mandy moore, light of my life, fire of my loins. my sin, my soul. man-dy-moore: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. man. dy. moore.

in the teenpop world, there are four female singers: britney, christina, jessica, and mandy. of these four, only young mandy moore (17!) is a nymphet. there was a time when britney was one, it lasted for about four minutes, the duration of the “…baby one more time” video: she was girl on the brink of womanhood and she shall forever remain so as long as that video lives on in the mtv archives and in the hearts and minds of men and women this world over. christina never was one; christina is offensively sexual, and she just continues to flaunt it with the “lady marmalade” video. jessica, oh jessica, white as snow, and just as pure; jessica is lost to us forever, as anyone who’s seen the video for “irresistible” and the accompanying ad campaigns will sadly attest. besides, anyone who has to talk about their virginity so frequently and at length radiates far too much sexuality in the first place.

ah, mandy! mandy who makes me feel equal parts humbert humbert and kip winger. mandy is the epitome of the nymphet: precocious, eminently lovable, and chaste. sex is never mentioned when mandy is around for fear that it’d offend her delicate sensibilities. for the length of her admittedly short career, mandy has been woman-child and at 17 she shows no sign of becoming hardened, of plunging into the abyss of adulthood. though we know it impossible it seems that she may stay the way she is forever; that we know it is impossible is just why we must cherish her while she is how we see her today, a flower nearing full-bloom.

“in your pocket”! is a great single, it’s the best thing jennifer lopez has ever done. and, though i’ve not seen it, i’m nearly certain mandy won’t be resorting to showing her stuff in the video either, a cheap ploy to increase heart rates while increasing sales. in my mind’s eye, i envision it as enrique iglesias’s “rhythm divine” video, except non-sexual. an apt comparison because “in your pocket” has the same kind of balearic sway, the kind that was so hot just a year or so ago but has now disappeared almost entirely to mandy’s benefit since it helps to distinguish the single from the eden’s crushes and jessica simpsons of the world. even the lyrics are good and the metaphor clever — “among the many muted faces” it begins — and, unlike many of the maturing teen acts out there, one doesn’t have to worry about “creative control” when it comes to mandy: she’s far too busy trying to please everyone, slowly turning the male population of this country into mandy’s boys. (oh, how it is working!)

a year or so ago, she was merely a cute face amongst many, a teen whose debut was released twice and barely managed to go platinum; now she’s as cute as ever, making commercials, making good music and has her own mtv talk show called mandy (!). she’s the type of girl who would’ve unknowingly broken my heart eight years ago. but, yet, i am not so old: mandy, i’ve slipped my heart in your back pocket: please don’t sit down: if the years have taught me anything, it’s that my heart breaks far too easily.