My husband and I went to a bar tonight to sing karaoke with old friends of his. We had a good time and sang a few songs, but something was weighing on my mind the whole night.
After we had been there for an hour or so, a person walked into the bar in a blue wig. I myself thought that it was pretty fabulous. I wondered at the gender of the wig's owner simply because the first glimpse I had of them was of their height, broad shoulders and hair and not of their face. As they came further in I noticed the skirt, and ballerina flats and I decided that whatever their gender they identified as a female.
This is a tough crowd. The bar we were at was themed around motor sports and had a speedway nearby. "Redneck" could be bandied about in its description and I wouldn't blink. I heard the whispers and the giggles. Even my husband admitted that he felt bad because she said hello to him and he returned the greeting it was accompanied by a chuckle because he hadn't expected the blue hair or low voice.
People are quick to judge, and I felt myself feeling odd toward my curiosity to his or her gender. I knew it shouldn't matter, but I wondered what songs they would choose and I hoped secretly that they would knock it out of the park because there would likely be some unkindness towards them from the crowd either way.
When the song "Black Water" came up and the name "Mike" was called I was happy to see the person I had wondered over take the stage without any self consciousness. There was tittering and there were some snide comments. I sat and chanted "sing sing sing" in my head hoping that this kid would be amazing because I could read in his body language that the stares and the not so quiet commentary, (which wondered what I did, but in an out-loUd way) could surely be heard from the stage.
The song started. I needn't have worried. Mike knocked it out of the fucking park.
I sang along as he swayed in his long blue wig and cute, sensible shoes and was happy to hear the funky Dixieland in a mellow baritone. Some of the voices around me said things like "not half bad" or "not what I expected". Others said darker, maliciously intended words over this beautiful voice whose choice they didn't understand.
When Mike hit the stage later in the evening (after an incident involving the choice of a bathroom between a woman I took to be Mike's mother and the management, in which neither the men's room or the ladies' seemed to be appropriate according to them) he sang "Gypsy" by Fleetwood Mac and was even better. Mike was, by far the best singer of the night. After the performance Mike swept into a big low curtsy and jabbed a fist into the air. I fell in love. There were catcalls that weren't in appreciation of the songs, but they were accepted with grace.
I really wanted to talk to Mike, but when we left around midnight, the ladies at the singer's table were scattered and I wasn't sure where they had gone or if they had left.
I hope Mike knows what a great time I had listening to the wonderful performances given on that stage. I hope that he or she will be able to sing out the same beautiful way in any situation, and that the future holds more acceptance and less anxiety. I hope all the Mikes out there can enjoy a future where their choices are met with support.
More than anything I hope Mike slays on Gypsy again and I'm there to hear it.