Serenaded to Sup: A Flirting Retrospective

“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…”

Born Again – Coming of Age, Transparent Episode Review

“I made this deal with God. I asked him, I said, ‘If you want me to live, you will not infect me. And If you want me to die, you will. That’s how much I thought my life didn’t matter.”

Transparent’s season 4 premiered a few weeks ago on Sept. 21st, and if there is one episode of the Amazon series that I wish everyone would watch, it’s episode 5, “Born Again.” Maybe I’ll have a watching party. LMK.

There’s the standard check-in with the cast, but the central theme pivots around critical moments in Davina (Alexandra Billings) and Maura’s (Jeffrey Tambor) younger lives in which they make prayerful deals with god.

I’ll admit, the first time I watched the episode, I felt very uncomfortable, but it took me some time to figure out why. There are intense themes presented in which I personally related, but the reason extended into exploring the moments and tools we all use to become ourselves. These can be hard truths to face.

The things we decide to never to again; the multiple versions of ourselves we slowly build and try out; the things we do to survive; the decisions forming who we are said to be, whether our real, wanted and honest truth or not; who we are with our family, then our friends, love interests and coworkers.

The episode feels like spoken word at times, Davina telling her story, juxtaposed along with Maura’s. In true Transparent style, the past blends into the future – younger Maura peppering the past and blooming into the present – Davina, a spark of herself on the stage and pain of the past. Her present self delivers the lines of Candi Staton’s “I’m Just A Prisoner,” her story weaving into the lyrics to rousing applause and cheers. Versions contrasting and crossing over, born again.

Though your love / has got me in captivity / yet if you should leave me / I know I would die

“I guess you could say the fear of death made me embrace life. If I was going to die, I was going to fucking live first.”