Last fall my daughter and I had the spur-of-the-moment chance to go to a Topeka bar to listen to live music. Janiva Magness was performing with her band, billed as a blues singer. I had never heard of her, but I knew the bar owner by reputation. If someone was singing blues at that bar, it was good music.
I seldom frequent bars, and my daughter never goes into bars at all. It was out of our comfort zone so we agreed if it was full of drunk people, full of cigarette smoke, full of jerks, or any combination of those three factors, we would not stay, even if the music was great. We also agreed if the music was bad, we would leave immediately, even though I had purchased tickets.
As it turned out, we stayed until the music was over. No one was overtly drunk. No apparent jerks were in attendance. No smoking allowed. And Janiva Magness was g-o-o-d. Janiva took the stage dressed in high heels, a pencil skirt, and an expensive jacket. At first glance, she did not look much like a blues singer - more like a highly successful professional woman straight from the tenth floor office. She had short dark hair, and was wearing red lipstick. But, Janiva Magness could sing the blues.
After a couple of songs, she took her jacket off. If her singing had not already captured every man's attention in the room, her smooth white arms and attractive cleavage took care of any attention deficit males. Once her jacket was off, she started singing in earnest. Everyone in the room was blown away.
At the first break, she talked a little about the reality of being in her 50s. She held up her arm and showed everyone her sagging upper arms, making light of it, though all women know exactly how NOT funny those sagging upper arms are! It is just a fact of life that can only be remedied by unnatural and intense exercise, starvation, surgery - you know - crazy stuff!
Janiva warned that men need to beware of those arms because they belong to women who have seen everything and will no longer tolerate foolishness. She advised that the next time a cop pulls us over, we need to proudly hold our arms through the car window - she demonstrated - and make sure that cop gets a good, long look - (she shook her arm). Any man with any sense would get the hell out of there.
None of us want to see our arms fall, our throats sag, our faces wrinkle, but I realized something as I watched and listened to Janiva singing the blues. Women in their 50's are beautiful. They are real women. Janiva's arms were not unattractive in any way. Her softly lined face was beautiful. Any man in the room would have passed up every younger woman present to escort Janiva out for a late night drink.
See and hear Janiva here.
The song Janiva sang especially for the troops in Iraq. It brought tears to her eyes and ours.