find here in the UK:

    1) A warm climate
    2) 24 hour ubiquitous soft lighting
    3) People who actually enjoy, and are relatively proficient at dancing

    Therefore, I think that a third interpretation presents itself: can it be read to mean, “We’ll both take our clothes off and we’ll dance together in the warm rain because the weather’s toasty, the lighting’s pastel and won’t show my double chin and cellulite, and we’ll actually enjoy ourselves, looking damn good whilst we do it”?

  2. pouletnoir Says:

    If that’s what he meant, he should have said so. At no point does Martin suggest that she is naked. As far as we have been told, she is still wearing her twinset, tweed skirt and brown tights.

  3. Tom L Says:

    Martin gives us some clues about to her sartorial habits. First of all, she lives the mad life “inside out”, suggesting that, like Superman, she wears her knickers on the outside of her tweed skirt. I expect this would look rather out of place in Generic Latino Party Suburb. Further, if she’s into black cats, I think she would have to avoid light colours or the kind of wool garments which collect cat hair like a baby wrapped in double sided sticky tape. So, at least that rules out twinsets.

  4. Tom L Says:

    Evidence for my third way, at 2:46 here. It’s both of them. Dancing together. In the rain. However, he appears to be fully clothed, despite claiming to be under some pressure to remove his garments.

  5. pouletnoir Says:

    That scene must be referring to something else. They are both clothed. And, more to the point, they are not dancing in the rain, but in the spray from a burst fire hydrant.

  6. Tom L Says:

    What else could it refer to? It’s clearly a man and a woman dancing together, suggesting that the “take your clothes off” part is more wishful thinking on Martin’s part. Furthermore, in saying “rain” Martin doesn’t preclude the kinds of downwards falling water not that precipitated naturally through the Bergeron process.

  7. pouletnoir Says:

    Rain is rain. Spray is spray. If he meant “she’ll make you take your clothes off and go dancing in the spray” then he should have said so. There is nothing normative about “she’ll make you take your clothes off”, either.

  8. Tom L Says:

    The explanation’s obvious: he made a poetic trade off. Of course, he could have said “dancing in the spray”, but then he’d be severely constrained in describing her other characteristics:

    “She’ll make you take your clothes off, and go dancing in the spray,
    she’ll make you live the crazy life or she’ll take away your tray,
    like a bullet through your stray (cat)”

    Now, it’s not really that exotic to be viewed as the kind of woman who would scupper your TV dinners and murder your adopted cat. So, Martin thought, “Let’s ignore the pedants” and plumped for “rain” as an all encompassing term.

  9. pouletnoir Says:

    I think that version of the song is far superior, but even if it weren’t, there are plenty of other variations, viz

    She’ll make you take your clothes off and go dancing in the spray/
    She’ll make you live the crazy life like a horse that’s going “neigh”/
    Like a reindeer with a sleigh
    (Come on)

    That’s the beauty of the crazy life. It doesn’t need to make sense. Martin must have realised this himself, given that a “bullet to the brain” is not a traditional prescription for pain relief.

  10. Tom L Says:

    “Martin must have realised this himself, given that a “bullet to the brain” is not a traditional prescription for pain relief.”

    I fear that in some circles, sacrificing a cat might be though …

  11. pouletnoir Says:

    I’ve never been to Haiti, but I am firmly of the opinion that cat sacrifice is very much the prescription for headaches and neuralgia. I do not consider it a conincidence that they are also into supersition, black cats and voodoo dolls.

  12. A romantic girl Says:

    People shouldn’t thin so much about a song. You just have to leave yourself and feel the song as well as Martin did.I think “She’ll make you take your clothes off and go dancing in the rain” means that you there should be a woman that means so much for you that you would be ready to take your clothes off and go dancing in the rain for her.

  13. pouletnoir Says:

    All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to ignore song lyrics, as Edmund Burke would have said, had Ricky Martin not waited until 202 years after Burke’s death to release the song.

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