Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Woman's Prerogative

Psych! You thought I learned "A Woman's Prerogative" today, didn't you?

Two thoughts immediately came into my head as I wrote that: 1) who says "psych!" anymore? and 2) how many people know that "A Woman's Prerogative" is actually a Mercer/Arlen song? From the musical St. Louis Woman, most famously done by Pearl Bailey. There is not too much info online about the song, but I just found an interesting article about the etymology of the phrase "It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind."

I would like to posit the possibly revolutionary hypothesis that it's a woman's prerogative to make up her mind in the first place.

Tonight I went to a friend's leaving drinks (a handily concise British phrase for the activity of eating/drinking with a friend who's about to leave town for an extended or indefinite period of time), and there I met Linda, a woman about my mom's age who moved to New York a couple years ago to pursue her lifelong dream of acting. She has raised a family, worked in the corporate world, cared for aging parents; she has survived cancer and surely numerous other challenges. She has the look and bearing of a woman who owns her actions and their consequences instead of the other way around.

I left tonight feeling grateful that I got to see my friend before she leaves for the other coast, and that I spent the evening in the company of people who - to riff on "Desperado" again - dare to choose their own prisons, instead of settling for the prison society chooses for them. I imagine some of Linda's friends and family thought she was crazy to leave the landlocked states for the income-gobbling but actor-friendly coasts. My own Aunt Linda chose to follow an artistic path and not to marry, and thus is alone, poor, and accustomed to her siblings' eyeball-rolling. She's kind of my hero. Certain members of my own closest circle have been, if not exactly frosty, less supportive than usual of my recent decision to risk being sentenced to the prison of walking through the world all alone.

But it is my prison, and my prerogative to choose it.

Um, so, like, songs and stuff...

I think I'm going to learn "Beautiful", written by Linda Perry and recorded by Christina Aguilera. I stumbled through it by ear once accompanying for a voice class, but I like the song and would like to know it better. It also makes for a little continuity, since I recently learned "What's Up", and Linda Perry was the lead singer for 4 Non Blondes. That's the best I can do for continuity right now - I am not going to beat myself up for lacking the mental bandwidth to plan songs ahead right now.

p.s. I couldn't find any online footage of Pearl Bailey doing "Prerogative", so I linked to a performance of Nat and me performing it a couple years ago at a cabaret show. This is not meant as a disclaimer, but my oh my how she and I have both grown in the past two years, artistically speaking.


  1. Kat, as long as you are making what you feel is the best decision you can for you, then I'm behind you. In fact, I'll probably even be behind you on the other decisions you make. Why? Because you're my friend, and one of the most awesome people I know. So here's my virtual, blog-comment support for you.


  2. Bah - blogger's pet! Got a lil somethin' on your nose there... ;o)