Dear Miley Cyrus,
I understand that you are legally an adult now, and want to sow your oats/express yourself/get in touch with your sexuality in a public forum to become more memorable as an artist.
I have the pressing need to tell you that you absolutely do not have to finger yourself with a foam #1 onstage while wearing flesh-toned latex underwear to be memorable.
You have other options.
Lady Gaga — only four years older than you — opened the MTV VMAs with a routine that included her being undressed and dressed and undressed again by a gang of spandexed men, which resulted in her dancing in the spotlight donning nothing but a flowery g-string, two strategically-placed seashells and a short wig. Yet, the routine did not feel obscene or overtly sexual in an uncomfortable way. It felt artistic and engaging. We, the audience, were a part of it.
Taylor Swift — only three years older than you — wore a skintight dress with a cleavage slit that almost grazed her navel. Yet, the outfit walked a perfect balance of sexy and classy. We, the audience, were wowed by her overall style and beauty. Not by her funbags.
As I watched you, I was embarrassed for you. I was embarrassed for your family and fiancé. You were out there like a stomping vagina, screaming I KNOW WHAT SEX IS OH YES I SURE DO.
I have spent almost forty years observing peoples’ behavior, and most of the people who leave an impression of “sexy” do so without throwing it in the faces of their audience.
If you want sexy staying power in this industry, I have some homework for you: Go down to your basement and watch footage of Mary J. Blige’s career for the past twenty years. I have never met a man or woman that did not find her undeniably sexy, yet you will not see much of anything in her repertoire that includes her walking around with her tongue hanging out dry-humping plushies and refusing to wear pants in public for a six-month stretch. She lets her brains and talent draw everyone in, while flashing a slither of skin here, a curve of her body there. Her home is filled with Grammys. Her bank account is filled with Benjamins. She has the respect of fans and industry people of both genders.
Teasing, winking, being sly, laughing, clever lyrics, a shake of the booty: these are things that get the people drawn into your flirtation.
Leaving the rest up to their imagination is what keeps them there.
Right now anyone who has seen your performance on the VMAs is aware of exactly how long your tongue is and that you are comfortable with mimicking flicking your bean in public. You didn’t stick it out and flick yourself once. Or twice. It was over and over and over again, to the point that even the most die-hard frat boy would have thrown in the towel if either of those things were part of the house’s Sunday night drinking game.
It was exhausting watching you try so hard.
Are you talented? Absolutely.
Do you have a smokin’ bod? Yep.
Do you have the right to be sexual? Of course.
I’m just sayin’ that you and your audience deserve better than to watch you dive down a raunchy hole people less talented and cushioned by fortune/fame have dived down, feeling it was the only hope for clinging onto a dying spotlight.
You are better than what you just smeared the stage with tonight.
If you rein yourself back in and let your talent do the talking instead of your tongue/fingers/itty bitty scraps of clothing, I think you’ve got a long career as a sexy, well-respected artist ahead of you.
I’m rooting for you.
No #1 foam finger needed.