Thursday, April 15, 2010

13-Year Old Me Totally Hates This Random Kid

Last night Brooke and I went to see Hair on Broadway. My good friend John works for the show's production company and he hooked us up with house seats. In return I plan on hooking him up with some schwag from my office, like toner or some witty repartee. (You're welcome, John!)

Of course, the production was terrific. Top notch acting and singing, dazzling set design, impressive hair. In lots of ways, though, the show seems dated – despite the fact that many of its central themes (war, peace, divisiveness, etc.) are so prevalent today. But to a crowd of people in 2010 watching a bunch of motivated hippies say, "Let's make paint signs and protest the draft!" is kind of confusing. Can’t we just create a Facebook group and promote it on Twitter? And should we really be organizing a march without bringing in some Marching Consultants to increase the reach and productivity of our protest? It's all so – unfamiliar.

However – and here's what they don't tell you in the Playbill (rated G for kids)– the show manages to pull it all together with the one central theme that is timeless, compelling, and timelessly compelling: nudity (rated R for thank you). Right at the end of the first act, everyone on stage strips down completely. Zero clothing. Wangs, boobs, junk, hoo-has – it's a veritable sex organ chef salad. I'd read the magazine articles; I knew it was coming. But I don't care who you are: Unless you've been in an orgy or frequent fringe Turkish bathhouses, seeing that many naked people at once is jarring.

Sitting in front of me was the tallest guy in the audience, possibly the world (or so it seemed to me in that moment). I tried to play it cool, like a thirty year-old consenting adult who has seen his fair share of public nudity, but when you're weighing things like "tasteful discretion" versus "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see many attractive women, who were singing and dancing just a few moments ago, completely in the buff," craning your head to the side and maybe even lifting yourself up a bit out of your seat seems like a small price to pay for such an indulgence.

To the director's credit, the scene is staged perfectly. It's not like "NUDITY. (Curtain.)" There's a distinct pause in there, just enough for ones eyes to scan the group, linger when necessary, and come away with a feeling of satisfaction that the amount of nudity you have just absorbed is compelling and impressive without being show off-y. (Note: That "show off-y" part is entirely for the benefit of my generous friend who provided the tickets and the integrity of his impressive production. For my part, I would have worn a monocle – despite sitting in the sixth row – and even if they had performed the entire show buck naked, when it was all over I would still have bought the all-nude calendar and downloaded the Undress the Hair Cast iPhone app.)

So, sex organ chef salad. Mmm. Then comes intermission and Brooke and I don't really discuss the elephant's penis in the room because we're she's civilized. About ten minutes later, the lights dim a bit and the music starts up again, and while there's no one on stage yet I look to my left and in the aisle not fifteen feet away is one of the actresses from the show. And not to rank one character above another, but she was definitely the hottest one. And there she is in her crop top and low-cut jeans SLOW DANCING with a 13-year old kid from the audience. She's a solid six inches taller than him, so her hands are on his shoulders and his are on her bare midriff.

Now, let's just stop for a second and consider this. I don't know about everyone else out there, but I didn't see a real live naked girl until I was 16, which I think is pretty fair considering my poor choices in hairdos around that age. Here's this kid though, no older than 13, who moments ago saw not a totally naked girl, but like eight at once. And now, not TEN MINUTES LATER, one of those very naked girls is slow dancing with him. I, for one, am entranced. I can't stop staring at this kid who, to his credit, doesn't seem to have a visible erection. If it were me, not only would I have had a raging hard on, but I probably would have thrown up a little.

So there they are, gently swaying back and forth, and I notice that both their mouths are moving. Could they really be having a conversation? Not only could I not converse with girls at that age, but when a girl first took her shirt off for me I didn't talk to her for a week because I was afraid doing so would disrupt whatever made her take off her shirt in the first place and it would never happen again. But there was this kid, chit chatting away with a statuesque blond, presumably not about how, while scanning a Broadway stage from left to right some fifteen minutes ago, her vagina was the first he'd ever seen. I am baffled, truly dumbstruck. And more than that, jealous. Not because I wanted to be that kid in that moment (I'm marrying a girl who considers nudity a right, not a privilege), but because I wanted to be that kid 17 years ago – to be able to go into school on Thursday and tell my friends that I saw a woman's vagina and then danced with her. I imagine that night will be the best night of that kid's life for a long time to come, while my most memorable moment at the age of 13 was when I learned to pop a wheelie' (on a bike, not in my pants). I envied that kid for everything he was and everything he would become thanks to that one shining moment. (Note: The rest of this post is best read while playing this song.)

Then the music swelled and the cast started filling the stage. Their time was coming to an end; she was being called back to the bright lights. The big city. The two stopped dancing and looked into each other's eyes. Without a moment's hesitation, the actress leaned in and gave the kid a hug. Somehow he wasn't openly weeping with joy at that point, though I practically was. Then she turned and ran away from him, like so many other women will in the years to come, and as I watched him go back to his seat, head down, emotionally exhausted, all I could think was, "Savor it, kid. You may not realize it now, but what just happened here was, all things being equal, as good as life gets. These are, indeed, the times to remember."


Blogger ck said...

Man, blog posts should always have a writer designated soundtrack to them.

April 15, 2010 at 4:47:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous ScottsdaleGirl said...

13? WTF? I would have passed out if I saw ONE wang at 13...much less MANY.

at 14 I would have been fine.

April 15, 2010 at 4:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Ashley said...

Ha ha ha ha ha. I totally agree with ScottsdaleGirl. I could not have handled that many naked people at 13. I'm still laughing at the thought of what my 13 year old self would have done!

April 15, 2010 at 6:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Arielle said...

Who am I kidding? I STILL cannot handle that many naked people and I'm 26.

April 15, 2010 at 11:06:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like that you scanned a 13 year old boys pants for an erection.

Stay classy, dan.

April 15, 2010 at 11:52:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last paragraph with the soundtrack could not have been better. I'm laughing out loud, thanks!

April 16, 2010 at 12:52:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

The Age of Aquarius is sometimes the Age of full frontal, and for that, I'm thankful.

April 18, 2010 at 1:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Andrew said...

13 year old me probably would have been openly weeping from being overwhelmed & somewhat disappointed in those people for their nudity (13 year old me was kind of a prude). I mean, I wasn't given "the talk" until I was 12 & I spent most of it hiding under the covers, crying.

April 19, 2010 at 9:59:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kane said...


Your story, especially the last part, reminded me of an essay written by Andre Aciman titled "Lavander".

In the story he spoke of

"the life not lived, and the life half lived, and the life we wish to live while we still have time, and the life we want to rewrite if only we could, and the life we know remains unwritten and may never be written at all, and the life we hope others may live far better than we have, all of it"

and isn't that what your story about the little boy was about?

The life you have lived, the life you haven't lived, the life the little boy may live better than you have?

What you wrote was beautiful. =) It's one of those stories that make me remember what being human is really, all about.


April 20, 2010 at 3:09:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Kane might have missed the part about the tits.

April 20, 2010 at 4:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger LiLu said...

I feel like I just watched four seasons of Growing Pains with a couple Full House end-of-the-show morals thrown in for good measure.

I'm exhausted... in a good way.

April 21, 2010 at 10:02:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Renee Marie said...

That was great!

April 21, 2010 at 1:38:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous onetime said...

I just judged a 32 year old as a 23 year old; could it be possible that (no, I am not dyslexic) your 13 year old was in fact a youthful looking 21? Or 18 at least. Just trying to make your 13 year old self feel better. Great post.

April 22, 2010 at 4:35:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Boob Day will be coming early this year, Dan

April 25, 2010 at 7:42:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Trooper Thorn said...

I always wondered why they didn't write a sequal to "Hair" called "Skin" or "Nails" or "Teeth".

May 14, 2010 at 5:13:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Best Training said...

I've mostly appreciated the photos. It says it all!

January 3, 2013 at 3:49:00 AM EST  

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