My Mom Explains Her Eternal Crush on Prince

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Whenever I ask my mother to tell me about who was hot when she was growing up in the ’80s, she and my aunt go off about Prince. And, I have to confess, I never quite got it. After he died last week, I called her up and asked her to momsplain his sexual allure once and for all. Although she was coy for the most part (and hardly mentioned his baby-making tunes), she did emphasize his beautiful skin.

I’m still crying thinking about it.

I was about 14, 15 — he was only seven years older than me, which didn’t seem that old. Teen magazines were very popular, and everybody waited to buy Teen Beat and Tiger Beat every week because they had posters of the heartthrobs. For Purple Rain, the album came with a poster. I had it on my wall, next to my bed.

What attracted me to him was the fact that he had a very beautiful skin tone, his complexion. I don’t know about in person, but in the magazines … His features were very exotic. The Afro, it was in style, but his was different — it was bigger. Michael Jackson had a small Afro. Prince’s Afro looked processed recently; back then it was natural hair, and it looked better. It was coarse and full — like Grandma’s was.

My parents didn’t think it was scandalous that I liked him, even though he was very sexual. Everyone was into it. My mother dressed almost the same as him. It was the era. Everyone was so much into fashion; it was outrageous.

He used to be very bold in terms of his outfits. He’d wear a crop top showing his chest. Only those considered to be hippies wore crop tops, like Earth, Wind & Fire — but theirs weren’t as revealing as his. His were very low cut. Or he would wear a black turtleneck, which was really sexy, too. Everything was exaggerated. If ruffles were in style, he would wear them extra and still look good. It wasn’t like he looked weird; he looked great. He appeared to be very confident in everything he wore. Most musicians were always in suits. He’d wear those, too, but then he’d come out with no shirt on, or wearing necklaces. Very bohemian — not everybody did that. He would wear these bell bottoms with a really tight butt, which was the style, but then with no shirt.

The Purple Rain movie was a love story about a struggling artist, which was attractive.

There weren’t real guys trying to act and dress like Prince. He was my fantasy boyfriend. Nobody copied him because he was so extreme.

Nobody is like that nowadays. Miguel? No, there’s no way. Maybe not a male, but maybe Gaga. Of course I still found him attractive to his last days, especially when he became very spiritual. And the fact that he was very strongly against bootleg music. He didn’t care about the money; he cared about the principle, and I think that’s more attractive than anything else.