Text messages at 11 pm:
Me: Better have bail money ready, I’m goin’ in.
Dennis: I’ve had bail money at the foot of my bed since I met you.
I have set my life up in my own comfort zone and I’m totally uninterested in stepping out of it.
I hang out in shitty rock and roll bars with my angry rock and roll friends and I like it that way. I get the appreciation I crave from the rock boys and I can relate and have fun with the rock girls. We all have plenty to talk about and we agree on what music should be played. I like knowing who the bartenders are and getting drink tickets and VIP passes when my friends’ bands come to town. I like my little rock and roll world. I feel safe in it. If I need a vacation from that I just hang out with my favorite gays and they make me feel equally safe and loved while standing at the bar or eating brunch and talking about my need for shoes or their latest filthy sexual encounters. For the most part it’s a very contented little East Village life that I lead.
But of course life is not always about being safe and I am currently being thrust into a discomfort zone that is teaching me all kinds of new crap about my own deep-seated insecurities that I don’t care to learn: My boyfriend Drew is busting his ass playing drums with a couple of different and worthy outfits, and one of them is getting a lot of attention and drawing a very upwardly mobile scene. Things are moving along at a fairly good clip, which means that I have suddenly found myself spending time in rooms jammed up to the gills with models, movie stars, photographers, and hipster guys in ironic hats. It’s frigging killing me.
It has become painfully obvious that I am a deeply insecure person and get panicky outside of my own environment. When pulled out of the rock and roll element I get prickly and defensive and paranoid. I stand with my arms folded and say bitchy things to random strangers. I sneer at the men and watch the women around me with an eagle’s glare, scanning for any infringement upon my territory or person. I overreact to tiny infractions and I scowl a lot. Suffice to say that when I am not feeling comfortable I am a big, fat, high-maintenance pain-in-the-ass girlfriend, not much fun when someone is just trying to play a good gig and deal with the socializing that goes along with that.
Most of my life I’ve had good reason to torture the men I’ve been with. They deserved it. But I don’t now. Drew is very much in love with me and when we are out he is hyper-conscious of making sure that I feel safe, that I have a drink, that I’m not left standing alone, and that I know where he is in the room at any given time. He’s a complete gentleman and a total fucking champion. And yet the first time he had a gig with this band I could feel myself veering on the edge of insanity a number of times, and when I head into crazy territory he’s the one that suffers. He pays for things like me having to shove my way to the sink through a gaggle of tiny, pretty, young heads on sticks discussing how addictive getting tattooed is:
Model #1: “I have 2 now and I might get a 3rd! I just can’t stop!”
Model #2: “Yeah, I’m going to get a yin/yang symbol on the back of my neck next.”
Model #3: “You guys are sooo crazy!”
Crabby, overly tattooed crone (that’d be me) trying to get to the soap: “Excuse me…excuse me…excuse me!”
Then right after the bathroom encounter a horrid little asian girl came speeding out of nowhere and began hopping up and down on Drew like an amped up puppy. I stopped short in mid-sentence in a rage and he squirmed out of her grip with a panicked look on his face, knowing full well that in my current tweaked and semi-drunken state something bad could very well ensue.
As he grabbed me and we moved on I took a moment to turn back, lean down close to her, look her in the eye, and put my forefinger up into her surprised little doll face. I’m pretty sure my message was clear but when we got back to the dressing room she was off and humping him again. I realized at that moment that I was only torturing myself by trying to control the moves of an obvious dipshit with no sense of self-preservation. So I sat down with our friends and let her leap around unfettered until Drew was able to extricate himself and she toddled off, I imagine to find some guy with an ironic hat to blow in the bathroom.
Fast forward to a gig on Thursday night and I knew it would be even more of the same. In fact, truth be told, there is a decent chance that things may continue to expand exponentially far and beyond the reach of my angry forefinger. And I want this for my boyfriend. He works his ass off, he’s a brilliant, well-respected musician, and he deserves to have people into him and to be able to make a living doing what he wants to do. But there is nothing that makes me crabbier than spending time in a roomful of horny models and socialites, or even worse, leaving my boyfriend alone in a roomful of horny models and socialites. Ay, there’s the rub.
I had a little talk with myself before we left the house. My mantra for the night was, “Everything is okay, let the models grope your boyfriend. Everything is okay, let the models grope your boyfriend.” Meaning: my guy is awesome, deserves my trust, and behaving like an angry control freak is just going to make his night suck and make me feel shitty about myself. And I know that my nuttiness in those situations doesn’t really have to do with not trusting him. It has to do with my own childhood bullshit and insecurities about myself.
So we went and so they came—the famous waifs that pretentious security will always shove you out of the way to make room for (Gosh, sorry, sir, should the ordinary people refrain from eye contact, too?), the hipster boys, the tiny heads on sticks and the baby hookers in 80’s garb, fresh out of the box and primed for action. At times they all make me feel like a bulky, ancient bird of prey (Ca-caw! Ca-caw!!).
But I sat back with cocktail in hand and let Drew do what he had to do while working on paying attention to what was going on inside me instead of just reacting unconsciously to what I couldn’t control. This was not always easy once the party reached its peak and they put up a stripper pole on the stage so the girls could really get rolling (HAWT!!). The DJ slaughtered great songs and bad ones by mashing things up: two seconds of Baba O’Reilly crashing into 30 seconds of Eye of the Tiger slamming into Mr. Roboto. He would play just enough of a great song to lull me into a moment of happiness and then tear it off unmercifully to be replaced by two seconds of something crap from the 80’s. Are people in clubs now so ADD that they can’t hear a full song? Why would anyone need to hear even two seconds of Eye of the Tiger, especially when Baba O’Reilly is starting up? I could feel a vein throbbing near my temple.
First girl on pole, swinging her hair into my face as I try to pass: “Oh my God, I love this song!”
Second girl on pole: “I know, it’s so ROCK.“
So what I’m figuring out is this: The world has indeed been taken over by those jocky popular kids we hated in high school. For the most part they’re rich, stupid, young, pretty, over privileged and unfortunately they own New York now and there’s nothing the rest of us can do about it. They’re the people that I came to this city to avoid and when I’m forced out there among them again I revert back to my sullen, resentful childhood self. I hate them before they can hate me and I flail around angrily trying to gain back the illusion of control that I have when I am with my people in my dark rock dens of safety.
Also, I am no longer their age and when I’m in a roomful of incredibly beautiful twenty-something women, a portion of whom would like to fuck my boyfriend (who is closer to their age than I am), I get a little testy. But the truth is that I don’t want to be twenty again. Christ, it was painful enough the first time around. And although I wouldn’t mind having their perfectly flat stomachs and delicate bird arms, I would never trade who I am for who they are. I like my life and I like being an angry rock chick with big boobs and scars and too much makeup on. So I’m going to continue to repeat my mantra, suck it up and support my boyfriend, and be glad that Dennis is good for bail money.
Wish me luck, people.