Betty Duffy

Monday, August 3, 2009

On the Carnality of a Rock Concert...and the Average Catholic Family

What kind of bore would I be if I really did shackle myself at home just because I’m a birth control rejecting mother of five children? What kind of ninny would I be if I really believed that everyone who enjoyed themselves at a rock concert was looking for indiscriminate sex and an escape route from their marriages and children?

So, after all my rhapsodizing on the dark cloud that follows me everywhere I go threatening to break open a shower of watermelons, I went to that concert with Pedge and had a blast. I only write a blog, after all, not legislation or church dogma. I’m free to contradict myself at any time without penalty.

It was a Dave Matthews concert at a big stadium venue with a nearby campground where stinky, past their prime, hippies follow the band cross country, dancing like the girl in red shoes, condemned to a life of interpretive-phish-style-spaghetti-armed dance moves. Joints passed by on our right, pipes on our left. Young teenagers, thinking themselves shielded by the crowd, groped each other in the darkness, though I should note that teenage groping is not symptomatic only of rock concerts. I had to break up a couple in the audience for Pope Benedict XVI in New York because they were feeling each other up in front of a group of young nuns, who, out of charity or fear, remained silent at the display of youthful immodesty.

There is something really energizing about being in a crowd of thousands, waving arms over our heads, sounding our barbaric yawps, and dancing with the unselfconsciousness that a mother of five children can surely enjoy. Not having listened to Dave Matthews much since college, I didn’t know the words to any of his songs. Here’s Pedge and I figuring them out:

Open up your mind, open up your something something, open up your mouth. It’s coming out.

“Aach ! Dave’s having a baby! What was that “something, something?” Was it “primitive?” Definitely started with a P. What’s that muscle that holds your uterus in? The perineum! Open up your perineum, Dave! (shouting)”

Every song that could become a Lamaze style labor anthem did so.

We received our only male attention from a drunk teenage Dilbert who went back and forth between trying on clumsy pick-up lines and cussing us out. As it happens, I have a son with the same name as that Dilbert, and all I could think about was my own kid, fifteen years from now, stumbling through the parking lot trying to keep his droopy eyelids from failing him before the night’s over. “Let us be warned, if we ever allow our kids to go to a rock concert, whatever ill befalls them is our own fault.”

We eked out the night after the concert in the parking lot, analyzing the carnality of Dave Matthews’ repertoire. In the context of a conversation between a thirty something married couple, the lyrics “hike up your skirt a little more,” seem sort of appropriate and even a little benign when issued behind closed doors. But for the majority of his concert attendees who were on average, fifteen years younger and unmarried, the words are titillating and probably incite all kinds of illicit behavior. Though, in my mind, the lyrics that follow, “show your world to me,” are even more dangerous. Shame on Dave Matthews for implying that the totality of a gal’s world is to be found under her skirt. But imply he did, singing with an expression of detached irony on the megatron; an eyebrow lifted, a sideways glance, a sort of smile.

Back in my own world (which has probably been shaped by the world under my skirt more than I like to admit), I found a house full of sleeping children, and a husband lying at a diagonal across the bed we share. I tapped him gently to make room for me, and fell asleep with crickets chirping in the background of my ringing ears.


Pentimento said...

Great post, and I hope Otepoti reads it. She'll appreciate your wonderful line about the world under your skirt.

Were you in NYC for the Pope last year? I wish I'd known you then. We could have had a meetup.

Betty Duffy said...

I was in New York for the Pope last year, and the same thought has occurred to me as well: too bad I didn't know Pentimento then. Did you get to any of the festivities? I wasn't blogging at the time, but I've thought about posting my thoughts on that week anyway, a year late. Though of course, my thoughts have more to do with me and my experience in the crowd than with our wonderful Pope.

Pentimento said...

I didn't go to any of the festivities because at the time I was recovering from another miscarriage. But my husband and my son saw the Pope drive right past our friend's restaurant in Yonkers after he visited St. Joseph's Seminary.

Betty Duffy said...

I was at St. Josephs!
I'm sorry you missed it, but more sorry for your loss.

Pentimento said...

Thanks, Betty.

I used to live in Woodlawn in the Bronx, about four blocks from the Yonkers city line. We were within a mile and a half of each other.

Meagan Francis said...

I just followed you over from a comment on my blog and will definitely be back. Wonderful writing.

mrsdarwin said...

I was big into Dave Matthews in college -- any Dave Matthews song, even the ones on albums that came out years later, reminds me of junior year, with all the good and bad that implies. Then, a few years ago, I relistened to a CD or two and realized that actually, all the songs were either about getting high or getting laid. (Of course, I thought about the latter a great deal in college, though I never did so; the former, not at all.) I think Dave still has great value at an emotional recall level, and I kinda regret not scraping up the dough to see him in concert when my coworker April was getting up a group to see him the summer before my senior year.

Pentimento, I'm sorry to hear of your miscarriage, even at this remove.

Betty Duffy said...

Meagan, thanks for dropping in.

Mrs. D, Pedge and I were talking about those lyrics. You're right about centrality of sex, but lurking around in some of his later songs, having heard them now, is some very blatant spiritual longing. "I want to believe in Jesus." Maybe if he spent less time on weed and skirts he'd find belief less daunting.

Otepoti said...

Why, I knew this post when it was just a young thing, before it grew up and had comments...


Best to all.