Sunday, February 27, 2011

The good set

Ladies, can we talk about how irritating it is when "I've been into you guys for awhile, good set tonight... glad I finally got to see you!" warps in some random band-you-like-member's mind into, "I only have eyes for YOU, band member... and yes I mean sexually."???!!!?!??!?!

From a young age I saw this one-sided mating ritual for what it was (weird), and thanks to the wonders of the internet and my gender-ambiguous first name I was able to spare myself this awkward and disheartening exchange. I wrote to all sorts of bands telling that I appreciated them, writing with questions about their lyrics, asking them to come to my out-of-the-way state (Maine), baiting them with promises of moshing their whole set.

I made a lot of friends this way, band members who assumed I was just a regular hardcore kid (because that's exactly what I was) and wrote back and forth with me about records and shows. Sometimes my gender would come up in conversation ("My girlfriend is visiting her parents, it rules. I'm just listening to records. You got a girlfriend?" No, a boyfriend. "Oh I'm down with gay people, that's cool."  I'm not gay, I'm a girl. "WHAT?! Oh... ok... so anyway, do you like metal at all?"), most times not. (How would it? "You like Floorpunch?" Yes I love that band. My left breast is especially fond of them.) But once we were friends, we stayed friends. It never... mutated.

Here in the future, I've found one one new out of the awkward. Yes, just one. Being in a band. Being a band member myself changes the dynamic between me and the people in other bands, so if we play together I can now say "Good set!" (in person!) without them without them thinking I'm sleazy, in love, or trying to oust their significant other.

But of course, if my band is not playing I'm just another broad in the crowd. If I offer a floor to crash on, lewd glances are exchanged between band members that read "She wants to fuuuuuck!" If I volunteer to give tours of the city, I see them wonder who I'm trying to get to know better. If I give a compliment on their music, there's a change of expression that comes over the member I've said it to which is kind of like the look soon-to-be-lovers exchange after a first kiss, a look of intimacy, a broken-ice look that says, "We know where the night will lead us." On the rare occasions that we've made it past all of this without weirdness and keep in touch (online or through text messages),  they will eventually conclude that my attempt at friendship, despite that I have a boyfriend who I live with and love madly, is me trying to have a secret romance with them. They will either say this or stop talking to me.

It's annoying and assumptive and imperceptive and insulting and dumb. But more than all that, it's just plain sad. It pushes us ladies an arm's length from the scene and in such a strange way. Left out and creeped out for being supportive, for giving a shit, for actively taking part in all the things that make hardcore so cool.

Dear hardcore band members, please stop thinking I am in love with or want to bone you. I just want to mosh to your band, collect your vinyl, and maybe eat burritos with you if you're cool.


  1. "just another broad in the crowd"

    That is exactly how it feels sometimes to be at a show, especially when the only other ladies are the designated "band girlfriends" who stand around holding jackets.

    However, I should mention that as the hardcore scene over here in Adelaide overlaps a LOT with the GLBTQ community, well at least the female members of it, there's always plenty of non-romantic relationships between lady punters and bands. Three cheers for queers! ;)

    But even this kind of sucks. The idea that a guy and a girl can never have just a "friendship" should not still exist in this day and age.

    But the bigger issue is that anytime a woman is passionate about a sterotypically "male" pursuit, she is typecaste as either a little bit lesbian or just into it to get in with guys. But I suppose it hapoens the other way.. It all comes down to those damn gender roles in the end!!

    p.s Thanks for the post! I've started reading this blog is quasi-religious manner. That sounded freakier than it was meant to.

  2. This problem was never a real problem for me... mainly because I'm not mainstream attractive to most. I encountered it more online, in the beginning stages of booking a band or fostering friendship, because I was just a feminine name, or a female face. However, there are plenty that stopped talking to me/feigning friendship once they realized they DIDN'T want to fuck me. Their loss. I'm awesome.

  3. I can totally relate to this.

  4. Monica- You live in Australia? I've often wondered what the scene is like there. My experience with hc kids from there is limited to girls who fly over to fuck dudes I know, but who, sex habits aside (and I've got to say that flying across the world for sex is kind of hot...) seem pretty cool and down.

    Tell me if you've noticed this other strange thing about those of us with "male" interests- the more a girl fills a role usually occupied by a dude (say, moshing at every show or playing in a band) the more other girls- even if they are not sexually attracted to women usually- will become sexually attracted to that woman. I think it's got a lot to do with them not knowing how to process a woman who does these typically male things. They subconsciously see her as male, then develop crushes on on her "maleness". It's an interesting phenomena.

    It is insane that the majority of SUBCULTURALS (um, shouldn't we know better?) still don't get the basic idea that girls and boys are all PEOPLE, and PEOPLE CAN BE FRIENDS. Durrrr!

    MC- UGH!!! That is so infuriating. I had a good friend once upon a time who was in a similar boat (not found attractive by the majority of band members she dealt with), AND she was gay on top of it so not only did most dudes not WANT to fuck her, but even if they wanted to they couldn't... and they absolutely hated her for it. And it was SO their loss. She knew more about and did more for hardcore than 100 of them put together, not to mention she was cool in every other respect. People who are that fucking dumb didn't deserve her company and they don't deserve yours. Not that you need me to tell you, I'm just heated now.

    In situations like this I always think of how Ben Franklin signed a letter to someone he hated,

    "You are my enemy and I am


    Benjamin Franklin."

    Natt- I totally thought of you as I wrote this. I feel like we have a lot of similar experiences in this arena.