These Boots are Made for Singing
September 19, 2006

I'm sure it's happened to you before. You meet someone you like, and maybe they have this thing they're totally gung ho about, but you're kind of 'eh' about. Baseball, for example. Maybe you're indifferent to baseball, but you end up going to a few games with this person you like because, duh, you like them. They want to share their baseball experience with you, and you go and you have fun, and hey this isn't so bad. But if the relationship ends, you stop going. And depending on how it ends, maybe you never go to another baseball game EVER. And why would anyone like such a stupid game anyways. Hmph.

I'm going somewhere with this, hang on...

I had this scenario happen to me almost 2 and half years ago, but with karaoke. If someone had told me then that I'd be spending my Monday nights drinking PBR and getting on stage to sing, TO AN AUDIENCE, I would have thought you were completely nuts. As you may have predicted, I met someone I liked. Someone who would sing karaoke at the drop of a hat. So I went to a regular Monday night karaoke thing at a club downtown. But it was punk rock karaoke.The song list had Fame by David Bowie instead of Fame by Irene Cara, so I figured it might not be that bad, and I got sucked in. Before I knew it I was up on stage belting out tunes by Blondie, the Violent Femmes, and the Buzzcocks. I became fairly comfortable with this karaoke thing, and even belted out a few tunes at some non-punk rock karaoke nights. Who was this person I had become? I only sing out loud when I'm by myself in the car, with the windows tighly shut. All of a sudden I was singing in front of complete strangers! It turned out I kind of liked karaoke.

As we know, all good things must come to an end. Six months and a bruised heart later, my karaoke 'career' was over almost as quickly as it started. Of course, now karaoke would never be the same. And I was okay with that. I was fine without karaoke before, and I'd be fine without it again. In fact, I felt like I'd NEVER need to sing karaoke again. Then two years later, my friend MiKE threw himself a 30th birthday party. A karaoke birthday party.

It was last Sunday. The plan was to have dinner, and then those who wanted to would go sing karaoke at the little club that had been rented for the evening. The boyfriend and I had planned on going to dinner and skipping the karaoke bit. As the date of the party approcahed, plans changed. Homework and GRE prep prevented him from attending any of the festivities. So I decided I'd go to dinner, and then I'd go to karaoke for a little while, but I wouldn't sing.

So as planned, I went to dinner, and I went to the club with the rest of the group. I looked over the song book, but I wasn't going to sing. No singing. Nope. Not me. Don't need to sing. Don't hand me that microphone, I'M NOT SINGING. I probably don't need to tell you what happened next.

If you've been to a karaoke thing before, you know that the pull of the microphone is strong. Especially after someone gets up there and does a mediocre job but still has fun the whole time. It's almost impossible not to think, "I can TOTALLY do that!" And you totally can! And people will clap and cheer and you'll wonder why you didn't get up on stage sooner.

I sang "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra. Perfect because it's lacking in high notes, and it's about shoes. I forgot how fun karaoke can be. Of course, it helps when the entire club is people you sort of know. But yeah, after 2 years, it turns out I'm okay with the karaoke. I'm not going to go out of my way to hunt down karaoke night at my local bar, but the thought of going to Monday night punk rock karaoke is starting to seem okay again.



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© Whitney Brandt-Hiatt: All writing, images, and photogrpahy are the property of Whitney Brandt-Hiatt unless otherwise noted.