I’m standing with my friends in the back watching a New Zealand band called Broods, who are a brother-sister duo in the mold of Grimes by way of Foster the People. I am having a lovely evening watching both the band and the hipsters who duck in the door, when lightning strikes and a tall, pretty girl of indeterminate age walks in.
I wait for Broods to finish and weave toward the bar, which will serve a dual purpose for me: I will get drinks for my friends and me, and I will do reconnaissance on the situation with this lady. She’s with two friends, a male and a female. And I need to figure out who is with whom.
I order beers for my pals and survey the trio out of the corner of my eye. The maleperson is talking to the tall girl, and their heads are close together, but something isn’t quite right. She is about three inches taller than he is. It is true, of course, that there are women in the world who are OK with being taller than their significantS other. But it is also true that there are white running backs in the NFL.
I am emboldened by this realization and, after delivering my haul of drinks, circle back and walk up to the group of newcomers. I address the human male, saying, “Hey man, I don’t want to step on any toes, so I came over to figure out the dynamic of your group. I’d really like to talk to this tall pretty girl at your side but if she’s, like, your girlfriend or something-“
He laughs, and waves me off. In an accent of then-indeterminate origin, he says, pointing to the tall girl, “Who, K—-? She’s like my sister.”
And I am in.
The three of them are exchange students. K—- and the short guy are Australian; their friend is Estonian.
I take up position next to K—- and we start up a chat that leads us all the way through the band that follows Broods, the Australian outfit (Strange Talk) the three of them had come to see.
By the end of the show, “things” have progressed nicely; we’ve laughed and joked and I am pleased to learn that K—– is going to be in town for the next month. I am already envisioning showing her what I know of Los Angeles.
As the houselights come on, K—- and her friends excuse themselves to go chat with the band, an understandable move, considering the shared homeland, and I report back to Zack. A few minutes later, they return from wherever they’ve gone, and I walk over.
“So, do you all want to go across the street to get a drink?”
“Sure!” K—- says, her eyes bright. “Do you mean the wine bar?”
I do, indeed.
“We’ll be over in ten minutes,” she says.
And so Zack and I leave. And we each have a beer. And then another. And then we go home.
K—- and her friends never show.
And I am reminded of something I learned a long time ago, but frequently forget. Specifically, that one should never try to talk to girls at a concert.
Oh, it seems like it would be a good idea, when she walks in wearing something cut across the shoulder, with jeans like you’ve never seen before.
But there are just too many things that can go wrong.
Let’s examine my case study again. Sure, I navigated a few of the pitfalls. There was the noise factor, which can often prevent anything like conversation. There was the group factor; people don’t usually come to shows alone or in pairs or even in threes. And there was the logistics factor; there are just too many other things going on.
I did pretty well, didn’t I? But I wasn’t quite able to jump all the leaf-covered holes in the forest floor. In fact, I might have been caught by the most obvious of them all: the band.
I don’t care who you are seeing and what you are wearing and what they did wrong with their facial hair and what you did right. The girl you are talking to would rather fuck the corpse of Neil Young than you.
For you, unfortunately, are not on stage. And being on stage has far more sex appeal than being in the crowd.
So, please, never, under any circumstances, try to talk to a strange girl at a concert.
Allow me. Then laugh at me when I do. Because let’s be honest, it’s going to happen again. And when it does, I want you to be there to rub my face in it; it seems like that might be the only way I’ll learn.