Shirley Manson. PJ Harvey. Dolores O’Riordan. Annie Lennox. These women are badass. Notice the lack of Jenn on that list.
In all fairness, I have a bit of badassery to my name, but when it came to the stage, I wasn’t the best at it. Go figure, middle school teacher by day.
When you’re young and carefree, you’re just happy to play shows. Any shows. Which is how it came to pass that we were slightly down the beltway in scenic Woodbridge one Friday evening, 2nd in the lineup of four bands. The room was sparse, thick with cigarette smoke, and while it was a bit terrifying to some of our friends, I felt at home, having frequented a number of similar establishments during my college years. You could have dropped the Spotlight smack dab in the middle of Follansbee, West Virginia, and had yourself a thriving venue.
I was feeling a whole lot self-conscious that particular evening as my sister and her husband were there along with my brothers. So when it was our time to play, I was trying my best to focus on the back wall, and just make it through our thirty minute set. A song or two in, no one was throwing beer bottles, so I considered the night a success.
Then it happened. The audience had a special request.
“Show us your tits!” rang out from the darkened room. A few times. And I panicked a wee bit, which, let’s face it, makes sense. I was in a biker bar. My eyes darted around the room, trying to figure out where the creepy was coming from so it could be avoided once I had left the relative safety of the platform stage. I remember feeling like I might throw up.
But did I channel my inner Joan Jett and flip them off? Did I call upon the spirit of Janis Joplin to hasten to my side? No, no I did not.
I meekly replied with a slight giggle, “OH! No, thank you!”