The Women Who Love Bruce Springsteen and The Men Who Love Them For It
Upon learning the winner of the recent Asbury Park Press contest to find Bruce Springsteen’s biggest fan in the Garden State was a fresh-faced, 24-year old beauty, it got me thinking more about the women who Bruce sings about in his songs and just how alright his male fans view them.
Fanwood, New Jersey’s Kelly Magnus, with her flowing, dark brunette locks and infectious smile, could easily be Mary, Wendy, Rosie, Sandy or Janey- the core female characters that drive Springsteen’s greatest songs. These are the intoxicating women that Bruce and many other men would Drive All Night “just to buy” them “some shoes and “to taste” their “tender charms.”
As a single man, I’ve had countless discussions with my male friends about whether or not I could actually be with someone who was not “into” Bruce. I imagine many female Boss-centric fans out there feel the same about the men they date or even marry. I always scratch my head at the coupled fans I meet whom are not with a partner that share their bonafide Boss obsession. To all the devoted tramps like us, Bruce defines who we are- how we think- how we love- how we dream. I tell people all the time, male and female, if you don’t like Bruce, you’re probably not going to like me either.
Chemistry is not an easy thing to create, but whenever I meet a fellow tramp, I feel an instant connection. Nothing needs to be said or explained. We both just know it. I’ve met a lot of wonderful woman over the years because of Bruce- and together, we share an unbreakable passion- which, on occasion, has led to an intimate passion between us.
Despite the machismo and predominantly male audience often associated with Bruce, those who “get it” understand there’s a sensitive, underlying romanticism behind his songs and lyrics. Bruce enriches our soul and strengthens our hearts. He offers us a Reason to Believe and he makes us dream of a brighter tomorrow. A close Bruce bud once remarked to me, “If I could find a woman to light up my life like Bruce does, then I’d be the happiest guy in the world.” Amen.
If there’s one Springsteen song that perfectly captures the “magic in the night” it’s Thunder Road.
To me, Thunder Road isn’t just the greatest rock song ever written- it’s also the most romantic. Not only do the first two lines set the tone, they represent everything that matters- song, dance, dreams and a vision of love and romance…
“The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays”
Bruce asks “Mary” to believe in him, just as all men who have asked a woman for a chance…
“Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night”
Later, Bruce details his dream and the happiness that awaits them both…
“…roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
Well, the night’s busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back, heaven’s waiting on down the tracks”
Laying all his cards on the table, Bruce warns the ride will not be easy…
“And my car’s out back if you’re ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door’s open but the ride ain’t free
And I know you’re lonely for words that I ain’t spoken
But tonight we’ll be free, all the promises’ll be broken”
As the song concludes, Bruce implores “Mary” one last time to join him on his journey- because together, there’s nothing they can’t do.
“So Mary, climb in
It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win”
I’ve listened to Thunder Road hundreds of times and I still get goosebumps every time I hear it. I was lucky enough to see Bruce with the E Street Band in Milan, Italy in 2013, a city whose love is as real as it gets. Bruce ended the show with a magnificent solo acoustic version of TR and I happened to be standing next to this Italian who knew every word and every heartbeat, as he embraced his girl throughout the song. Yes, grown men weep at a Bruce Springsteen show.
Ladies, I’m hear to tell you men do care…at least the ones who care about The Boss do.
So, to all….
“…the Girls in their Summer Clothes
In the cool of the evening light”
“Meet me Out in the Street”
“Pour me a drink Theresa” (I’ll Work for Your Love)
“Love me tonight, and I promise I’ll love you forever.” (Sandy)
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Here’s a collection of photos of some of the women who smile because of Bruce; and in turn, make me smile too. To all of you who illuminate the Night you’ll never have to work for my love, you already have it.
“Some sweet day I’ll make her mine Pretty Flamingo
Then every guy will envy me
Cause paradise is where I’ll be”
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I’ve recently become somewhat of an internet sensation after taking a photo with Bruce’s daughter, Jessica, in the pit, in Fort Lauderdale. It was totally a spontaneous moment. I noticed her earlier in the show and just as “Dancing in the Dark” started, I had a sudden inspired thought to go ask her to dance- on stage. I knew if I made a sign that caught Bruce’s eye, he’d either laugh it off and motion “No way!” or make it happen because of the outrageousness of the request. Serendipitously, there was a discarded sign at my feet and my buddy had a sharpie on him. I quickly scribbled my dance request and held it up. The tramps around me thought it was hilarious and encouraged me to go closer to the stage, but I had another idea. I headed right to Jessica. As I approached, I wondered if I’d still be as courageous if she said, “Yes. let’s do it!” because then I’d have to live out this bold fantasy in front of 18,000.
Fuck it- let’s go.
When I reached Jess at the back of the pit she was surrounded by friends. I just walked right up to her, smiled and held my sign out. I said nothing. She laughed immediately, as did her friends. She seemed pretty flattered and was very cool about the whole thing. I tried to get her to come forward with me to get her Dad’s attention, but I think it was a little too much for her. That- and she was with her boyfriend, a polo playing dude with a 1,000 horses or something. Her girl friend told her to take a pic with me, which is the one below that’s been shared all over the Net.
A friend of mine joked I’m only about 100 horses or a PowerBall lottery away from dancing with her, much less dating her- but hey, a guy can dream right? And isn’t that what her Dad asks us to do? Dream Baby Dream. For one brief moment, Jessica was my Pretty Flamingo.
…..and speaking of daughter’s. At the Atlanta show, I met two separate Father/Daughter teams who were both huge fans. Here’s one of them.
Prior to playing The River album, Bruce explains how, by the time he turned 30, he was looking for a way to connect and develop meaningful relationships. And that’s how the songs of The River came to be. It’s about life and relationships and love. So in that spirit, Meet Me in the City and Out in the Street…and in the PIT! But, you’ve been warned- I may just develop a Crush on You.