Avoiding social networking for almost a week has lead to original thoughts being further processed into more than status updates. They have been born and grown into conversations and stories. They have been given the life they had always wanted. They have led to less anxiety and more creativity. They have become their own little beings. They have become hims and hers and deep-seeded dream thoughts about that boy with shining tiles for teeth I wish had never left the frame. He used to install those tiles on the bathroom floors of office buildings. I would later walk on them when I interned for a magazine I was never allowed to write for.
I rode my bicycle by his house a few weeks ago, and my poncho fell out of my front basket and left itself to be an incriminating calling card next to the wheel well of his truck. But once I was home and discovered it was gone, I retraced all seven miles of steps to find it. I loved that poncho.
On the way back up my path, I saw that other man I so admire — the one with sausage fingers and the wavy hair of a Gatsbyian Saint, sitting on a patio. We said hello. I kept on, back to the street where I was looking too hard into his windows for a breath or an eyesight’s pinch of something that was hopefully nothing resembling her blonde hair and pudgy cheeks. I still want to punch those cheeks like a speed bag, a repetitive motion that doesn’t stop until the bell.
But I didn’t see anything but the poncho. He didn’t see anything at all. But in my dream last night, he saw everything. Just like the time in the basement when an invite for coffee became a blow job.
The story of a television reporter and his semi-beautiful wife
There are two types of love. The first is when you resign to the idea that someone will always love and adore you more than you love and adore them. The second is when you give into the notion that you will always effectively love and adore someone more than they will ever love and adore you.
The answer comes only from one question: Who’s ego is bigger?
What kind of service are you doing for your community if you’re not Riot Grrrl? Come on, can’t you understand that as a woman, when you pick up a guitar, you are a symbol? You are a fist in the fight. You must be political with your purpose and staunch in your music’s power. No woman is here to party. No woman is here to fuck around. When we wear the salesgirl vests of feminism in our day jobs, it is only right for us to wear them under our guitar straps too.
Haven’t you heard? Riot Grrrl happened almost two decades ago, so you better be screaming it from the mountain tops like a worn out soldier of the fight against mascara.
If you are angry in your music, it better be about equality. If you make loud sounds with that Ampeg and a pick, you better be ready to hold up the ideals of others. Even if you don’t want it, Riot Grrrl is yours. You have no choice. You cannot back down and you certainly cannot make music about something other than being a woman. Those women fought the good fight for you. They earned every ounce of respect that you seem to still not get, no matter how much you try to shield your breasts from the equation.
How else do you expect critics to “understand” your music anyway? You can’t very well be a woman making music and it not be about feminism. You’re not allowed. You’re not allowed to be aggressive, unless it is in the humorless pursuit of equality. If you do not run on the riot grrrl partyline, how else are the critics, audiences and your peers going to “get” your sound? You must be able to be qualified, and if you’re not Riot Grrrl, no one can hear you. There is only one way to be in a band when you have a vagina, and that has been set out for you in within the institution of Riot Grrrl. Learn it.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, hey, my band doesn’t have a political or feminist agenda. We don’t want to fight this fight. We don’t want to be boxed in and tethered to decades-old movement. We just want to make music that is sometimes loud, often aggressive, and has not an ounce of politics involved. We want to party. We want to make music you can fuck to. We want to make songs about fucking. We want to declare war on nothing but ourselves. We want to write songs about weed and driving around. We want to play rad shows. Well, sorry. You can’t.
You have a vagina. Therefore, you have an agenda.
This was a piece I wrote for the 2011 Titwrench Fest III zine, curated by Sara Century.