…no? okay well LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT IT.
(tl/dr: man dudes are terrified of women who know some shit!)
so last fall, i traveled down to portland to hang with all my incredible buds and sing some great karaoke. that’s what i do when i visit, you see: between drinking bye and byes and eating at pine state biscuits, i sing ALL of the songs.
so my dear friends katherine and brooke escort me to the beauty bar (barf) for baby ketten karaoke (yay). baby ketten karaoke is a very special kind of karaoke — mainly because they have a fuck ton of punk and ska. goldfinger? yep. save ferris? yes. less than jake? you betcha. they have toots, and the specials, and the english beat, and the skatalites, and madness, and a bunch of songs that i guess “matter” but who even cares about those when i can sing “history of a boring town” you know?
so, they also have a bunch of “serious” songs that i guess also “matter” or whatever: bjork. radiohead. sigur ros. my bloody valentine. (i am doing the jo motion right now). basically songs from a pitchfork best-of list that nobody should ever, EVER sing at a fucking karaoke bar. because BUMMER.
we walk in, and of course, because its so portland and everyone is so fucking serious, those are the songs people are doing. bjork. BJORK! fucking bjork at a goddamn karaoke bar. very quickly, my eyes glaze over and i start to grow an ironic mustache without even trying and my whole outfit magically becomes thrifted, and then out of pure fucking frustration, nothing short of a desperate plea, i put in my song: “sell out.”
yes. the reel big fish song.
now here is the thing: if you know anything about me, you know that i like ska. in fact, i love ska. i would give ska an over-the-pants-hand-job in a movie theater. i would let ska read all my text messages and look through my browsing history. i would, oh i dont know, fly across the country this coming october to see a bunch of ska bands reunite. i also do not hide my love of ska — i have a mighty mighty bosstones tattoo AND a streetlight manifesto tattoo, dudes. — and somehow have still worked at all the cool places ive worked, met the cool people i know, and done the cool things that ive done.
shame? i got none.
they call my name, and as i take the mic, i state the very obvious fact that somehow nobody else had noticed: “all you motherfuckers take this shit too seriously.”
and it begins.
doot doot doot-doot-doot.
doot doot doot-doot-doot!
DOOT DOOT DOOT-DOOT-DOOT!
and of course i fucking NAIL IT because ive basically been practicing for this moment since i was 13 years old, you know? no more flipping burgers, putting on my silly hat is RIGHT because i fucking kill it at reel big fish karaoke.
but of course, my exuberance and my sheer talent is completely lost on the crowd. they are motionless and confused, not laughing, not even beginning to understand why someone would ever pick a song so fucking ridiculous as “sell out”. but like, that is the point, dawgs.
part way through the song, i look over and some dude … is … some dude is skanking, which was endearing and maybe a tiny bit embarrassing? but like, ~*YOLO*~ i guess and at least someone there was maybe on my level? maybe?
the song finishes and i rejoin my friends, and the skanker comes over and is like, “yo that ruled.” he is just some dork who was super excited and that was pretty cool. we talked about ska while his friend leaned against the bar being annoyed, which i assumed was because his friend was SKANKING and now was talking to someone about ska, and i am REAL familiar with that look because my friends give me that look all of the goddamn time.
finally, with a sneer, he pipes up.
“i bet she doesn’t even know who hepcat is.”
tires screech. record halts. and i laugh because … what. … really? thats a thing you are going to say? i inform him that actually, despite singing a popular third wave ska hit, i do know who hepcat is.
but of course, me saying i know who hepcat isn’t enough for him and he is now obviously obligated to PROVE that i am actually some shitty third-wave fan, and THUS BEGINS THE CRED TEST. i believe that this phenomena is way more common with women than men, but you know, patriarchy, am i rite? i figured that this wouldn’t happen with something like ska because literally, there is no such thing as ska cred. ska isnt cool!! ITS FUCKING SKA. i guess my reputations as seattle’s #1 aquabats fan hadn’t traveled south yet!!
so whatever. he starts quizzing me on bands i know, determined to find a loophole in my knowledge: the slackers? yep. the toasters? friends of mine. easy big fella. friends with them too. engine 54? my childhood bff’s mom managed them when i was in middle school. i saw them a ton. franceska? YEP, i love their cover of “one cup of coffee”.
meanwhile!!!!! he kept trying to say that the slackers and hepcat were first wave bands (uh!), he didnt know who deals gone bad or westbound train or king django are. he didnt know what jump up records is, or what version city was. like, these are not things i expect people to know about, but if you are trying to posture to me about hepcat and the slackers, know your fucking shit.
finally i was like, “dude. i don’t mean to be rude, but i know more about ska than almost anybody ive ever met. i promise, any band you mention? i will know them.”
and what did dude do? he scoffed at me, shoved a stool, and stormed out of the bar.
and then i permanently altered the rotation of the earth by how hard i rolled my eyes.
Alithea really needs to be the star of a superhero comic. What I love best is that she only uses her weapons when provoked.