This record is pretty raw with regards to your emotions—“Heartbreak City” in particular is very direct when you sing, “You got just what you came for / A bit of fame and fortune.” How do you keep yourself open to love with experiences like the ones which you detail here. Are you an optimist? Are you still…
Open to love? Absolutely. I just chose the wrong one. Date a guy who’s already a somebody.
Right. Well I feel like we should all know that by now, right?
Yeah, but, you know, sometimes you think you know people, and you find out later that you didn’t. People surprise you. People are really good actors. Some people are just straight up sociopaths.
True, true. I have dated some of those.
All of us have.
Do you think that there’s still one person for you?
Of course. Definitely, I have faith. I have certainty that my soulmate is waiting for me. I just have to be ready for him. And he has to be ready for me—it goes both ways. I may have already met him, it just hasn’t happened yet.
Do you find it cathartic to get all this stuff out in songs?
Oh, God, yes. Extremely.
Has anyone ever come back to you and said, “Hey Madonna, what the fuck?”
You mean a dude? No. They never do. Too much pride. Secretly they regret, of course, secretly they’re ripping their hair out.
Probably not-so-secretly. I re-watched Truth Or Dare recently and I was struck by how a significant portion of the doc covered you fighting for your own right to express yourself and also gay rights. While at least in America we’ve made strides in terms of gay rights, it does feel like with reagards to sexism, little has really changed.
Nope. So once again, here I am, at the front of the gate. Trying to push it open.
Do you feel like you’re bashing your head against a brick wall sometimes?
Uh-huh. Yeah, but it’ll happen. I’ll get the shit kicked out of me and in 20 years, Miley Cyrus will just wander through like, “What?” She’ll walk around in her fur bikini in her 50s and no one will even bat an eyelash.
Why do you think it’s so difficult for people, women included, to get their head around it?
A lot of it has to do with the fact that people don’t usually have careers that last so long. I mean, there definitely are, but I think that has something to do with it. We as human beings, our life expectancy is getting longer and longer. And we’re learning how to take better and better care of ourselves. If you eat right, and you take good care of yourself, and you stay out of the sun, and you exercise, and all those things, you can be healthy and be in shape and have nice skin. You can have the same energy.
I can tell you this right now, when I go on tour, I have more energy and can kick the asses of any of the dancers that I work with. When I say that, I mean, they couldn’t keep up with me, and they’re one-third my age. So it has got to do with training and what I’ve been doing all my life, you know? So part of it has to do with the fact that I don’t stop. It’s like, if you keep driving a car, the motor will always work for you. If you park it in the garage, it stops. It’s a physical thing, it’s a biological thing, it’s a physiological thing. But also, it’s a passion thing, too—it’s in your brain. I still have so much shit I want to do with my life, so much that I’m interested in. I’ve always been pushing envelopes and breaking boundaries, trying to change the rules.
I’ve always been very outwardly spoken about my sexuality and freedom of expression, freedom to choose whatever I want to do, regardless of the fact that I’m a female. So why would that change now? I still have lots to say and lots to do. I don’t think people are used to it. It’s like, it hasn’t happened before. So they’re like, “Wait a second…” It’s just, again, it’s what people are not familiar with. It’s like, people are never comfortable with what they’re not familiar with. So they’re just going to have to get familiar with it! And they’re going to get comfortable with it. And they’re going to accept it.
But then hand-in-hand with that, comes this whole new culture of criticism coming from anonymous sources online. That didn’t exist 20, 30 years ago either.
Right, because 20 years ago, what woman in her 50s was doing what I’m doing? So, it didn’t exist because it didn’t have an opportunity. No one had an opportunity to fire their arrows at anybody.