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.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
is where I've been. I was unable to finish my zine in time, but I think it's for the best because after a week and a half on the road I've got a new direction (!!) to take it in. I'm going to make a hardcore zine with some interviews and some stories from the road, chalked full of adventure, drama, betrayal, action, sex, comedy, and of course, my specialty... embarrassment.