My first karaoke experience: The Schlong Remains the Same

I left the stage to a smattering of polite applause, the kind that’s not nearly enough to make me ever want to consider an encore. Most of it came from far in the back. All of it came from my friends.

I had just finished my first attempt at karaoke, something that out of character given my combination of not drinking and not singing in public, both of which seem to really be necessary when taking part in karaoke.

I tried it, though, for one reason: comedic effect. Here it was, midnight one Thursday (or Friday morning, depending on how much of a stickler you are about that detail), with about 15 people in a dark bar in Lexington, none of whom knew me, many of whom seemed strung out, all of whom had left pride at the door the minute they took the stage. I couldn’t be judged by anyone here. In fact, most encouraged me, offering a few tips, the best of which was “if you mess up, act like you didn’t and no one will know.”

So, in the midst of various party jams and 1980s throwbacks, I picked one song that was certain to keep the mood going: Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia.” I chose it for two reasons: 1) I can actually sing it comfortably since it’s in a lower register and my voice can handle it; and 2) I thought it would be terribly amusing to sing such a depressing song.

I sang it, felt OK about it, left the stage thinking life would return to normal.

Nope.

As soon as I got off stage, this guy named Tony – late 40s/early 50s, white hair, earring – stops me, shakes my hand, tells me “that was wonderful, but you need to sing into the microphone so everyone can hear your beautiful voice.”

That was certainly nice of Tony, with the only drawback being he wouldn’t let go of my hand. He continued shaking it until it felt like something out of a Benny Hill sketch. I eventually escaped his grip, but I continued with some polite conversation, as there’s no reason to be rude.

At first, I think Tony is just a bit tipsy, perhaps a tad overly friendly. He talks to me every time I pass (it’s a small bar) or when we’re all outside (smoking for my friends, fresh air for me). Each time, he shakes my hand, which inevitably leads to him holding my hand too long.

He starts asking some questions, a few of which are personal, and I can tell he’s hitting on me. I’m not the kind of guy who gets upset at this. Honestly, I’ve never understood that level of homophobia – when you get down to it, it’s flattering to have someone show an interest in you. In this case, it just happens to be a member (no pun intended) of the same sex, and I don’t happen to be interested in men. No big deal.

But then Tony starts staring at me and my friends from across the room, watching me interact with everyone, his eyes following me everywhere.

At the end of the night, I needed to pee, so I went into the bathroom, locked the door, and began the stream. Ten seconds into it, the door opens, and I knew immediately who it would be.

The door at this particular establishment has a locking mechanism; that lock, however, does not work. I realized it a bit too late.

“I wanted you to have, this” Tony said, as I try to stop peeing and start zipping, not necessarily caring if it’s in that order, so long as the tucking comes before the zipping.

“Oh, I though the door locked,” I said.

“I’m sorry. Must not. I just wanted you to have this.”

He tried handing me a slip of paper, which I at first thought was being used to wrap up some pills. I don’t take it.

“I wanted you to have this,” he said, again trying to hand me the paper, which I then saw is the kind used to request your song. It’s folded in half, and he rubbed his thumb over it. “It’s a number.”

“Oh, that’s OK,” I reply. “I’m good.”

“No, I want you to have it. It’s my number.’

“No, really, I’m good.”

“Oh, I know you are, but I want you to have my number.”

And then I gave him a look that must have made him finally understand his mistake. “No, I’m not interested. I’m good.”

He looked at me with a mix of sadness and embarrassment. It seemed like he was going to cry. It reminded me of how William H. Macy looked in Magnolia when he’s shot down in the bar, complete with a tacked on smile and the other, darker emotions that are barely below the surface.

At first, I felt bad, because really, no one likes to get rejected. I can understand the hurt that comes with being shot down when you approach someone, as I often approach women out in public.

I, however, choose not to follow women into public bathrooms. That’s what takes it from mostly flattering to completely creepy. He intentionally followed me into a private men’s room, all to approach me. Had he tried that outside the bar, somewhere in the front, I would have told him I was flattered but I’m not into guys.

As it was, I should have ripped him a new asshole.

Nope, wrong choice of words.

I should have launched a verbal assault, letting him know that it’s not cool at all to follow someone into a bathroom.

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5 thoughts on “My first karaoke experience: The Schlong Remains the Same

  1. Somebody put ads on your blog.

    Midnight belongs to the night. The instant after is morning. My wife will not agree.

    I know and you know that the song you sung was popularized as the theme to the movie Philadelphia, and it encompasses the feelings of the lead character, a gay man infected with HIV and dying of AIDS. In this case it wasn’t Tony Rocky Horror who should have known better.

  2. Pingback: The very best in music, movies, books, TV, concerts and more of 2011 | So … there I was

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