Everyone has their own set of rules when it comes to karaoke.
Some people only pick the crowdpleasers. You know, the songs that everyone has heard a million times: Journey's "Don't Stop Believing", Billy Joel's "Piano Man", or B-52's "Love Shack".
Some people only pick songs that no one knows and thus the crowd hates.
Some people are able to find that delicate, Goldilocks balance where they find one that everyone knows, but no one ever thinks to sing.
I guess you can say that I'm a bit of snob when it comes to karaoke. There is one trend that always bugs me. And I usually grit my teeth, clench my fists until their white, and wait until the songs complete.
Everyone has seen this. Some girl has convinced her boyfriend (or some random dude at the bar) to sign them both up to sing some Grease duet. He's reluctant as fuck, but he has to because he thinks if he actually goes through with it, he might (just might!) have a chance of getting his grubby paws into her honey pot.
I'm at a bar with some friends. I'm definitely not okay to operate heavy machinery. And I can already see it playing out. This girl drags some dude on stage by his hand and "Summer Nights" starts up.
I slam a shot of tequila and drunkenly swing my head toward stage.
So@24's innermonologue: This girl is good. She knows the lyrics. She's putting on a show for the audience, doesn't look at the screen once. She's even moving like Sandy. This chauncy thinks he can just wing it.
Dude's innermonologue: The lyrics on the screen! I can get through this unscathed.
So@24's innermonologue: Wrong buddy. You're fucking wrong.
The background parts even come up with the T-Birds, but does our potentially-lucky friend sing them?
So@24's innermonologue: Of course not. Those lyrics aren't on the screen and he doesn't know the song. This is painful.
So@24: I gotta go up there.
So@24: I've sat back too long watching this.
Leo: Watching what exactly? This happy couple singing a duet?
So@24: He's killing this potentially epic performance! I'm going up there. -peels off hoodie- They need me.
Leo: -smile quickly fades- No man. Please don't go up... okay you're going.
I chug my PBR and wipe my mouth with the back of my hand. It's go time.
I crawl up on stage. The girl's eyes are wide with terror and her boy stops singing immediately.
So@24: Let me take over. I got this.
I'm still shocked I didn't get a well-deserved punch to my face. Maybe he was glad to give up the mic.
I quickly win back the audience. The girl's eyes of horror quickly turn to approval. I'm singing the Danny parts. She's singing the Sandy parts. Her friends are cheering. Bar flies are cheering. Everything is going exactly how I imagined it would.
When the song ends, I hop off the stage. Triumphant. I'm a goddamn American hero. Leo shakes his head in disbelief, but pats me on the shoulder and hands me another beer. The girl hops off into the arms of the dude I just upstaged.
* * *
What's the point of this long winded story?
The point is, when you're single, you can't get away with this kind of shit. When I had a steady girlfriend, I could act like a complete ass and sing musicals in public settings. The result was always the same. Maybe a girlfriend who was a bit humiliated and covered her blanched face. Who hit me in the shoulder for putting her through that, laughed, and then kissed my cheek. Hell, she might even thought it was cute. At the end, she was still mine no matter what I did.
It's not like that anymore. I find myself in this constant state of awareness, much like a rodent in an open field. Constantly making sure I'm saying the right thing, wearing the right clothes, presenting myself in an attractive light.
I can't get away with singing Grease songs in public.
Chardsy: So, did you finish the song in a high pitch with your arm straight up in the air or what?