my mother was right (about concertgoing)

I don’t, as a rule, go to concerts alone. And here’s why.

Because I went to the gnarwhallaby show Tuesday night (a quick aside—what. a. show), fully intending to do a write-up on here afterward.

Because I was looking forward to the concert and to seeing a few friends for the first time since graduation.

Because I was with my boyfriend, and that didn’t seem to matter to the man (who was easily twenty years my senior) who refused to leave me alone during the first half.

Because he insisted on leaning over and brushing my arm and whispering at me, asking if I knew the group, marveling at how I “had the time to play an instrument,” peppering me with a dozen questions about my knowledge of the music and my work and everything under the sun during the performance.

Because I wanted to get a handle on the situation by explaining that yes, I actually did know how that trombone sound was happening, and I had a solid guess for how that other thing worked, but my brain still wanted to hear the music and explaining trombone multiphonics isn’t a five-words-or-less kind of thing, so I kept quiet while he continued prattling on in my ear.

Because I mentioned this to a friend at intermission, irate that this man had demanded so much of my attention while being dismissive of my knowledge and work, and he pointed out that the guy might have been trying to hit on me. And several others agreed with him.

Because I was wearing jeans, my favorite boots, a hoodie, and no makeup, and I still worried that I’d somehow made myself too much of a target.

Because if my boyfriend hadn’t made sure someone else, someone our age, someone female, someone nonthreatening, took that man’s seat for the second half, I wouldn’t have been able to relax.

Because if I hadn’t had friends (both brand-new and well-established) to hide away with, I would’ve spent the entire rest of the night figuring out how to get this guy to leave me the hell alone.

Because I didn’t get to focus enough on the concert to write a good review.

Because he seemed to know quite a bit about one of the composers, and this post is going up on social media, so there’s an outside chance he’ll see it.

Because I want to post this anyway, but I still don’t know who he is, and I’m stepping into the professional world where complaining about the wrong person could impact my career.

Because I don’t go to live shows to be hit on.

I don’t go to concerts alone. Because this time, I wasn’t alone, and I still wasn’t safe.


a quick note: thanks for reading! this isn’t my usual post format, but I’m a firm believer that concertgoing experiences should be in safe environments where everyone’s comfortable absorbing the music/dance/theater/insert-art-form-here. I’m all for discussion before/after shows and at intermission, but having my own physical and mental space during the performance (by “my own” I mainly mean a space free from invasion by people who think I owe them my attention more than I owe it to the performers). What are the most important aspects of your concertgoing experiences? Let me know!

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