My Four Minutes as a Lesbian Musician by Michael T. Foley
I have a lot of lesbian friends. I don't know why, but I do. I have been referred to as a "lesbian lighthouse" because lesbians are just drawn to me. We just get each other...I'm a les-bro. Today, I would like to tell you a story about how I actually became a lesbian musician for just under four minutes. The story begins in the same way most of my stories begin: In deep concentration about toilet paper.
I was in the grocery store on a Monday evening comparing the price, softness, ply count, and square count of various packages of toilet paper. After a solid 4 minutes of comparison, my tissue issue was interrupted by a text message from my friend, East Coast Music Award nominee Heather Green.
Heather asked me if I could do her a favour on Wednesday night. She was about to play a show at The Company House with her friend, East Coast Music Award winner Ria Mae, in a light-hearted battle to see who was the better musician. I assumed that she wanted me to work the door (as I have done in the past at Menz Bar...hunkiest door man ever! Heyyyy!) so I quickly agreed without asking for details.
This, of course, was a mistake.
It turns out the favour she wanted from me was to SING. The competition would be several rounds. In one of the rounds, Heather and Ria must choose someone from the audience to come up on stage to sing one of their songs. Heather wanted that someone to be me. Now for those of you that aren’t familiar with Heather’s music; it is absolutely amazing and beautiful. But unfortunately for me nearly all of her songs are slow and they have actual, ya know...notes and stuff. I CANNOT sing. I had sung karaoke before but never on a stage and always to songs that I knew would hide my weaknesses (ie songs that are basically just fast talking like Billy Joel’s song We Didn’t Start The Fire). Heather’s music would literally accentuate all of my flaws and hide the very few strengths that I have. Heather assured me that it was just supposed to be funny and I didn’t need to be good. Also, she promised that the girl Ria had gotten to sing for her was notoriously known for getting drunk and butchering songs. Despite this knowledge, I still had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach (which I have named the Pit of Despair).
So for the next few hours, I go through all of Heather's songs to find ANY that I could possibly pull off. Surely there must be one song that is a bit fast and requires little-to-no singing...right? RIGHT? The answer of course is “NO, FAT BOY!” So since there was no way of making this at all good in terms of quality, the only solution was to make it as bad as possible. I'm talking so bad that it's funny. So bad that the putrid stench of it would follow me for the rest of my life. This would ruin any chances I would ever have of running for office. It would make it so no woman would ever be able to see me as a sexual being ever again. So bad that people would not only throw garbage at me on the streets but also shoot firecrackers at me (which has actually happened...someone shot a firecracker at me from their car a few years ago). If I was going to do this, I was going to make it worthwhile. After sharing my concerns with Heather, we both agreed that there was only one song that could accomplish this level of awkward devastation. That song...is Dirty Love.
This is Heather’s version of Dirty Love and it is an incredibly sexy song about...well, lesbian sex.
It became abundantly clear to us that my only way out of this predicament would be to sing THIS song on stage in front of the (mostly) lesbian audience. But the next question is...how was I, the awkward man who once asked a pretty girl “Do you want to be my other adult?” going to sing such a sexy song?
I was gonna make that son of a bitch my own. Meaning, it would have to be extremely over the top, cheesy, and awkward. In other words, I would just be myself. I came up with the brilliant idea of singing the song directly TO Heather. This would accomplish two things:
1) I wouldn’t have to look at the audience and that would help a lot with my crippling stage fright. 2) It would look like I was trying to have dirty lesbian sex with Heather and that has always been a dream of mine.
So...it looked like everything was going to be okay. I mean, it would be extremely embarrassing and I was unbelievably nervous. But at least it would be an entertaining train wreck. I just didn’t want it to be unmemorable. So I spent the next little while singing the song alone in my room while my roommates cranked up the volume on the TV to drown me out. I was finally starting to feel a bit comfortable with my upcoming performance.
But then...a shit grenade explodes in my face. I get a text message that reads: “Hey Michael! Guess what? I’m finally going to go see one of Heather’s shows! It’s tomorrow night at the Company House. Wanna be my date?”
This text message was sent to me from a woman named Peggy.
Also known as... MY MOM.
Yes, just as I finally got semi-comfortable with the idea of singing a slow, sexy song about dirty lesbian sex in front of an entire bar of lesbians...my MOM decides to pick THIS show out of all of Heather’s shows to attend. WHY? WHY GOD WHY?????
But...I knew how long my Mom had wanted to see one of Heather’s shows and that her work schedule usually doesn’t allow her to attend. So I bit the bullet and accepted her offer. I did, however, give her an explicit warning (this may be slightly paraphrased):
Me: Mom...I think it’s great that you can finally make it to one of Heather’s shows. I’m sure Heather will appreciate it and I’d love to hang out with you...but I must warn you. Heather is going to make me do something incredibly embarrassing. I’m not going to say what, but it’s going to be terrible. It is going to be so awful that you are going to shriek "I HAVE NO SON!" before the shame becomes so overwhelming that you have no choice but to release your bowels, vomit, and pass out. So if witnessing your son horribly crash and burn in public is something you want to see then by all means go to the show. Mom: Aight, dat’s coo.
So the next day was the day of the performance. I woke up to go to work and I felt so nauseous that I had diarrhea. I even called in sick because I couldn’t get it off my mind. And I couldn’t get my ass off of the toilet. I barely ate all day. All I did was stew in nervousness. (in Heather's defense, she didn't know ANY of this). I began to second guess myself and even wrote out a loose script for me and Heather to enact for the audience. I thought to myself, “as long as I have the script in front of me, I won’t forget any of the funny lines/actions that I have planned out.”
After spending the day trying not to throw up, I arrive early to The Company House so I can plan it all out with Heather. Immediately, I’m thrown through yet another loop when she tells me that this is supposed to appear spontaneous and not planned out ahead of time. AKA There is no script; I’ll have to completely improvise while acting like this is a spontaneous thing. You could build a big, beautiful, rustic mansion with the bricks I shat at that moment.
So...the only thing left to do was get drunk. Incredibly f***ing drunk. And take Heather’s anti-anxiety pills and wash those down with more beer. I hear mixing pills and alcohol is ALWAYS a great idea. At least they wouldn’t make me perform if I was foaming at the mouth.
An hour passes and here I am sitting next to my Mom and my two roommates in a bar packed with lesbians. My one saving grace is that I was not going to be alone in this embarrassment. I knew that Ria’s girl was going to be drunk and terrible like me so at least we could split the shame. The moment arrives: Karaoke Round. Ria gets to go first. She asks if anyone in the audience would like to sing one of her songs and “spontaneously” her friend gets up on stage. Allow me to present to you my thought process for the next few minutes:
Hm...she doesn’t look very drunk. Why doesn’t she have a sheet with the lyrics? Does she have this song MEMORIZED? Um...she doesn’t suck. Uh...she’s kind of killing it. Uh...she purposely didn’t get drunk and PRACTICED this song. F*CK. F*CK. MOTHER OF GOD F*CKITY F*CKKKKKK. HOW DO I FOLLOW THIS? I’m out. F*ck it. I can’t do this.
Finally, the moment arrives: Heather's turn to choose from the crowd. She grabs the microphone and asks for volunteers. I don't move an inch. She looks around the crowd and focuses on me. I am also looking around the crowd in a panic...just hoping someone else will be my guardian angel and randomly volunteer. PLEASE! ANYONE?? Annnnd....nothing. Suddenly, flashes of my mother disowning me, pooping herself and fainting danced merrily around in my head. But I could not let Heather down. After all that stressing, it would be absolutely stupid not to go through with it. So despite all urges to bail completely, flee to Mexico, and change my name to Miguel Folito...I raised my hand and walked onto the stage. I stood there in shocked horror blinded by the spotlight as my mom and a bar full of lesbians stared back. I have no script. No talent. I'm drunk and nervous as hell and there is a song about dirty lesbian sex that needed to be sung immediately. I took a deep breath, opened my mouth and...
Well, why don't you just watch the video and see for yourself? I am so, so sorry.
if the roles were reversed, we'd hire you! writing samples available upon request