Does Debbie Harry have a penis? Because she certainly has a husky voice...
Allow me to explain.
Above is a video for Korean singer Kim Ah-joong's cover of "Maria" by Blondie. It is also featured in a popular Korean romantic comedy "200-pound Beauty" seen in said video. The song is also severely over-played on Korean commercials, and in turn is parroted ad nauseam by the kids at school, but of course all they sing is the chorus, so day in and day out it's "Mariaaaaa! Ave Mariaaaa!" and ooooh, it makes me wanna cry.
Recently Paul busted out the pipes and began singing it in our last class of the evening. I asked him and the two other girls in the class if they actually knew who sang the original version. One girl who is especially quirky and feisty, and is quickly becoming one of my favorites, said that she had heard it but didn't know the name of the group.
"Blondie," I told her.
"Blondie?" she said, "Teacher, the song sounded so strange! Her voice was so deep... (there was a beat of silence)... she is transgender???"
I don't know if she picked up the word off the internet, if her Dad took her to the Korean staging of "Hedwig & the Angry Inch" I saw advertised on the subway, or if they just finished an unlikely unit in public school on sexual identity, in any case, I laughed away my bad feelings about the song.
Now whenever a student hums that infectious chorus, I'll just giggle about how to impressionable Korean ears, a raspy, druggy voice can make even the most feminine of New Wave sex symbols seem like they're packing a little something extra under that mini-skirt.