Taking someone’s virginity is really intense. Not that I’ve ever done it (lie), but so I hear. I think someone took mine once, and it was a really emotional experience. Suddenly a door opens to a whole new world, one that prior to the hump was totally foreign and terrifying.
People who love to sing karaoke love it so much. This is why it feels really good to convince a naive, sheltered person to give karaoke a whirl, someone who has never been privy to the joys of singing at a screen in a room full of strangers drooling on themselves, and then to watch said person bask in the high that follows. Pregnant with life, a sense of accomplishment and a newfound swagger, they take their seat when they’re done with a certain glow as they voice a sudden, overwhelming desire for a cigarette (though after my first time I craved nothing but a sack of dark chocolate Peanut Chews). I beat metaphors into the ground in like a drummer beats his drumsticks against a drum head.
I’ll say this once and then I’ll say it again to the point where’s it’s mind-blowingly redundant: when guiding a karaoke virgin into this addictive and life-changing venue for self-expression, be sure to do it in a gay bar.
Most of you are gay– most of you worth knowing at least– so you know what I’m talking about. Straight girls trying to impress straight guys via their pathetic song selections is one of the most excruciating non-violent things a person can bear witness to. Also, you can’t make out with your girlfriend at a straight karaoke bar because karaoke lends bar crowds a certain we’re-all-in-this-together sentiment that straight men misinterpret as license to be more awful than they usually are.
A few years back, I went on a date with a girl who had never sung karaoke before. For whatever reason, as soon as we sauntered into the place, I morphed into a sleazy 80s movie college guy, trying to seduce a wide-eyed high school freshman.
“Just try it,” I whispered creepily. “You’ll love it.”
“Don’t be scared,” I said, slinging my arm over her shoulder after pretending to yawn like a bonafide slimebag. After slithering over to the songbook, I flung it open and handed her a golf pencil and a slip of paper. “Here. Do it,” I commanded.
She looked through the book as panic danced on her face. A song was picked and handed in. Five minutes later, the KJ called her name. She timidly approached the stage. As she pulled the microphone closer to her mouth, her hands shook. Suddenly, I was nervous too. And then the opening chords of “La Bamba” came on, and she sang the song like a fucking champion. I had no idea she spoke Spanish, nor did I know that she was a closet Chilean, so she wasn’t just making weird, indecipherable sounds that mimic the actual lyrics.
Everybody in the room started flinging bar napkins in the air and spinning newly-bagged dance partners around as they shook their sweaty bodies all over with reckless abandon. And she- this skinny, hunched white girl, drowning in a huge t-shirt as stringy beige hair clung to either side of her gaunt, beautiful face- riddled with palpable stage fright and no experience, somehow did justice to a potentially disastrous song whilst imbuing the crowd with more energy than any of the karaoke veterans I’d ever seen. She was a natural.
She came back to our booth and I told her she was incredible. She said “I know” and we started making out. Cue to a just-miss hipster with a carrot-colored beard sidling up to us. “Ladies, what are your names?”
Without thinking, I answered him.
“Okay, watch this,” he said, and started scribbling frantically on a bar napkin. “Look!” he said proudly, showing it off like a baby who’d just discovered his penis. On it, in block letters, he’d written, “Katie + [insert girl's name] = Stranger Awesome.” He’d also drawn a bunch of polka-dotted bubble arrows pointing to his name– which, allegedly, was Stranger Awesome.
“What the fuck is that?” I asked.
He answered, “Well, it’s like this– you guys are cool, and I’m cool, so you plus you equals me.”
“How do you figure?” I asked, not even knowing why I was engaging him.
“Well, like, clearly you need a guy in this equation, and Stranger Awesome is that guy.”
“Got it,” I said, and then commanded him to:
a) stop talking about himself in the third person, and
b) stop talking to us at all.
In response, he put his hands on our thighs, and the girl I was with shoved him off. He had just tainted a really nice, intimate moment with his idiocy, smoked-meat body odor, mall-bought Ramones t-shirt, and leather wrist cuff covered in anarchist symbols. A nearby frat boy said, “Whoa, take it easy ladies.”
So we left. In other words, be sure to populate places like Metropolitan on their Tuesday karaoke nights, and charm the figurative karaoke pants off your reluctant ingenue of a date. She’ll thank you later, and she’ll never forget her first time.
Venue: Metropolitan http://www.yelp.com/biz/metropolitan-brooklyn
Song: La Bamba http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4F6VSGdMcE&feature=related