KISS: YOU WANTED THE BEST AND YOU GOT THE BEST

When I was a mere slip-of-a-lass, I was obsessed with only one thing: KISS. And when I say ‘obsessed’ I mean 100%, kissing the ground with hands extended, unashamedly devoted. It was as though I was following a religion that incorporated grown men wearing make up and stack-heeled boots, and I’d indoctrinated myself as a 12-year-old nun. It may sound like an embellishment, but I literally wrote out ‘I must meet KISS’ in excess of 3,000 times, scrawling that sentence over and over again until my fingers swelled to the size of Gene Simmons’ codpiece. I really did do this.

I was a card-carrying member of the KISS Army. I saw the KISS movie multiple times. I wore KISS make up whenever the opportunity presented itself, which was surprisingly often. I made KISS flags, should I ever find myself on a hill with nothing to wave. Humouring me, or perhaps worried for my sanity, my father chaperoned me to a KISS concert circa 1980, his fist firmly wedged beneath his chin as he prayed for the ground to swallow him whole. He even took me to Sydney Town Hall when KISS was presented with the keys to the city. I, of course, repaid him by passing a note to a friend at school, which included lewd comments concerning Gene Simmons’ tongue. The note was duly confiscated by a real-life nun who came complete with chin whiskers. She presented the note to the school principal who insisted I take it home for my parents to sign.My father responded by making me remove every KISS poster blue-tacked to my bedroom wall, which covered every square inch of space. My good friend Clay (more on him later), who is married to my good friend Cass, commented that my story read like the plot of a bad eighties coming-of-age movie. My God, he’s so right! It’s what the creators of Twisted Sister’s ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ undoubtedly had in mind when they drafted the treatment for the video, only my Dad is much less the antagonist. (If you’re familiar with the video, this is mildly amusing. I said ‘mildly’.)

But let’s cut to the chase … 30 years later. There I was last week, minding my own business and still carrying my KISS Army card around in my wallet (yes, really), when Clay asked if I’d like to attend KISS’ Sydney concert. See, Clay heads Gibson Guitars in Australia and is a die-hard fan too. He’d procured a spare ticket. Said ticket included an access all areas pass and a meet and greet. A. MEET. AND. GREET. My internal organs all but exploded from my eye sockets. Yes, Clay, YES! I MUST MEET KISS!

So suddenly, there I was in a room, awaiting my idols’ materialisation. Gene Simmons clomped in first and I chortled somewhat idiotically. Because it was him. Gene Simmons. For real. In the flesh. He commented, ‘Where is she?’ in reference to Paul Stanley (not me) and I guffawed like Gene Simmons was suddenly the funniest man Alive! And then, Paul Stanley minced in and I all but collapsed to the floor, a hyperventilating mess. To be clear, it was PAUL STANLEY. The Prince of Love. My childhood GOD! Within licking distance!

I attached myself to him as though I were a tumour growing from his chest.

And do you want to know the intricacies of our exchange? First of all, you’ll need to see this for reference purposes:

This is the cover of my favourite KISS album, ‘Love Gun’, the title being hilarious in itself. But see the nubile females writhing on the floor? They are to whom I referred. And here’s what I said:‘Oh Paul! I so want to be your Love Gun-bitch!’Yes, that’s what I said to my childhood hero as I clung to him as though I played Siamese twin to a transvestite. Paul responded only with a purse of the lips and a flick of the wig. I was confused. It was like he hadn’t quite understood what I’d said. It wasn’t long before I was prised from his chest and politely asked to depart.

But today I dissect our interaction, over and over again. Did Paul Stanley misunderstand me? Did he wrongly assume that I’d referred to him as a ‘bitch’, as in, ‘Oh Paul! I so want to be your Love Gun (comma) bitch!’ No, Paul! That’s not what I meant! I meant, ‘Oh Paul! I so want to be your Love Gun (dash) bitch!’ I’m the bitch, not you! And I’d never be so bold as to assume I could ever be your Love Gun.

Either way, I can’t tell you how exhilarating the experience was. Sadly, it was probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s like something open-ended finally reached its unholy conclusion. My work here is done.