“You mean… he serenaded you?”
I guess he did, I was 18 on a basement sofa the first time I was serenaded. There are certainly worse things than anxiously enduring a musical mating call; not realizing what happened until later explained by a female friend better versed in the ways of Men is actually worse, defiantly more embarrassing.
Maybe romance isn’t dead, but a part of me was doing a good job at pretending.
I could take all the blame for being oblivious, but that wouldn’t be completely fair. This was Western Nebraska in the mid-2000’s, raised on the down-the-highway murder of Matthew Shepard; the echoes of very real-world and local insults from peers, family and the occasional stranger. Being oblivious was a defense mechanism I’d used all my life to very mixed results at school and beyond.
“Who’s a faggot? Where?”
It turns out, playing the guitar for one other person in a room is always queer as fuck. Respond in the negative or ungracefully change the subject and the room will fill with ice. A noncommittal “great, really good… strumming” enters the room flatter than any note. Somehow.
It may very well be that making out is exactly the happy medium needed to to equalize the awkward gasses in the room and in knotted tummies. For the sake of a complete analogy, The Facility went critical, gases built until kissing that guy in that room didn’t do a damn thing.
But, Brokeback Bluff does has a certain ring to it.
Fast forward, flirting can qualify as a few “Hellos” and pleasantries exchanged over an App, a date to drink or eat. I’ve had more than a few friends who’ve turned these connections made against the maxims of judging books by covers and snap decisions into long relationships and marriage.
Who really know where a “Sup?” might go these days? ‘Sup’ being some mutant of “What is up?” that conveys a sexy, casual masculinity. One must be careful not to come off to give a shit. NM, HBU? An armor of compound words and a good profile picture, the height of desirability. The shorthand is just really a means to an end, easy advertising and a gauge of interest. It’s direct and saves time weeding out people self-important enough to require English sentences on the way to their blow job.
Looking back, I suppose in a way my array of band t-shirts had landed me on that dated couch and vetted me about punk bands. The lesson probably best delivered by the wise matriarch I keep ready in my imagination:
“You get back what you put into the world, sunshine.”
It’s hard to say what I prefer: serenade or sup. But whenever I’m feeling too self conscience or generally unworthy of saying “hey,” I have that worse-case to shock me into action. And at the very least, I have some good dinner conversation:
“Once, a guitarist played the very romantic comedy from me…”